Mobile Gaming Device could be the killer app for teenagers
By Mike Hanlon
June 4, 2004
Tiger Telematics' Gametrac is a mobile gaming console which just might become a serious player in the global mobile media market. The soon-to-be-released palm-sized unit sports a high definition TFT colour screen, a movie player, an MP3 player, always-on GPRS messaging facilities for text, pictures, music and film clips, a high-resolution digital camera, a Global Positioning System and it is wired for GSM tri-band networks, so it can be used almost anywhere. But it's when you begin combining the capabilities that you see the real benefits of the Gametrac and why Microsoft is being so supportive.
Gametrac boasts an ARM9 400Mhz processor with a 64-bit graphics accelerator so it has no shortage of grunt. It is constantly linked with a GPRS connection, allowing wide-area network gaming.
The device is built on the Microsoft Windows CE .NET platform and was initially shown on Microsoft's booth at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year and was well received by gamers, developers and investors..
Microsoft has been working closely with Tiger Telematics on the development of Gametrac as an outstanding example of a mobile device that utilises the power of the Windows CE .NET platform to maximum effect.
Carl Freer, Managing Director of Gametrac Europe Ltd commented, 'Our relationship with Microsoft continues to go from strength to strength. Microsoft's platform allows us to utilise Gametrac's many powerful functions whilst ensuring the end user has an easy to use and enjoyable experience with the device.'
The Gametrac gaming experience is like nothing else on the market. The device has in-built GPS technology that not only gives Gametrac players a whole new gaming experience, but also allows developers to incorporate a never before used GPS dimension into mobile gaming. The GPS system brings gaming to life and allows users to experience the true meaning of mobile gaming.
Apart from the opportunities to create and play games based in real space and time, the Gametrac also offers some previously unavailable functionality such as the ability for parents to know where their offspring are (within a metre) and for fellow-Gametrac users (aka groups of friends) to find each other at rock concerts, in a big city, or anywhere on the planet. Permissions to track or be tracked can be established via a menu, but if the installed user base reaches any level of magnitude, the device could evolve into a hybrid permission-based marketing system - McDonalds or Pizza Hut, for example, would be able to register that a group of friends who were part of their permission marketing database were within 100 metres of a particular store, txt messages could be sent offering free shakes with a meal and - personal one-to-one relationships can be developed between the largest company's and individuals, because the relationship can be tracked to minute levels.
The potential for a machine which plays not only MP3 but full scale movies to enhance a one-to-one relationship has not been exploited yet but no doubt the existence of a machine such as the Gametrac offers a fantastic testbed. The device is already capable of playing feature-length movies but the capabilities which unfold for the transfer of exclusive film clips, music videos and other digital goodies is immense.
Then there's the concept of gaming using the GPS functionality. Currently in development are some of the most exciting, innovative and interactive games the gaming industry has ever seen. As well as new gaming functionality, the GPS system can also utilise current location based services, allowing users to locate the nearest Starbucks or ATM, for example.
High quality multi-level games can be easily installed through an MMC/SD card and, unlike other mobile gaming devices, Gametrac puts you in total control with an eight way D-Pad, left and right triggers and four face buttons. Gametrac also offers consumers wireless multi-player gaming using Bluetooth 2 and GPRS.