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Can you repeat that? I was busy crushing a civilization.

Posted by spaceghost on February 5, 2004 at 9:12 AM PST

So, I just got a new Tapwave Zodiac. If you have seen one, it's a pretty cool PDA right? Convinced my wife that I needed it for work. After all it runs Palm OS 5.2T (for Tapwave), has 128MB of RAM, 2 SD slots (1 SDIO), Bluetooth, etc. Everything that the working man/woman on the go needs to keep track of appointments, to do lists, and notes. All of the exciting and important stuff.

Oh yeah. It also sports a kick ass 8MB ATI 4200 graphics processor, 4" TFT screen, stereo speakers, vibration feature (like the PS2 controllers), analog joystick, 6 game buttons. Drool.... So what about Java?

I downloaded the MIDP build for the PalmOS and found that it is pretty capable. Sure there are some issues with it on the Zodiac, but that is to be expected as the Zodiac is ushering in an entirely new generation of capability in the nerdy PIM world. I wonder about the game capabilities for the Zodiac with a proper MIDP 2.0 build. With OpenGL ES and OpenAL bindings on top the Zodiac it could prove to be quite a capable Java games platform. In fact, this kind of device could open up the game enthusiast market, with those developers having access to freely distributed Java technologies, and we could see a flood of creative content springing up from out of the smallest corners of the web.

Throw an 802.11 SDIO card into the mix and you have got a portable game client that would be capable of running a scaled down StarWars Galaxies environment so I can do more than just check moisture evaporators and in game auctions while on the go. With Bluetooth I can throw down with another player while sitting in a mall, on a train, or even in the board room. Ah, the work of a Jedi in training/technologist/Chief Gaming Officer is never done.

As mobile clients become more capable, and the Java technologies present in them become more robust, I fully expect to see game companies take advantage of these capabilities and disrupt corporate meetings across the globe. What the more "traditional" corporate technologists need to understand is that entertainment = enterprise. This is big business folks, and a market segment that will blow up into the multi billion dollar subscription revenue range over then next few years. Entertainment is the key to unlocking the data pipe and letting the bits flow.

So Jonathan, if you hear my PDA beeping and booping during the next “All Hands” meeting, that's just a custom alert on my business oriented Palm OS device, not the sound of an alien civilization falling under the crush of my mighty game god hands.

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