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Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Zeebo Unveils Videogame Console for Emerging Markets

California-based Zeebo has unveiled a low-cost videogame console targeted at "the next billion" gamers in developing countries including Brazil and China.

Zeebo is the first affordable 3D game console designed specifically for emerging global markets. The console features secure 3G wireless game delivery and addresses the special requirements of these regions, where the current generation videogame consoles and content is expensive for the middle class, content is not culturally or locally relevant, and software piracy makes these markets unattractive for content providers.

The Zeebo system ships with four pre-embedded games and provides users the ability to download a fifth title for free. The game titles stored at the console's memory will be "Fifa 09 Soccer" by EA, "Need For Speed Carbon", "Brain Challenge" by Cameloft and "Prey Evil" by 3D Realms. One of the free downloadable titles will be the original "Quake" 3-D shooting game, which as a PC title in 1996 required a state-of-the-art graphics card. Today's cell phone chips are essentially as powerful as those $2,000 PCs, and "Quake" will run on Zeebo at its original performance level, according to the company. Additional games will be available as downloads, with the first download free and each additional title costing about $12.

It carries a suggested retail price of USD $199 in Brazil ? nearly one-fifth the price of mainstream leading consoles. In other international markets, Zeebo is expected to retail for less than USD $179 this year and well below USD $149 in volume next year.

"The system provides an intuitive, quick, and easy-to-use home shopping user experience featuring popular, culturally optimized content from leading game publishers and developers around the world. It also delivers high value and warranty protection compared to gray-market products with no need for a separate wireless access plan," said John F. Rizzo, CEO, Zeebo.

Game publishers and developers, including Capcom, Com2uS, Digital Chocolate, EA Mobile, Gameloft, Glu, Id Software, Machineworks Northwest LLC, Namco Networks and THQ, are porting a wide array of console, PC, dedicated handheld and high-end mobile titles to the Zeebo platform.

The Zeebo console enables the secure purchase and delivery of content, as well as user interface system updates through an over-the-air automatic connection to the ZeeboNet Wireless Network using 3G broadband wireless cellular service. Connection to ZeeboNet is completely transparent to the end user with no wireless service plan required. In the future, the Zeebo system will also enable consumers previously unable to access the Internet, or limited to slow, expensive dial-up services, to connect PCs or netbooks to high-speed broadband wireless service by using the ZeeboNet Wireless Network.

The Zeebo system is based on Qualcomm?s MSM chipset and BREW solution, together with a custom user interface design, a back-end billing system, and a wireless distribution mechanism for advertisements and messages which appear throughout ZeeboNet.

Mike Yuen from Qualcomm and John F. Rizzo from Zeebo presented the Zeebo system today at Game Developers Conference Mobile in San Francisco.


Platform: Qualcomm Chipset
Applications Processing (Audio/Graphics): ARM 11 / QDSP-5 running at 528Mhz

3D Graphics Processing
- Qualcomm Adreno 130 Graphics Core
- Mobile Display Processor (MDP) (Concurrent 3D Rendering & Screen Operations)

Internal Memory
- Non-Volatile Memory: 1 GByte NAND Flash
- RAM: 128 MBytes DDR SDRAM + 32Mbyte stacked DDR, SDRAM in MSM7201A

Output Color System: PAL-M and NTSC
Video-Out Resolution: VGA (640 x 480) - 4:3 aspect ratio

- Quad Band GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850/900/1800/1900) MHz
- Tri Band UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA (850/1900/2100) MHz

Antenna: Internal
Modem Processing (Integrated in MSM7201A): ARM 9 CPU / QDSP-4
Power: External Power Adaptor (Battery Not Required)
Power Supply: 100 ? 240 V (50-60Hz) (universal)

Ports and Slots
- Three USB 2.0 Standard A (for accessories)
- USB 2.0 OTG ? Mini B (Accessible to Service Centers and Developers only)
- RCA Connector (Video Composite TV Signal, x2 Stereo Audio)
- SD Card Slot / Interface

Power Key Functions: Power On / Power Down / Power Off
Software: BREW-based
Pre-Loaded Content: 4 Games + 1 Free Wirelessly Downloaded Game

Audio Formats
- MIDI (72 voice polyphony 512 KB wavetable, 44kHz sampling rate)
- MP3

Messaging: SMS, server initiated
User Interface (UI): Proprietary Zeebo User Interface (Updatable wirelessly)
Console ID: International Mobile Equipment Identity ? IMEI
Dimensions: 157 x 215.4 x 44 mm (L x W x D)
Weight: ~2 pounds or 0.9KG
Requirements: Color television with composite AV (RCA) jacks

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