Tapwave Zodiac by jekky
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Music, photos and video
MP3 music files can be played from either SD slot, or the internal memory of the device. The music player is included in the system’s applications, and allows the creation of custom playlists using drag-and-dropping of files. MP3 files can also be used as alarms, along with conventional alarms.
Photos were downloaded to the device using the Palm Desktop software or loaded onto the SD cards, and could be shared and made into a slideshow (with background music) on the device.
The default player on the device, Kinoma, would only play videos in a proprietary format, converter using the Kinoma Producer software (which supported conversion of MPEG1, MPEG4, QuickTime, AVI and DivX). The software however was limited in its conversion abilities, enticing users to pay for the full version. It has been suggested that this difficulty in converting video for the device diminished the Zodiac’s success. Several aftermarket DivX and XviD players have been developed (such as the TCPMP), and, at the time of bankruptcy, Tapwave were working on an update to supply MPEG-4 hardware decoding.
Due to the metal construction of the Zodiac, the device was seen to be more solid than other PDAs. However, on some models the adhesive on the shoulder buttons failed, and occasionally the screen was scratched by the screen cover when grit entered. Furthermore, due to the insecure clip holding the stylus, they could be knocked loose and potentially lost. Some alternative cases solved this problem with their own stylus holder.
Most PalmOS 5-compatible games play on the Zodiac, as well as games designed specifically for the Zodiac’s hardware. A great deal of freeware and shareware games and emulators are therefore available. For example, there are versions of Doom, Quake, Hexen, Hexen II, and Heretic as well as versions of emulators such as UAE, ScummVM, and LJZ/LJP, a multi-system emulator. There have also been attempts to emulate PlayStation games onto the Zodiac, the most successful emulator being PPSX. It is, however, nowhere near completion and many games are not playable as of yet.
The device has a total battery life of about 3 hours when using audio, backlight+screen and CPU-intensive tasks, and while running as a dedicated audio player it is closer to 6 hours. The original battery was a 1500mAh Li-Ion; third party replacements with 2000mAh capacity are still available from some manufacturers.
The Tapwave Zodiac used a modified version of the 5.2T Palm OS. The main navigation menus consisted of 8 radially-arranged choices selected using either the touchscreen or thumbstick. It also came with the Palm OS Productivity Suite (containing a calendar, to do list etc.), an ebook reader, the Wordsmith word processor and the powerOne graphing application. It came bundled with two games, AcidSolitare (by Red Mercury) and Stunt Car Extreme (by Vasara Games).
Games which utilized some or all of the Zodiac’s hardware/software are incompatible with standard Palm OS devices. This does exclude platforms outside of Palm OS (e.g., Doom II is also out for PC, but the Zodiac version listed here won’t run on standard Palm OS handhelds). This list also excludes standard Palm OS games which are also available for Zodiac handhelds, which were either identical or slightly improved on Zodiac, called “Zodiac tuned” (e.g. a game available for standard Palm OS only has the extra features of vibration and shoulder buttons as extra usable buttons when played on Zodiac).
Some of the games were never released due to the discontinuation of the Zodiac in July 2005. However, the testing builds of some of these games were leaked and are playable.
Firefly: Pacman clone
Gloop Zero by AeonFlame: (was shareware, but is now freeware) puzzle game where you direct the flow of liquid slime material to its goal by drawing platform lines and using other tools.
Orbz (was shareware, but is now freeware as of September 2006)
Stunt Car Extreme: 3D, 1st-person or 3rd-person racing game. Comes with the Zodiac CD.
Zodiac Exclusive titles also available on SD card.
Duke Nukem Mobile
GTS Racing Challenge
Hellfire: Tiger Team: Apache vs. Hind
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4
ZDoomZ, a ZDoom port to Palm/Zodiac
ZHexen, a Hexen port to Palm/Zodiac
ZHeretic, a Heretic port to Palm/Zodiac
ZHexen2, Hexen2 port to Palm/Zodiac
LJP, a multisystem emulator for Palm/Zodiac
LJZ, the old version of LJP, discontinued.
pPSX, the most successful PSX emulator for the Zodiac created by ZodTTD
ReverZi, an Othello/Reversi clone for Zodiac
ZodMAME, a MAME port to the Zodiac
ZodNEO, a NeoGeo port to the Zodiac
ZodSCUMM, ScummVM port to the Zodiac
ZSpectrum, a ZX Spectrum port to the Zodiac
REminiscence, a Zodiac port of Flashback
Thruster, a fast-paced cave flyer.
Orbital Sniper, Look down from high above and shoot hostiles in a city grid layout while protecting innocent lives. (Freeware)
Zodtris, Zodiac only version of Tetris. (Freeware)
Zap ‘Em, a close conversion of Zoop for PC (Freeware)
ZodTTD, an OpenTTD port to the Zodiac
Unreleased but leaked games
Street Hoops, tech demo
MTX: Mototrax, complete
Hockey Rage 2004, complete, but crash on exit
Neverwinter Nights, rech demo
Terminator 3: Almost complete, cannot save
Tomb Raider, complete original first and second game
Two versions of the Zodiac are available, differing only in the amount of memory and case color
CPU: Motorola i.MX1 ARM9 processor (200 MHz)
Memory: Zodiac 1 had 32 MB. Zodiac 2 had 128 MB. Both have 10 MB Dedicated to the System Dynamic RAM
Graphic Accelerator: ATI Imageon W4200 2D graphics accelerator (with 8 MB dedicated SDRAM)
Controls: Analog controller (or joystick) with 360 degrees of motion, built-in triggers and action button array similar to other gaming consoles.
Display: 3.8 inch transflective 480 x 320 (half VGA), 16-bit color backlit display (65,536 colors)
Sound: Yamaha sound and stereo speakers, 3.5 mm earphone plug
External Connectors: 2 expansion slots (both are MMC / SD capable, one is also SDIO capable), Zodiac Connector, 3.5 mm headphone jack
Wireless: Infrared, Bluetooth (Compatible with some Wifi SDIO cards depending on drivers)
Battery: Rechargeable Lithium Batteries Dual totaling to 1540 mAh
Size & Weight: 5.6″ x 3.1″ x 0.55″ (142x79x14 mm), 6.3 ounces (180 g)
Compare to the Palm TX which is smaller at 78x15x121 mm due to fewer buttons, but includes WiFi
Colors: Zodiac 1: Slate Gray, Zodiac 2: Charcoal Gray
Casing: Synthetic rubber, anodized aluminum, plastic
Peripherals and accessories
5V regulated DC switch mode battery charger, using proprietary connector.
USB PC synchronization cable, incorporating pass-through female charger connector (allowing charging from mains whilst synchronizing)
Car battery charger
Cradle Attachment for sync cable (poorly designed, unreliable electrical contacts)
Folding Keyboard (some 3rd party Bluetooth & IR models, unknown whether dedicated keyboard capable of using sync cable connector existed)
Some SDIO Cameras can be used such as the Veo Camera.
The Zodiac received a number of noteworthy industry awards. Some of these include:
Popular Science – BOWN Award
Stuff Magazine (UK) – Top 10 Gadgets of the Year
Wired Magazine – Fetish Award
CNET – Editor’s Choice Award
PC World – 2004 Next Gear Innovations Award
PC World – Editor Pick
Consumer Digest – Best Buy Award
Laptop Magazine – Hot Pick
PC Magazine – 1st Place Last Gadget Standing
Handheld Computing – Most Innovative PDA
Business Week – Best Products of 2003
Business Week – 2004 Design Excellence Award
Time Magazine Best Gear 2003
In pop culture
The Tapwave Zodiac can also be seen throughout Stargate SG-1 including recently in the 10th Season as a sensor device used by Col. Samantha Carter and Vala Mal Doran.
The Zodiac was originally going to be named the “Helix” but was renamed.
During development of the Zodiac, the code name of the device was “Road Dawg” and the code name of the desktop software was “Elvis”.
The AlphaSmart Dana is the only Palm OS device aside from the Zodiac with two slots for SD card media.
^ “The Tapwave Zodiac Console Now Shipping”. pcvsconsole.com. 2003-11-03. http://www.pcvsconsole.com/news.php?nid=2195.
^ “Tapwave Discontinues Zodiac Business”. Palm InfoCenter.com. 2005-07-27. http://www.palminfocenter.com/news/7990/tapwave-discontinues-zodiac-business/.
^ Blake Snow (2007-07-30). “The 10 Worst-Selling Handhelds of All Time”. GamePro.com. http://www.gamepro.com/gamepro/domestic/games/features/125748.shtml. Retrieved 2008-01-17.
^ “Best of What’s New”. Popular Science Top 100 Tech Innovations – 2003 best of What’s New. December 2003.
^ “Top 10 Gadgets of the Year”. Stuff Magazine – UK Edition. December 2004.
^ Seth Feman (October 2003). “Palm Boy Advance – Zodiac Plays Hard Works hard”. Wired Magazine.
^ “Tech Visionaries – Next Gear”. PC World Magazine. February 2004.
^ “The Best Products of the Year”. Handhled Computing Magazine. Jan/February 2004 Issue.
^ Dana Wireless
Handheld game console
v d e
Handheld game consoles
Microvision Adventurevision Epoch Game Pocket Computer Game & Watch
WonderSwan WonderSwan Color SwanCrystal Tamagotchi
GP32 GP2X GP2X Wiz
Game & Watch Game Boy (Pocket Light) Virtual Boy Game Boy Color Pokmon mini Pokmon Pikachu Game Boy Advance (SP Micro) Nintendo DS (Lite DSi DSi XL)
Game Gear Nomad
Neo Geo Pocket Neo Geo Pocket Color
PlayStation Portable (Slim and Lite PSP-3000 PSP Go)
Elektronika IM Atari Lynx TurboExpress Gamate Watara Supervision Mega Duck N-Gage Tapwave Zodiac Hartung Game Master GameKing I, II and III Leapster Pandora Game.com V-Smile Pocket Gizmondo Dingoo
Categories: Handheld game consoles | Palm OS devices | Sixth-generation video game consoles | 2005 disestablishmentsHidden categories: Articles lacking reliable references from August 2009 | Articles with trivia sections from August 2009 | Wikipedia articles needing reorganization | NPOV disputes from December 2007 | All articles with unsourced statements | Articles with unsourced statements from August 2009
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