Panasonic Making New Portable Gaming Machine 'The Jungle Handheld'

CrunchGear got a little advance tip from Panasonic that the company plans to launch a new handheld gaming device called 'The Jungle Handheld' as part of its new Panasonic Cloud Entertainment (which they evidently refer to as the unfortunate acronym PCENT) business. From the first few bits of information and a brief trailer now up on the Jungle site, the new folding device looks like a cross between a smartphone and a Netbook put in a ruggedized case.


The description on the Jungle reads, "this mean little machine features a kick ass display, touch pad, keyboard, and other gaming controls that we'll be saying more about soon." Looking a little closer at the design, there's the small keyboard on the bottom half, along what appears to be two circular touch pads right about where you can imagine your thumbs resting while cradling the thing. As for the other gaming controls, who knows? For connections, it looks like it has a standard 3.5 mm headphone jack, micro-USB, and mini-HDMI located along the edge of the case.

As to what you'll do with the Jungle Handheld, they say their mission is to "create an ecosystem around online gaming." From the teaser trailer, the first two pieces of that ecosystem appear to be MMOs and videos. Part of the trailer shows the upcoming browser-based Battlestar Galactica MMO and they say that they are working with leading online developers to create new content. The video also includes a clip from their new show "Online Underground" created in conjunction with Machinima.com. From the pilot it looks like pretty standard webcomic video fare loosely based on a spoof MMO report news desk-styled show.

With the mounting success of Apple's iPad and Sony rumored to be poised to unleash a similar sort of combination of service and devices with both the PSP2 and a potential mobile phone--not to mention the upcoming Nintendo 3DS--the Jungle faces a tough set of established competitors to come into the market against.

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