The Jungle – Panasonic’s new online handheld

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Do you know what the world needs right now? Another gaming platform. I for one was totally not content with having more than six to choose from. Lucky for me then that Panasonic has decided to jump into the gaming console market – balls first.

Meet the Jungle. It’s a clamshell, handheld gaming device designed with one purpose: portable online gaming, but specifically MMORPGs.

The device features a touchpad, directional pad as well as a full QWERTY keyboard and high-resolution screen. Size-wise it’s slightly larger than an old Nintendo DS, but definitely thicker. Judging by the picture there are also shoulder buttons. Because online gaming is the selling point, it’ll obviously have Wi-fi built in, but hopefully a 3G options as well. HDMI is also rumoured. The thing kind of looks like it’d survive a fall from a twelve-story building, or it was designed for use by Bear Grylls.

The acronym MMORPG is practically synonymous with World of Warcraft. The thing is, it is unlikely that this piece of hardware will be able to run WOW because it’s rumoured to run off a Linux OS. Add in the fact that the screen is pretty small (no official size yet) as is the keyboard, and it seems unlikely that the Jungle will be comfortable to play command-heavy MMORPGs on.

So far it’s confirmed that the device will be able to run Battlestar Galactica Online, and a number of other MMOs will, no doubt, be announced later on. Should the Jungle be able to run browser-based games then that will open up a lot of options.

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Panasonic’s new toy was made public mere hours ago, so don’t be too quick to condemn it to fail, as that would be entirely premature. Still, I’ll admit that releasing a handheld with a very specific purpose (online gaming only) into the current gaming hardware market is a ballsy move. It’ll be interesting to see how this pans out. In the meantime you can check out the official website.

Source: Gizmodo [via Kotaku]

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Last Updated: October 5, 2010

Miklós Szecsei

I'm a freelance writer who has somehow managed to convince people to pay me to play video games. By day I work a job, but by night and early hours of the morning, I write about video games. The one job provides a living for my family; the other provides a living for my soul. Dramatic, right?

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