E3: Supplemental info on the GPI

May 25, 2002 5:44 AM PST

The wireless link is indeed imbedded within the GPI hardware, and to clarify, the 'voice calling' feature I mentioned before should be read as 'cellphone functionality', though the size is a bit cumbersome to hold by one's ear. At the same time, it would be a simple thing to use it as a speakerphone.

This is something I neglected to mention yesterday. The GPI has a touch screen which works well enough, and it is backlit by five white LEDs. The look is smooth, and the action is swift. It's one of the nicest portable screens I've seen for any handheld product.

The text editor will indeed have English support, and there will be a keyboard peripheral released. It will be a GP32-specific pad though, so you will not be able to use other PDA keyboards.

The 'other' software I referred to is actually Windows CE, which may be requested over the standard OS, which is Linux OS (Kernel 2.4); either reside alongside Game Park's GPOS for running GP32 games.

The L button will not be moved for Korea. KTF, the Korean telecommunications company who's supporting the project wanted it there. So there it stays. However if the GPI ever does come to the US, a move might be possible. If we ever hear word of the system coming over, I will put in a strong word.

As far as the battery life question (regarding what the 'minimum three hours use' meant), this is the promised minimum three hours of straight talking time guaranteed by Game Park to KTF, who is also the wireless network provider. So it lasts for three hours of nonstop use as a phone with a 48 hour standby. In terms of game use, it is the same as the GP32…5 hours in 133 MHz mode, 12 in 40 MHz.

A bit of info about KTF…they are one of the biggest wireless providers in Korea, and have formed a deal with three Korean broadcast networks to provide television program support for KTF's existing wireless phone/media players. I'm assuming that this will be implemented in the GPI service as well. Interestingly enough it looks as if the GPI will not be the first phone/media device for KTF, but will rather be entering a very pretty comprehensive roster of wireless portables. Here's perhaps the most promising/intriguing thing about KTF. While Game Park has stated that the GPI will be only for use in Korea, KTF does have a worldwide plan and service. There is no info on the full automatic roaming plan, but the rental roaming plan costs $1 per day. If one could connect to the Game Park server this way, at the cost of $31 per month…maybe it would be worthwhile? But perhaps that figure does not cover actual online minutes. It seems as though folks in the UK and France will have an easier time with this, as KTF has partners in those regions. Check their English section and see for yourself.

I'll try to have the price point they're shooting for within a few days.

Now here's something else of interest. Today there was a new face at the Game Park booth; Sung Y. Lee. Mr. Lee is from Game Park North America. Now this is a loose title, because really he's just their North American rep and is not a central member of the Game Park staff. He is something of a market researcher, and he hopes to release the GP32 to a control market in Canada. I should mention that these comments are those of Mr. Lee, and not of the whole of Game Park proper. He would like to promote the GP32 as a media player above and beyond the gaming aspect. Due to the high price point yet popularity of these devices, he may well be on to something. At $150, a portable MP3 and Divx player with a huge screen and gaming capabilities looks very attractive. Especially if they were to get backed by someone like Samsung who provided the processor/sound chip (that's my own extrapolation there, I've no idea whether or not Game Park has approached them with this idea). Mr. Lee is talking to persons in the music and ebook industries for support in this venture.

Unfortunately, the DivX player still needs a little work. The movies run smoothly, and look good visually. Both a Japanese anime (Azumanga Dai-Oh for the curious) and a music video were running. However, the sound was skipping a bit, and hopefully this will be cleared up in future builds of the media player.

Brandon Sheffield


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