Gizmondo launched

Modest Saturday launch of GPS-enabled handheld goes off without hitch; units available online and at 14 mall kiosks nationwide.

Tiger Telematics is reporting that its October 22 launch of the Gizmondo handheld went off as planned by "receiving an enthusiastic reception from US consumers."

The console went on sale Saturday through the company's official Web site, as well as at a dozen mall kiosk locations nationwide. The company is supporting the launch with a $30 million marketing campaign kicked off last week with a full-page ad in USA Today featuring Verne Troyer.

Tiger Telematics CEO Mike Carrender issued a statement saying the company was "delighted" with the launch and labeling it an important milestone. "From here we intend to escalate our launch activities and look forward to making further announcements as we roll out through retail," Carrender added.

The company plans to roll out another 38 mall kiosk locations in the near future and also looks to have the Gizmondo carried in major retail chains. Currently there are 14 games available for the American Gizmondo, though six of those (SSX 3, FIFA Soccer 2005, Fathammer Classics, Hockey Rage 2005, Interstellar Flames 2, and Pocket Ping Pong 2005) were sold out on the site.

Despite announcements of multiple packages available at launch, the Gizmondo system itself is currently available only in a stand-lone package for $229. The announced $399 edition that's bundled with the Gizmondo Navigator 2006 GPS software is not yet available. What's more, the Gizmondo Web site doesn't even offer that package for preorder, instead giving customers the option of a $499 package that includes the system, the Navigator software ($249 on its own), and a car cradle ($59.99 when purchased separately). It's still a price break of about $40 over buying the items separately, but it doesn't quite match the $80 savings of the previously announced $399 package.

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No one gives a ****