But the unlikely return of notorious handheld will be aided by open-source development says MD Carl Freer

Gizmondo boss: ‘We could never compete with Sony or Nintendo in content’

Here’s an unlikely head-to-head in the handheld gaming space: Apple’s iPhone versus the Gizmondo.

At the same time Steve Jobs was talking up his touch-screen device’s new software development kit at a press event in California, Gizmondo Europe chairman Carl Freer was delivering a speech at Georgia Tech on the other side of the US explaining his plans for the return of the Gizmondo handheld.

Freer was up front with attendees, saying he never expected to be able to beat Sony or Nintendo’s plans in terms of content – but added that an open source approach to development will help the attempted come back of the device.

Gizmondo was originally launched in 2005, to a huge level of sceptism – and the company behind it went into administration months later in February 2006 after sinking cash into things like an expensive central London retail presence, a lavish launch party, and exclusive titles from high profile companies that never materialised. The story took a highly-publicised twist when one of the execs behind it, Stefan Eriksson, was charged for unrelated criminal offenses.

But Freer, who helped launch the handheld, is pushing the device once again.

"From my point of view the product didn’t fail, the company failed," Kotaku reports Freer as saying earlier today, adding the claim that "Gizmodo is, in my opinion, the first multi-function handheld device".

The new version of the machine will be near-identical to its previous iteration – including its looks and processing power – although Freer said he is consulting with Nvidia on an eventual successor. The new Gizmondo will be sold online only at first.

Freer added that the main strength of the device was that he wasn’t trying to chase mutli-million-dollar exclusive games – saying he spent over $15m securing three EA exclusives – and instead was making it open source for amateur developers.

"I’m taking a step back. I’m putting the product out there and letting you guys handle development," said Freer, adding that an SDK for the device will be released for free.

Freer did not give a firm release date for the device.

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