Tapwave, founded in May 2001, introduced the Zodiac mobile entertainment console in October 2003. The product was designed to be a “mobile entertainment system” centered on games, music, pictures, and video for 18 to 34 year old gamers and technology enthusiasts. By running a customized version of the Palm Operating System (5.2T), Zodiac also provided access to Palm’s personal information management software and many other applications from the Palm developer community.
May 2001 - Tapwave was founded in May 2001 by former Palm executives, Byron Connell and Peng Lim
May 2002 - Tapwave closed initial Series-A funding
May 2003 - Company was formally launched at Palm Developers Conference & E3
Sept 2003 - Zodiac entertainment console launched at DEMO conference
Oct 2003 - Zodiac console began shipping to customers directly from tapwave.com
Nov 2003 - Tapwave announced that “over 1200 game developers” signed up for the developer program and requested the SDK
Dec 2003 - Tapwave received an offer from major consumer electronic company (undisclosed) to promote and sell Zodiac in US & Europe.
The deal fell apart in January 2004 due to changed of top management from this company.
Feb 2004 - PalmGear and Tapwave announced a partnership to launch an online store to feature some of the best applications, game titles and
ebooks available on the Palm OS® platform
April 2004 - Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4 available for Zodiac
April 2004 - Synchronization between Zodiac & Mac OS X desktops enabled by MarkSpace
June 2004 - Zodiac launched into U.S. retail distribution with CompUSA
Oct 2004 - Zodiac launched in United Kingdom and sold through PC World, Dixons, Dixons Tax Free Stores, and Currys.
Oct 2004 - Zodiac launched in Singapore and distributed by ECS
Nov 2004 - Zodiac launched in South Korea and co-branded with Sonokong (OEM)
Nov 2004 - Madden NFL 2005 available for Zodiac
Dec 2004 - Audible announces audio book support for Zodiac
Dec 2004 - Tapwave announce Wi-Fi® SD card for the Zodiac with “enhanced mail application and web browser”.
Jan 2005 - Tapwave and Virgin Digital announced strategic alliance for audio download and subscription services.
July 2005 - Due to strong competitive pressures from the Sony PSP and a lack of funding, Tapwave discontinued the sale of the Zodiac mobile
entertainment console and sold substantially all of its assets to an undisclosed multi-billion dollar corporation in Asia and wound down
operations. The entire organization was acquired by Motorola’s Connected Home Group to lead the development of a new CE initiative.
The Zodiac console was initially available in two models, Zodiac 1 (32MB) for $299 US, and Zodiac 2 (128MB) for $399 US. Some of the more noteworthy game titles for the product included: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4; Mototrax; Spyhunter; Madden NFL 2005; DOOM II; Warfare Incorporated; and Duke Nukem Mobile. Due to strong competitive pressures from the Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP) and lack of funding to drive premier game development and compete effectively in the market, Tapwave discontinued the sale of the console in July 2005 and sold substantially all of its assets to an undisclosed multi-billion dollar corporation in Asia.
The Zodiac console garnered strong product reviews and received many industry awards. A few example include: Popular Science’s Best of What’s New (BOWN) Award; Stuff Magazine’s Top 10 Gadgets of the Year; Wired Magazine’s Fetish Award, CNET’s Editor's Choice Award; PC World’s 2004 Next Gear Innovations Award; PC Magazine’s 1st Place Last Gadget Standing at CES; Handheld Computing Magazines’s Most Innovative PDA of 2003; Time Magazine’s Best Gear of 2003, and Business Week’s Best Products of 2003.