Report: Panasonic working on gaming handheld

The purported game device, the Jungle, would compete with Nintendo DS and Sony PSP, reports claim.

Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

After failing in the gaming business in the mid-1990s with its 3DO console, Panasonic is making its way back to the industry, reports claim.

According to CrunchGear, which first reported the story this week, Panasonic is building a portable gaming device, called the Jungle, that would compete with Nintendo's DS and Sony's PlayStation Portable.

Images on CrunchGear show a clamshell boasting a large display, as well as a touch pad and keyboard on the bottom half of the device.

That isn't proof that the device is definitely coming, but Reuters reported today that it has spoken to an unidentified "person familiar with the matter" who apparently confirmed Panasonic is building a handheld gaming device.

Exactly what Panasonic's plans are for Jungle are currently unknown. But a new site has cropped up on the Web that purports to be the home of Jungle. The page mentioned a "Jungle handheld" and stated that the device includes a "display, touch pad, keyboard, and other gaming controls that we'll be saying more about soon."

That page was taken down at some point this morning, and a 28-second video has cropped up on the home page instead. The video includes a grouchy-but-adorable, weapon-toting alien, images of the upcoming MMO "Battlestar Galactica Online," and a Panasonic copyright.

The people behind the site state that their mission is to "create an ecosystem around online gaming" and that they plan to build a "new mobile device concept designed specifically for online gamers." The site's creators say they're working with online developers to create content for the device.

Panasonic is tight-lipped on the potential release of a handheld--the company did not immediately respond to request for comment. But if the Jungle site is to be believed, expect more details "soon."

Updated at 9:20 a.m. PDT: After this story was published, the "handheld" page was removed from the Jungle Web site. It was replaced with a video showing off a purported Jungle handheld. That video included a copyright for Panasonic Cloud Entertainment Co., a unit of Panasonic. This story has been updated to reflect that change.

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