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Report: Panasonic testing gaming handheld in U.S.

Panasonic's upcoming Jungle gaming handheld apparently has started testing with consumers in the United States, Bloomberg reports.

The Jungle handheld
The Jungle handheld
Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Panasonic has started testing its Jungle portable-gaming device in the U.S. market, Bloomberg is reporting.

According to the news service, Panasonic sent out e-mails yesterday informing U.S.-based consumers that they're invited to test the handheld. Bloomberg cited a Panasonic source who said that the company did, in fact, send the e-mail to some people.

"We know other companies out there have traditional handheld gaming covered," Panasonic reportedly wrote in the e-mail, according to Bloomberg. "We're doing something very different."

What we know of what Panasonic has planned is definitely "different." The company's handheld, which was first unveiled last month, boasts a clamshell design and will reportedly include both a keyboard and a touch pad. However, unlike Nintendo's DS or Sony's PlayStation Portable, which offer a more "traditional" way of playing games, the Jungle will reportedly play online games and massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs).

Unfortunately, further details on the device are scant, and Panasonic has been mum on what the device will eventually offer. The company did not immediately respond to request for comment.

If and when Panasonic does finally release the device, the company will be forced to prove to consumers that there is space in the mobile-gaming market for another handheld that would compete against not only the DS and the PSP, but against smartphones as well.