Unless you are a crazed video game nut or live in the U.K., you probably haven’t even heard of the controversial gadget called the Gizmondo. It’s a lima bean-shaped competitor to Sony’s PSP handheld except it has more features and is currently only available in the United Kingdom. The Gizmondo is an all-in-one gadget. It’s a video game, movie, and music player, a Web browser, text message and e-mail communicator, a camera, and a GPS-loaded navigation and tracking device.
What makes the device so controversial is how the executives at Gizmondo plan on using the unit’s GPS functionality. Gizmondo plans on allowing advertisers to geo-target ads. So while you are loading up a video game or checking your email, you may have to wait while a 20 or 30 second advertisement for your local drug store or politician plays on your Gizmondo screen.
This has many potential Gizmondo owners here in the United States outraged. Many feel that the company has no right to advertise to them on a device they themselves purchased. In response to these concerns, the company intends to sell two types of Gizmondos: a $400 version, which will not receive so-called “Smart-Adds,” and a $229 ad-enabled version. Gizmondo claims that the cheaper unit will receive at most three 20- to-30-second ads per day, for now.
Gizmondo CEO Michael Carrender says his company plans on launching a multimillion-dollar multi-channel ad campaign this October aimed at young, rap-loving early adopters here in the United States.
“Kids will walk into a store, see a model for half the price, and think ‘What’s the big deal with three ads a day from Busta Rhymes or some basketball player?’,” said Carrender. A barcode or coupon will sometimes appear after ads, along with mapping directions on how to get to a retailers nearest location. Barcodes can be scanned directly from Gizmondo screens. “Just imagine being the first to hear a new 50 Cent and Gwen Stefani music sample or get a free Slurpee from 7-11–all because you receive Smart-Adds.”
Just remember, when you fill out your warranty information, Gizmondo plans on using that information for improved ad targeting.
Gizmondo shoppers beware.