First Mobile Phone Offered in Europe With Immersion's VibeTonz® Touch Sensations; Immersion Ports Its Multiplatform Touch Technology to GSM Platform; VibeTonz System Now Used on Three Continents
SAN JOSE, Calif., Jan 24, 2006 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Immersion Corporation (Nasdaq:IMMR), a leading developer and licensor of touch feedback technology, announces that Orange is offering the first mobile phone in Europe with Immersion's VibeTonz System, the Samsung E770. The VibeTonz System adds vibro-tactile sensations to sight and sound cues on mobile handsets, making content more realistic and fun and operation more intuitive. Orange, with more than 54 million wireless subscribers in 17 countries, is initially offering the phone to customers in the U.K.
The VibeTonz System offers users a mobile entertainment and communications experience that is both more personalized and more immersive. By engaging users' sense of touch, the System brings powerful improvements to mobile gaming, ringtones, and the user interface.
"We design our products to engage people on an emotional level, as well as provide them with new ways to communicate and interact," explains Matthew Kirk, director of devices, Orange. "Orange has worked with Immersion so that its customers can be the first in the U.K. to experience downloadable games with Immersion's VibeTonz effects. We specified VibeTonz technology to make gaming, entertainment, and user interface features more personal and fun."
With the addition of Orange's U.K. network, the VibeTonz System is now used on three continents and, through seven operators, available to more than 150 million wireless subscribers. The Orange implementation is the first time the technology has been used on the GSM platform. Other implementations in the U.S. and Korea were ported to CDMA technology. The VibeTonz System can be ported to multiple platforms, and it integrates seamlessly. In addition, it offers extraordinary benefits to the user.
"In the same way that cameras added interest and utility to the mobile experience, the VibeTonz System can improve interactivity and usability," said John Grundy, vice president and general manager, Immersion's Mobility business group. "We're advancing the use of touch, providing a sensory experience that is more complete and harmonious -- and rare for digital devices. Consumers will immediately understand the powerful benefits -- not just for gaming and ringtones, but for existing applications and virtually any innovation the mobility industry has to offer. For operators and developers, the VibeTonz System can help bring new revenue through increased downloads, and for handset manufacturers, it can provide a source of value-added differentiation."
Ringtones and User Interface Features
The Samsung E770, a mobile phone intended for the mainstream market, comes with 1.3 megapixel camera, MP3 player, 4 embedded VibeTonz-enabled games, and 15 embedded VibeTonz-enabled ringtones that can be used for caller identification. When set, the distinct vibration pattern in each ringtone can let users know who is calling even in noisy environments or when the sound is turned off in Quiet mode.
The phone also includes options for using VibeTonz touch sensations to accompany power on/off, opening and closing the flip phone, and to signal incoming messages including text, e-mail, multimedia, and broadcast.
With over 10 years proven success providing force feedback technology for PC and console games, Immersion technology can now be used to add power and realism to the mobile gaming environment. VibeTonz-enabled games embedded in the Samsung E770 include:
-- Airship Racing from eFusion
-- Bobby Carrot from eFusion
-- Arch Angel from Wait4U
-- Freekick Festival from Zio Interactive
"We added VibeTonz effects to Airship Racing, a hot-air balloon game where you can now feel the jolt of lightning bolts and the thud of dropping rocks," said Michael Lim, director of marketing, eFusion. "And we also added VibeTonz effects to Bobby Carrot, a maze game in which you now feel effects with the introductory music and each time you collect an object or complete a level. The two games are for very different demographics, yet the VibeTonz System adds a great deal of fun for both."
Several leading mobile game developers, including Superscape, I-play, and Indiagames, are planning to release games with embedded VibeTonz effects. Subscribers will be able to purchase this content on Orange's multimedia services Web site, Orange World.
Superscape recently signed an agreement with Immersion for use of VibeTonz technology in their downloadable games for the Samsung E770. "Touch sensations in mobile games can add the type of value found in PC and console games and will definitely be included in our continuously expanding portfolio of innovative mobile games," said Kevin Roberts, CEO, Superscape Group plc.
Indiagames and I-play, who have used the VibeTonz System in games for other phones, also are licensed to incorporate it into downloadable games for the Samsung E770.
"Indiagames has been in the forefront of adopting the latest technologies, and we believe that the VibeTonz System will help bring about greater sensory involvement and enhance user experience," said Vishal Gondal, founder and CEO, Indiagames. "We think our VibeTonz-enabled games for the Samsung E770 will be a hit in Europe."
"The VibeTonz System adds a whole new level of fun and excitement during the mobile game experience and increases the possibilities for what mobile games can be," said David Gosen, acting CEO, I-play. "We find the VibeTonz System very easy to implement and are targeting to initially add several more VibeTonz-enabled games to our catalogue of fun, high-quality mobile games."
A list of currently available VibeTonz-enabled content for the Samsung E770 can be found at www.vibetonz.com.
-- Orange World, www.orange.co.uk/multimedia/orange_world.html
-- Samsung E770 mobile phone, www.samsung.com and www.orange.com
-- Immersion's VibeTonz System, www.immersion.com/mobility
-- VibeTonz support for developers, developer.immersion.com
-- VibeTonz-enabled content and phones, www.vibetonz.com
-- Indiagames, www.indiagames.com
-- I-play, www.iplay.com
-- Superscape, www.superscape.com
-- eFusion, www.efusionmobile.com
-- Wait4U, wait4u.net
-- Zio Interactive, http://www.clubzio.com/eng
About Immersion (www.immersion.com)
Founded in 1993, Immersion Corporation is a recognized leader in developing, licensing, and marketing digital touch technology and products. Bringing value to markets where man-machine interaction needs to be made more compelling, safer, or productive, Immersion helps its partners broaden market reach by making the use of touch feedback as critical a user experience as sight and sound. Immersion's technology is deployed across automotive, entertainment, medical training, mobility, personal computing, and three-dimensional simulation markets. Immersion's patent portfolio includes over 500 issued or pending patents in the U.S. and other countries.
This press release contains "forward-looking statements" that involve risks and uncertainties, as well as assumptions that, if they never materialize or prove incorrect, could cause the results of Immersion Corporation and its consolidated subsidiaries to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.
All statements, other than the statements of historical fact, are statements that may be deemed forward-looking statements, including any projections of earnings, revenues, or other financial matters; any statements of the plans, strategies, and objectives of management for future operations; any statements concerning the breadth of and timeline to implement force feedback technology into handset models or into games or other content, release of VibeTonz-enabled handsets, release of content by service providers, or any change in revenue that may occur from such implementation; any statements regarding consumer response that may occur as a result of having touch feedback in handsets or content, or consumer and market acceptance of force feedback products in general; any statements regarding proposed products or services; any statements regarding future economic conditions or performance; statements of belief; and any statement or assumptions underlying any of the foregoing. Immersion's actual results might differ materially from those stated or implied by such forward-looking statements due to risks and uncertainties associated with Immersion's business which include, but are not limited to, delay in or failure to achieve commercial demand for Immersion's products or a delay in or failure to achieve the acceptance of force feedback as a critical user experience.
For a more detailed discussion of these factors, and other factors that could cause the Company's actual results to vary materially, interested parties should review the risk factors listed in the Company's most current Form 10-Q, which is on file with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The forward-looking statements in this press release reflect the Company's beliefs and predictions as of the date of this release. The Company disclaims any obligation to update these forward-looking statements as a result of financial, business, or any other developments occurring after the date of this release.
Immersion, the Immersion logo, and VibeTonz are trademarks of Immersion Corporation in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
SOURCE: Immersion Corporation
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