Zeebo is a 3G entertainment and education system from Zeebo Inc. It allowed users to play video games, as well as connect to the Internet, communicate online and run educational applications. Zeebo was aimed at emerging markets such as Brazil and Mexico. Zeebo Inc. described Zeebo as bringing "the pleasure and excitement of interactive entertainment and education to those who have not yet had access to such technologies or did not have them at all."
Zeebo was founded by Reinaldo Normand in 2008 based on a working prototype designed by Dave Dernil and a business plan by Qualcomm's Mike Yuen. The company's stated intention was to create an affordable console with low-cost games and educational content delivered via wireless digital distribution to bypass piracy. Zeebo does not use DVDs or cartridges; games and other content are downloaded wirelessly via broadband cellular networks. In addition to games, the Zeebo system also provides Internet connectivity, allowing users to access educational and informational content, communicate via e-mail and create social networks (this feature was supported in Brazil and Mexico).
Prior to closing, Zeebo attracted content from companies such as Activision, Capcom, Digital Chocolate, Disney Interactive Studios, Electronic Arts, Fishlabs, Flying Tiger, Gamevil, G-Mode, Glu, id Software, Limbic Software, Namco, Polarbit, Popcap. , Twelve Interactive and Vega Mobile.
Zeebo was first announced in November 2008 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and went on sale there in limited quantities on June 1, 2009 for a suggested retail price of BRL 499,000. In September of the same year, the price was reduced to 399 reais, and in November the price was reduced again to 299 reais (≈170 US dollars). The console was distributed throughout Brazil in December 2009. By August 2010, about 40 games had been released for Zeebo in Brazil. On September 1, 2010, Zeebo announced the addition of new features and accessories for Zeebo in Brazil, including an Internet connection, a keyboard, and a new, more ergonomic gamepad. The new Brazilian configuration of the system cost the same as the previous one: 299 reais (≈170 USD).
Zeebo launched in Mexico in November 2009. It was shipped to national retailers across the country on November 4, 2009, with a suggested retail price of 2,499 Mexican pesos (approximately US$205). The Mexican system's configuration was similar to that introduced in September 2010 and included an internet connection, a keyboard, and an ergonomic gamepad. The price was reduced to 2249 pesos (about US$184) in April 2010.
Zeebo was available in Brazil and Mexico. Reports indicated that Zeebo was to be available in China by 2011. A release in Russia was also planned.
Zeebo Inc. announced an agreement with AT&T in March 2010. The company said that “the agreement gives us access to AT&T's international roaming network, allowing us to quickly test the Zeebo platform in new geographies as we establish long-term agreements with local carriers to deploy the system. It will also give us the opportunity to explore opportunities in the US market going forward.” However, it looks like Tectoy has decided to ditch Zeebo and now states on their homepage that they are targeting a more educational market.
On May 27, 2011, Zeebo announced that it would cease operations in Brazil and Mexico. All games will be price cut, the company says, and Zeebonet 3G will remain active until September 30, with all warranty services honored. On the same day, on the ZeeboNet 3G network, a message was added to the details of the game Turma da Mônica em Vamos Brincar ("Monica's Gang in Let's Play") that the game would not be available for purchase by the end of the day. .
Zeebo's homepage continued to say that the company was "currently working on a next-generation Android-based platform to launch in 2012" but the product had yet to be released.
The Zeebo system was developed by Zeebo Inc. with the participation of 12 companies, mainly Qualcomm and Tectoy. It was produced and distributed by local partners in target countries (eg Tectoy in Brazil). The console uses the Qualcomm BREW mobile gaming chipset, similar to that used in mobile phones. Players can purchase and download games and other content wirelessly via 3G or EDGE. The user has always been connected to the wireless network without any subscription fee. Purchases are made through the online store using the Z-Credits virtual currency. Zeebo's game delivery system reduces costs (no discs or cartridges required) and overcomes piracy barriers, two elements that hinder game console sales in emerging markets. Z-Credits are purchased by bank transfer, credit card,
The console's wireless connection also allows users to surf the web, send and receive email, and participate in social media activities over the wireless network. Zeebo can also perform "over-the-air" (OTA) console firmware updates, providing new content, features, and bug fixes.
The standard Zeebo "Z-Pad" controller includes a total of 7 buttons, a D-Pad and two analog sticks. There are four buttons on the right side (numbered 1–4); two shoulder buttons are on top, called ZL and ZR; there is a home button in the center that takes the user back to the home screen of the Zeebo interface, while still functioning like a regular "Pause" button during games. Directly below this button are two analog sticks, and the D-Pad is located on the far left side.
Boomerang, sold by Tectoy in Brazil, is a wireless controller with a built-in accelerometer that uses motion detection technology for games with real physics gestures. It has a D-pad, two buttons (labeled 1-2) on the top left side, a home button, a sliding on/off switch, and a wrist strap. Two AA batteries are required as a power source.
Zeebo also includes an external keyboard used with web browsing, email and social networking features.
Zeebo features remastered versions of games for mobile phones and other consoles such as FIFA 09, Resident Evil 4, Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 3D, Galaxy on Fire, and Rally Master Pro. There are also a number of original games developed specifically for Zeebo, including Zeebo Extreme racing games, Boomerang Sports games, Zeebo Football Club games, and Un Juego de Huevos (known as Um Jogo de Ovos in Brazil). , an adventure game based on the popular Mexican animated film Una película de huevos by Huevocartoon. In March 2010, Zeebo launched a series of classic arcade games. These games were originally created in the 1980s and 1990s by Data East Corp. in Japan and have been modified to run on the Zeebo system. Titles include Caveman Ninja (originally known as Joe & Mac), Spinmaster,
In June 2010, ahead of the FIFA World Cup, Zeebo released the first of its Football Club ("FC") games, Zeebo FC Foot Camp, developed by Zeebo Interactive Studios in Brazil. It includes four mini-games, each highlighting specific football skills such as dribbling, juggling, and kicking. Along with Zeebo FC Foot Camp, the company released Zeeboids, an application that allows users to create personal characters ("avatars") for use in Football Club games. Also in June, Zeebo announced a number of upcoming games from independent developers such as Digital Chocolate, Fishlabs, Limbic Software, Twelve Interactive and Vega Mobile.
In Brazil, Zeebo was sold with three free games built-in - FIFA 09, Need for Speed Carbon: Own the City, and Brain Challenge (known in Portuguese as "Treino Cerebral"). Three other games, all in Portuguese, are available for free download with new systems: Prey Evil, Zeebo Extreme Rolimã and Zeebo Extreme Jetboard. Over 30 other titles are available for purchase (via Z-Credits) and download.
On September 1, 2010 Zeebo announced the release of a number of new games and educational applications in 2010 and 2011. These included a new Zeebo Football Club game called Zeebo FC Super League; a series of games from Disney Interactive Studios, including Disney All Star Cards, Alice in Wonderland and Jelly Car 2; and a series of titles based on the Brazilian comic strip Turma da Monica, by cartoonist Mauricio de Souza.
In Mexico, the console includes five free built-in games (Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 3D, Pac Mania, Tekken 2, Zenonia and Zeebo Family Pack). At its launch in Mexico in November 2009, over a dozen games were available for wireless purchase. Since then, over a dozen more games have been introduced, all in Spanish. Zeebo also announced that English language teaching company Interlingua will develop entertainment and educational apps for the console.
In addition to games and educational content, the console provides access to over 50 websites grouped into thematic categories called "Z-Channels".
- ARM11 / QDSP-5 in a Qualcomm MSM7201 SoC running at 528 MHz
- ATI Imageon, later renamed Adreno
- 1 GB eNAND Flash
- 128MB NAND Flash in MCP
- 160MB RAM, 128MB DDR SDRAM in MCP + 32MB stacked DDR SDRAM in MSM7201A
- Resolution: VGA (640x480) - 4:3 aspect ratio
- 3G (reduce to 2.5G or 2G as needed)
- 3 USB 2.0 Standard A ports (for accessories)
- SD card slot/interface
- Interface: USB HID
- Power supply: AC adapter 5V 3A
- Consumption: 15W max. Standard 1 watt.
- Graphics: 4 million triangles per second
- Audio: 8 channels simultaneously MP3, ADPCM, MIDI
- Size: W × D × H - 157 × 215.4 × 44 mm
- Weight: less than 0.9 kg (2 lbs)
- Operating system: Qualcomm BREW
Content for Zeebo is based on the BREW platform and is created using the Zeebo SDK, which can be downloaded from the Zeebo Inc. website. Gamepad peripherals are made possible by the BREW extension. Zeebo system supports OpenGL ES 1.0/1.1. Applications are downloaded over the air and are typically between 5MB and 25MB in size, although game content can be as large as 50MB on the device.