I briefly spied a television commercial for a product called the V.Flash by VTech. The sound was off, but I got the impression that it was some kind of new game console for young children. And it appeared to have pretty decent graphical capabilities which is somewhat unexpected in this market.
Based on Google searches thus far, there doesn’t seem to be a big underground/hacking/homebrew scene developing around this new console yet. So it’s difficult to find hard technical data about it. Whatever the guts are made of, it must be possible to sell them at US$100 per unit and presumably make a profit. The 3D graphics aren’t especially revolutionary, but who can tell the difference in this day and age? In fact, based on screenshots and web videos I have seen thus far, the graphic quality strikes me as reminiscent of the PlayStation-N64 days. Further, the unit only supports composite A/V output.
Here is the PDF manual for the V.Flash console. As you can see from the above marketing photo, the system uses optical media in a cartridge, which is affectionately termed a V.DiscTM. The manual describes that the console comes with a tray onto which a user can mount an audio CD (and apparently a photo CD). This implies that the unit has the optical hardware to read CDs. I think it’s reasonable that it does not also read DVDs or else they would probably be able to advertise DVD playback capability. Plus, DVD playback ability would markedly increase costs via parts and technology licensing costs.
Naturally, I’m interested to see if the CDs have any FMV. The games are apparently widespread wherever fine toys are sold. They are around US$30 each and the company has managed to publish an impressive line-up of licensed titles featuring such properties as Spider-Man, Spongebob Squarepants, and Disney Princesses. It seems reasonable that one of these discs could be separated from its cartridge relatively easily and read in a normal PC’s optical drive.
What’s the wager that the unit contains, at its heart, an x86_32-type CPU? Then again, the V.Flash comes from a company that is hardly a startup and appears to have years of experience making small, game-related devices.