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Apple tablet may pose new challenge in video gaming

When Apple introduced the iPhone, it shook up the cell phone business, but it also changed the way people play video games.

About a quarter of the 100,000 applications that you can download to the iPhone are games, ranging from the simple "Doodle Jump" to a version of "Grand Theft Auto." Now, with the looming launch of a tablet-style computer, Apple could pose an even tougher challenge to established players in the video game business.

That assumes, however, that potential buyers aren't scared off by a price that might be more than the cost of a Wii, a PlayStation 3 and an Xbox 360 combined. Apple isn't commenting on its unveiling Wednesday.

Apple's iPhone and the similar iPod Touch brought a new look to games because they have an accelerometer inside that lets people control the action by turning or tilting the device. With a touch screen and the computing horsepower for high-quality graphics, the iPhone lends itself to pared-down versions of console games.

Now the iPhone, which costs $99, $199 or $299 plus a monthly service plan, rivals gadgets such as the Nintendo DS ($130-$170) or PlayStation Portable ($170-$250), known as the PSP.

Of course, the tablet is likely to be about much more than gaming. Given that Apple will have to convince people they need another gadget, the company is also likely to bill the tablet as a do-everything device.

The device is luring publishers with features that Amazon.com Inc.'s Kindle and Sony Corp.'s electronic readers lack, such as color photos, video and author interviews, analysts said.

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