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OpenPandora released

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Oct. 3rd, 2008 | 08:39 pm


I think I posted about this thing before - it isn't quite a "netbook", being the size of a Nintendo DS and having a much smaller screen. It's a open-source and open-hardware handheld console that is far more powerful than any existing handhelds, designed to play (a) emulated games (it's easily powerful enough to emulate an Amiga or PS1, or run Quake 2) and (b) games from small developers and amateurs (apparently at least one small developer company has explicitly said that they will be writing for it). It will also run proper Linux, if you really wanted to do things apart from play games on a 4.3" screen.

It is also now available for pre-order. I am a little tempted, but it comes from the same group that I previously bought the GP2X from, in very similar circumstances - early order, open hardware, the promise of lots of emulation and free software and open-penguin-yay-ness. Only, in retrospect, it was crap. Battery life was about five minutes, obtaining software was incredibly frustrating and mostly nothing worked, there were no decent instructions anywhere, I couldn't update anything, the built-in UI was rubbish and even reading eBooks was frustrating.

The machine itself seemed quite reasonable but all of the software and documentation for it, even the OS, seemed to come from enthusiast developers, writing for other enthusiast developers, and was incomprehensible even to somebody like myself who is at least reasonably geeky. This is not how you sell a handheld games console. I still feel a bit cheated by that, and even though this looks like a vast improvement, if I was going to spend £200 on a gadget I'd spend a little more and get a new Eee 901. So I won't be buying this unless I go a bit mad before Sunday, when pre-orders stop. I'll wait to see what happens with it. You go ahead though if you like.
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Comments {2}

Joshua Kronengold

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from: mneme
date: Oct. 3rd, 2008 08:36 pm (UTC)

I'm getting one--have been watching the buzz, and faunching over it ever since my zaurus C3000 died in the spring.

At least from here, I don't think it -is- put out by the same group that made the GP2X -- IIRC, the GP2X was by a specific company, and despite its problems, had an enthusiast community spring up around it. Then, since the enthusiast community was small, the company folded and stopped making new things.

At least from what I've read, the Pandora was built/designed by members of said enthusiast community, specifically to address the problems they had with the GP2X (including ancient hardware, battery life, etc). Different group, and was much a reaction to the GP2X as it is a sequel.

Of course, that doesn't mean it will the address the problems -you- had with the machine, and one (and I certainly do) does wonder if there's a point to it given the Andriod Linux-based phone coming out slightly before it does (though that will have far less in terms of gaming, of course, if almost certainly better support and a larger surrrounding community. And, naturally, be missing Bluetooth just as Pandora will have wifi and bluetooth (yay!) but not be a phone. *sigh*).

I haven't decided whether I'm getting Android--one really stupid dependency (one I can dispense with in about 2-3 hours of really annoying work forwarding email around) is whether my current, un-IMAPable sidekick email will transfer over to the Android without said work. But it would be kinda nice if the Android's wifi and the GP2X's wifi meant I could bootstrap my way onto the internet using both devices.

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from: fridgemagnet
date: Oct. 3rd, 2008 09:49 pm (UTC)

I'm not sure about the exact provenance to be honest, but yes, I did read some mentions that problems with the GP2X were acknowledged and the aim of the Pandora was not to fail in the same way. Which does give me a bit more hope for it. On the other hand, I can't help thinking that for just slightly more I could get a tried and tested portable Linux machine with a bigger screen etc.

I may or may not get an Android phone; it really will depend on the details. I find that I am rarely in the position nowadays that I end up using a phone for anything beyond calling or texting anyway - I almost always have something more powerful around - so the whole smartphone thing is becoming increasingly academic.

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