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OpenPandora Design Files Released 65

Posted by timothy
from the putting-it-all-out-there dept.
New submitter janvlug (3677453) writes "[As of Saturday, May 31], the OpenPandora case and hardware design files have been released for non-commercial use. The OpenPandora is a hand held Linux computer with gaming controls, but essentially it is an all-purpose computer. The OpenPandora offers the greatest possible degree of software freedom to a vibrant community of users and developers."
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OpenPandora Design Files Released

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  • by Dwedit (232252) on Sunday June 01, 2014 @11:00AM (#47141043) Homepage

    Why not release it allowing commercial use, and let anyone manufacture it? Availability problems have always been a huge problem for the OpenPandora team.

    • by fat_mike (71855) on Sunday June 01, 2014 @11:09AM (#47141091)
      According to the euro conversion, this thing is a MAME device that costs close to $600 before shipping and handling. The North America distributor is showing "Product no longer available" so it can only be ordered from Germany's Dragonbox. I also like the graphic on the website that says "Almost the same size as a Nintendo DS. Am I missing something?
      • by cb88 (1410145)
        It is a Linux Handheld... if it runs on Arm Linux you can run it on this.

        A friend of mine has one.. and it seems to perform decently. The biggest thing is the controllers which make it a clear winner over a phone for gaming. There are native games as well as emulators. You can also run chat programs etc.. nearly anything you could run on a desktop with 512Mb ram.
        • by fat_mike (71855)
          I ran a search on games that run on Arm Linux and Windows Solitare and Quake 3 were the first two results. Quake 3 was released in 1999 for both Windows and Linux. My iPad mini cost $299 and run VMware view and games that run on the Unity engine.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by obarel (670863)

        But you can't play 8-bit crap from 1984 on a Nntendo DS. Definitely worth the extra $400.

        (Don't get me wrong, I was the right age in 1984 to really enjoy that crap. But it's 2014 now and I'm older and wiser).

      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday June 01, 2014 @11:35AM (#47141221) Journal

        The big problem with OpenPandora was their time to market. When they started (2008), the Cortex A8 was pretty new (released 2007, but not much silicon until 2008) and there were few devices you could get with one in, although a few evaluation boards were starting to appear. They promised something in a small mobile form factor running a completely open software stack, which sounded like a fun platform. By the time they actually shipped anything (2010), the Cortex A8 was starting to feel a bit dated and was available in cheap mobile phones running Android. By the time they shipped to more than a token number of people, the A8 was ancient and you could get a dual or quad-core A9 or similar for half the price.

        Oh, and their UK operation effectively went bust after taking huge numbers of pre-orders. Both the UK and German companies had the pre-order money in their accounts for 2+ years earning interest before they shipped anything, but at least people who ordered things from the German company eventually got something, even if it was worth a fraction of what they paid for it, as a result of being two years - over an entire generation of the technology - old by the time they got it.

        • by Adam Colley (3026155) <mog.kupo@be> on Sunday June 01, 2014 @12:39PM (#47141567)

          Hi

          Have a Pandora myself, excellent little machine.

          It would have likely been out a lot sooner but there was a financial crash in 2009 (you may have heard something about it) which caused a fair number of delays/problems. Also Paypal decided to mess OpenPandora about to a massive extent, even refunding everyone and blocking purchases at one point!
          As if that wasn't enough, the first PCB manufacturer proved to be completely incompetent, shipping faulty boards, at one time bent boards and failing to replace them, give the money back or in fact do anything to put right their screwup, it was when ED moved production to Germany things started running much more smoothly.

          It was never supposed to be only a gaming platform, it is a full linux system which fits in your pocket (it can also run other operating systems from SD card, RISC OS for one)

          The UK operation suffered from being operated by a liar and a thief, this was unforeseeable. (incidentally, the same person (Craig) has run off with all the icontrolpad 2 Kickstarter money as well it seems after using other peoples money to buy himself 3d printers and so on.)

          Yes, the spec isn't as impressive as it was when announced but it's still a useful system.

          Incidentally, the Pandora's successor (The Dragonbox Pyra) is in development now and has a far better spec. Also a Craig free system (Yay!), you can read some information about that at http://www.pyra-handheld.com/ [pyra-handheld.com] if you're interested.

          • I was really interested in the Pandora when it was announced, but eventually got a phone with similar specs for about £50, before most people got their Pandoras. I've now also got an Asus TransformerPad TF700, which is a very nice machine, but I'd really like something that could run FreeBSD out of the box. The Dragonbox Pyra specs look pretty good, but I note a lack of any physical dimensions on the web site (other than a 5" screen), which makes it a bit difficult to evaluate. I didn't realise hns

          • by guises (2423402)
            The financial crash was in 2008, before they started taking money for preorders in October of that year. The real problem though was the endless barrage of broken promises - playing down every bit of news and claiming again and again and again that they were only two weeks away from shipping. Canceling my preorder (after sitting through more than a year of that BS) felt amazingly good. The only positive thing that I can say about them is that getting my money back was fairly quick and painless.
          • by fnj (64210)

            On their site they are bragging that the Pyra has a RESISTIVE touchscreen, gag. Of course it doesn't HAVE anything yet, because it is still imaginary, but that is a really a blast from the past.

        • by kimvette (919543)

          Also it has only 512MB RAM. At that price, I would expect an absolute minimum of 2GB RAM, preferably 4GB.

          • 512MB made sense in 2008. It was the largest available Package-on-Package (PoP) RAM module you could buy. The OMAP series of SoCs are usually used in a stacked configuration, with the CPU, RAM, and Flash all vertically stacked. This reduces the complexity of the board a lot, because you don't need any traces to be run for RAM or Flash (only for external peripherals), but it also means that you're quite restricted in the memory chips you can use: they must be single-chip modules and must have a sufficient
            • by kimvette (919543)

              And, even in 2008 I'd have considered it a little pricey but today at the advertised price it's a non-starter since sub-$100 chinese tablets have more capability and similar specs.

              • As I said in my original post, the thing that killed it was their time to market. It was initially proposed as a device where you'd pay a slight premium, but get something with an open software stack and a nice form factor as a hacker toy. By the time it shipped, that premium had become 200-300% over comparable devices.
    • Because these 2 kids building a console in their garage don't want, as per the previous story, Apple releasing a new product based on their ideas.

      • Because these 2 kids building a console in their garage don't want, as per the previous story, Apple releasing a new product based on their ideas.

        That is a reasonable concern, and locking down their IP with restrictions, as they have, is a good way to achieve it. But it is silly to call that "open".

    • by aliquis (678370)

      I kinda feel it was five years since I heard about the OpenPandora?

      Why should I care now?

  • Hopefully the developers of this change the name to something different. If it gets bigger they will forced to change the name and probably get a nice fat legal bill to go with it.

    • by Jesus_666 (702802)
      Why? Is there another computer or gaming console with that name? The only other tech-related "Pandora" that comes to mind is a music streaming service and I doubt that anyone is going to confuse those, so a trademark suit seems unlikely to succeed.
      • by mmell (832646)
        Patents on rounded corners? Patents on interacting with a website by mouse-click? Patents on using a touchscreen as an I/O device? All these and more have been done, if not always successfully. Need I go on?
      • by westlake (615356)

        The only other "Pandora" that comes to mind is a music streaming service and I doubt that anyone is going to confuse those.

        If only life were that simple.

        The WiFi Internet radio ships with Pandora.

        The Pandora app is available for almost all mobile platforms including the Kindle.

        During a presentation last week at RAIN Summit West in Las Vegas...Arbitron SVP Bill Rose and Edison Research President Larry Rosin offered some stats on Pandora, which has an impressive brand awareness recognition rate of 69% among adults 12+ in the US

        Pandora's Audience, Awareness Up [audio4cast.com] [April 2013]

    • by jd2112 (1535857) on Sunday June 01, 2014 @11:53AM (#47141327)
      Too late. Once Pandora is opened it can never be closed.
    • by janvlug (3677453)
      The name of the successor will by Pyra [pyra-handheld.com].
    • it's been named that since 2007.
  • Based on some of the medical devices I see being built for the iPhone and Android ecosystems, I have high hopes that I won't have to wait too much longer. Perhaps a decade or so.
  • When it was announced in 2008, this was a big deal for retro gamers. I just can't believe that they are still marketing it in 2014 though. This is a product that comes from another era, and was never improved. I have an old Sega Nomad that looks more modern.

    Today you can choose from a number of high-quality snap-on bluetooth controllers for your smartphone and get so much more than what OpenPandora offers. There are incredible Android emulators for every system, including uncommon platforms like the Sega Sa

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