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Open Source Hardware Build

OpenPandora Design Files Released 65

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 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 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.

  • You can buy a sensor package for your handheld [sensorcon.com] now (there are others, this is just the first one I searched up and it looks pretty nice) but it's probably going to be more than a decade before you're going to get a terahertz scanner or anything else that interesting for a tolerable, pocketable price.

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


    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.

  • by AntiSol ( 1329733 ) on Sunday June 01, 2014 @10:26PM (#47144413)

    I bought one in January. It's absolutely spectacular. It's quite possibly the best computer I have ever owned.

    this thing is a MAME device that costs close to $600

    No. Calling it a MAME device is not even beginning to do it justice. Sure, I have something like 40,000 MAME ROMS loaded on mine, but that's just one SD card. Another SD card is a truecrypt volume. Another contains 40 years worth of X-Men comics. Another has all the SCUMM games, a ridiculous number of C64 games, and a bunch of Playstation games. I've just started playing with some of the audio production apps - soon I'll figure out how to use the pandora as a MIDI controller, that'll be cool. Chromium runs well for web browsing as long as you limit the number of tabs you have open. Office apps like Libreoffice and dia run well. But for me, I think that the terminal, scite, and ssh are the killer apps - some things aren't available on the pandora (which actually means "I haven't bothered trying to compile them yet"), sometimes I want to offload processing to a faster machine. And sometimes I need to restart my webserver... actually, the real killer "app" is the hardware keyboard.

    The range of software available in the repos is staggering given the system specs (it runs blender! :O), and the quality generally high. The native games available should not be trivialised, either - special mentions go to asciiportal, boson-x, audiorace, pewpew2, and the arkanoid remake. Some of these are huge time sinks.

    $600?!? pah! In AU, where we try to stay at least 10 years behind the rest of the world, it's nearly AU$800 once you throw in some accessories and shipping, but I really think it was worth every penny.

    Yes, it's not as impressive in specs today as it was when it was designed. They got screwed and they had production problems, so it took a lot longer to get built than it should have. But they did manage to bring it to market eventually and they've done as much as they can to get units to the people who preordered. And they've been fairly transparent about all this, so I think that they're credible. On the other hand, I would have been really annoyed if I'd preordered and I'm glad I didn't.

    People ask me what it is, and I describe it as a full computer which can do most things their laptop can do - it's the best way I've found to describe it. Flexibility is the key - I was running the JACK audio framework and a couple of software synthesizers last night and started to run out of memory, so I switched to my terminal and enabled the swap partition on my SD card. Problem solved.

    It's not just a MAME machine!

God made the integers; all else is the work of Man. -- Kronecker