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Pandora (console)

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Pandora
File:PandoraFront.JPG
ManufacturerOpenPandora
TypeHandheld game console / UMPC / PDA hybrid
Operating systemCustom edition of Ångström
CPU600+ MHz OMAP3530 ARM Cortex-A8 (32 Bit) and 430 MHz TMS320C64x+ DSP Core, NEON & TRADE SIMD coprocessor[1]
Storage capacityDual SDHC slots, 512 MB internal NAND, USB external storage
ConnectivityWi-Fi, USB 2.0, Bluetooth
WebsiteOpenPandora

The Pandora is an upcoming handheld game console built on open source principles. It is developed by OpenPandora, which is made up of former distributors and community members of the GP32 and GP2X handhelds.

The designers have stated that it is more powerful than any handheld video game console that existed when it was announced.[1] It includes several features that no handheld game consoles have previously had, making it a stage between an ordinary handheld console and a UMPC. As of yet, one batch of 4000 devices has been sold, and an official release is expected in the first quarter of 2010.

Contents

History

Development of the Pandora began when Craig Rothwell, Fatih Kilic, Michael Mrozek and (later) Michael Weston teamed up and planned a portable system that would excel in the areas where they thought the GP32 and GP2X systems (from Gamepark and Gamepark Holdings respectively) were flawed.[2] The Pandora was designed based on ideas and suggestions contributed by GP32X forum members, with the goal of creating the ultimate open source handheld device.[3]

The release of the console has been delayed many times. Originally it was estimated by the developers that the console would be released in 2007. 3000 units were finally available for pre-order on September 30, 2008,[2] but demand was so high that the developers chose to increase this number to 4000, all of which were sold in under a week. The console was expected to begin shipping around November 30, 2008, but the creators report that it was delayed due to several compounding factors. In June 2009 Craig suggested in the forums that a July release was likely.[4] Later in June, Mrozek suggested that while that estimate was optimistic, some units may start shipping as early as August or September 2009.[5] In a December 2009 video, Craig Rothwell stated that he is "confident" that purchasers will receive Pandora consoles in January 2010, although that deadline has also passed.[6]

Overview

The Pandora is designed to be a handheld game console with high-end PDA capabilities, but may also be run as a low-power full-featured Linux desktop. The system by default will come with a Linux OS based on Ångström.[7].

The interface is custom themed to fit the small form factor and touchscreen, analogue joystick, and keyboard-based inputs available. Users can install and run their own desktop environment if they choose. Users may even install other Linux distributions like Ubuntu[8] or Gentoo[9] themselves.

The Pandora is intended primarily for homebrew gaming and for the emulation of older computer systems and video game consoles, which is possible through efficient use of the resources made available by the Texas Instruments OMAP 3530 SoC. The Pandora developers have already shown working emulators for Dreamcast, PlayStation, Nintendo 64[10], Amiga, SNES, Atari Jaguar and Sega Mega Drive software,[11] and the Pandora is thought by its developers to have the potential to emulate most if not all machines older than the Dreamcast.[12]

The device is also intended for use as a portable media playback device with a storage capacity of up to 64 GB of data across two SDHC memory card slots.

The Pandora uses standard libraries such as OpenGL ES and SDL which are freely available, allowing anyone who wishes the ability to develop for the system. Many developers from the GP2x community have publicly stated that they will be developing applications for the new system.[citation needed]

At launch, the Pandora will be able to install Debian packages built for the ARM architecture using APT. A Git repository will be available immediately upon release of the system, allowing for download of the latest kernel source.[13]

Technical specifications

  • Texas Instruments OMAP3530 System-on-Chip with Cortex-A8 at 600 MHz[14][15]
  • 256MB DDR-333 SDRAM[14]
  • 512MB NAND FLASH memory[14]
  • IVA2+ audio and video processor (based on the TMS320C64x+ DSP Core at 430 MHz) using Texas Instruments's DaVinci technology[14]
  • ARM Cortex-A8 superscalar microprocessor core[14]
  • PowerVR SGX 530 (110 MHz) OpenGL ES 2.0 compliant 3D hardware[14]
  • Integrated Wi-Fi 802.11b/g[14]
  • Integrated Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR (3Mbit/s) (Class 2, +4dBm)[14]
  • 800x480 resolution touchscreen LCD, 4.3" widescreen, 16.7 million colors (300 cd/m2 brightness, 450:1 contrast ratio)[14]
  • Dual analog nubs; 15mm diameter, concave, 2.5mm travel from centre[14][16]
  • Full gamepad controls plus shoulder buttons[14]
  • Dual SDHC card slots (currently supporting up to 32GB of storage each, supports SDIO)[14]
  • Headphone output up to 150 mW/channel into 16 ohms, 99dB SNR[14]
  • TV output (composite and S-Video)[14]
  • Internal microphone plus ability to connect external microphone through headset[14]
  • 43 button QWERTY and numeric keypad[14]
  • USB 2.0 OTG port (480Mb/s) with capability to charge the Pandora[14]
  • USB 2.0 HOST port (480Mb/s) capable of providing standard 500mA current to attached devices[14]
  • Externally accessible UART for hardware hacking and debugging[14]
  • Brick prevention with integrated bootloader for safe code experimentation[14]
  • Runs the Linux kernel (2.6.x)[14]
  • 4200 mAh rechargeable lithium polymer battery[17][18]
  • Estimated 8.5-10+ hour battery life for games, 10+ hour battery life for video and general applications, and theoretically 100+ hours for music playback (with backlight off and maximum power management)[19][20]
  • Dimensions: 140x83x27mm (5.51x3.27x1.06 in)[14]
  • Mass: 335 g[21]
  • Weight: 3.29 N (0.739 lbs)

Similar products

Other single-board computers using OMAP3500 series processors include OSWALD developed by Oregon State University students for computer science education, Beagle Board, IGEPv2, and Gumstix Overo series. The Gizmondo 2 was to be a potential commercial competitor of the Pandora.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Official OpenPandora Site". Openpandora.org. http://openpandora.org. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  2. ^ a b "Why the Pandora came to be". Pocketgamer.co.uk. http://www.pocketgamer.co.uk/r/Various/Pandora/news.asp?c=8667. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  3. ^ "ARM Press Release". Arm.com. 2008-05-09. http://www.arm.com/iqonline/news/marketnews/20883.html. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  4. ^ http://www.gp32x.com/board/index.php?showtopic=48174&st=30&p=732164&#entry732164 Craigix's June 2009 post about a release date.
  5. ^ http://www.gp32x.com/board/index.php?showtopic=48285&st=105&p=735504&#entry735504 EvilDragon's June 2009 post about release dates they're "talking about".
  6. ^ Craig's Christmas Message on YouTube.com
  7. ^ "Will Pandora Be Able To Run Debian?". GP32 GP2X Pandora. The Wiz. http://www.gp32x.com/board/index.php?act=ST&f=62&t=44171&hl=&view=findpost&p=648859. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  8. ^ Ubuntu on Pandora devboard (2) at YouTube
  9. ^ "Gentoo Pandora Project". Gentoo Pandora. Gentoo Pandora Devs. http://gentoo.openpandora.org/news/. Retrieved 2009-05-11. 
  10. ^ "Official 'Mupen64Plus". Gp32x.com. http://www.gp32x.com/board/index.php?/topic/49358-mupen64plus/. Retrieved 2009-09-06. 
  11. ^ "Pandora Development Blog". OpenPandora.org. http://openpandora.org/blog.php. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  12. ^ "Official 'semi-speculative' emulator list". Gp32x.com. http://www.gp32x.com/board/index.php?showtopic=41897. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  13. ^ [1] OpenPandora Blog post, "The Good the Bad and the Ugly" by EvilDragon
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v "MWeston's Site". Openpandora.ca. http://openpandora.ca. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  15. ^ "Zodttd Status Report". Pandora.dcemu.co.uk. 2008-05-09. http://pandora.dcemu.co.uk/zodttd-status-report-111602.html. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  16. ^ "Will You Buy It?". GP32 GP2X Pandora. The Wiz. http://www.gp32x.com/board/index.php?showtopic=39774&st=0&p=574183&#entry574183. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  17. ^ "Boot Time". GP32 GP2X Pandora. The Wiz. http://www.gp32x.com/board/index.php?act=ST&f=62&t=42757&hl=&view=findpost&p=622646. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  18. ^ "Battery For Pandora". GP32 GP2X Pandora. The Wiz. http://www.gp32x.com/board/index.php?act=ST&f=62&t=45798&hl=&view=findpost&p=685704. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  19. ^ "Pandora Lite?". GP32 GP2X Pandora. The Wiz. 2008-06-04. http://www.gp32x.com/board/index.php?act=ST&f=62&t=42454&hl=10+hours&view=findpost&p=615742. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  20. ^ "Can It Play Mp3-files In Energy-saving Mode?". GP32 GP2X Pandora. The Wiz. http://www.gp32x.com/board/index.php?act=ST&f=62&t=40478&hl=100+hours&view=findpost&p=615766. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  21. ^ "Pandoras Weight". MWeston's Pandora information page. http://openpandora.ca/. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 

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