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Author Topic: Pandora handheld  (Read 4193 times)
onpon4
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Pandora handheld
« on: January 18, 2011, 03:49:33 am »

Has everyone here heard of the Pandora handheld console? It's a really cool console developed very differently from other consoles, because it's developed by a few guys rather than a big corporation. It was thought to be vaporware for the longest time, but Pandoras are now in the process of being mass produced and shipped to those who preordered them in 2008.

It's a really cool console, from the looks of it. It runs a Linux OS, which means it can act as a small notebook as well as a handheld console. It can also naturally play pretty much anything which has been released as open source (including UQM, Freeciv, Glest, Freedoom, you name it). There's also no corporate lockout nonsense, since there's no big corporations involved.

I myself intend to get one of them as soon as I can. It would be great to be able to play so many games on-the-go (including old ones on emulators), not to mention working on my programming projects. It's also cool that it's easy to develop games for the Pandora in Python/Pygame, which is great for me as a Python programmer. Wink
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Draxas
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Re: Pandora handheld
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2011, 04:03:26 am »

How is this different from a laptop running a Linux distro? That's all it sounds like to me.
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Kohr-Ah Death
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Re: Pandora handheld
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2011, 06:22:13 am »

I heard about it awhile back and I wanted one for about 5 minutes.
Then realized it wouldn't be able to play any real games, I'd rather have a laptop.
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Re: Pandora handheld
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2011, 11:37:36 am »

yes I have heard of it Wink. imho it's too expensive for me Smiley
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onpon4
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Re: Pandora handheld
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2011, 12:38:15 pm »

How is this different from a laptop running a Linux distro? That's all it sounds like to me.

Not much, except that it's a hell of a lot smaller (not much larger than an old-model Nintendo DS) and made specifically with portable gaming in mind (i.e. game controls built-in). Since it's build with gaming in mind, it's probably also a lot easier to play games on it; I still haven't even figured out how to configure joysticks on Fedora, for example.

I heard about it awhile back and I wanted one for about 5 minutes.
Then realized it wouldn't be able to play any real games, I'd rather have a laptop.

It can play games like, as I've mentioned, The Ur-Quan Masters and Freeciv (which are both available as PNDs, as well as several others), and in fact any open source game not available as a PND, if you're willing to compile it. And you can also play on one of the many emulators created for the Pandora (allowing you to play theoretically any system older than the Dreamcast with no issues, supposedly). If none of those are "real" games, you're not doing much better with a laptop.

yes I have heard of it Wink. imho it's too expensive for me Smiley

Same here. That's why I haven't pre-ordered one. Wink
« Last Edit: January 18, 2011, 12:39:48 pm by onpon4 » Logged

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Re: Pandora handheld
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2011, 03:28:04 pm »

looks ok however i'll wait for reviews to come out first
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onpon4
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Re: Pandora handheld
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2011, 09:25:46 pm »

looks ok however i'll wait for reviews to come out first

Have you seen user reviews? There's some videos by some guys who bought from the first batch. Here's the first part of one of them: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zgJPnyAGWM

The guys who made/make the Pandora also made a "video a day" series a while back: http://www.open-pandora.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=208&Itemid=43&lang=en
« Last Edit: January 18, 2011, 09:45:12 pm by onpon4 » Logged

Kohr-Ah Death
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Re: Pandora handheld
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2011, 10:01:08 pm »

I heard about it awhile back and I wanted one for about 5 minutes.
Then realized it wouldn't be able to play any real games, I'd rather have a laptop.

It can play games like, as I've mentioned, The Ur-Quan Masters and Freeciv (which are both available as PNDs, as well as several others), and in fact any open source game not available as a PND, if you're willing to compile it. And you can also play on one of the many emulators created for the Pandora (allowing you to play theoretically any system older than the Dreamcast with no issues, supposedly). If none of those are "real" games, you're not doing much better with a laptop.

Except with the right laptop you can play Grand Theft Auto, The Force Unleashed, Spiderman: Shattered Dimensions, Command & Conquer, Civilizations, Dead Space, Mass Effect, FreeDO, Sins of a Solar Empire, Eve Online, Supreme Commander, Battlefield, SPORE, The Sims, Total Annihilation, Back to the Future, PCSX2, Dolphin, etc, etc...

Let's see your Pandora do that.
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onpon4
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Re: Pandora handheld
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2011, 03:20:09 am »

I heard about it awhile back and I wanted one for about 5 minutes.
Then realized it wouldn't be able to play any real games, I'd rather have a laptop.

It can play games like, as I've mentioned, The Ur-Quan Masters and Freeciv (which are both available as PNDs, as well as several others), and in fact any open source game not available as a PND, if you're willing to compile it. And you can also play on one of the many emulators created for the Pandora (allowing you to play theoretically any system older than the Dreamcast with no issues, supposedly). If none of those are "real" games, you're not doing much better with a laptop.

Except with the right laptop you can play Grand Theft Auto, The Force Unleashed, Spiderman: Shattered Dimensions, Command & Conquer, Civilizations, Dead Space, Mass Effect, FreeDO, Sins of a Solar Empire, Eve Online, Supreme Commander, Battlefield, SPORE, The Sims, Total Annihilation, Back to the Future, PCSX2, Dolphin, etc, etc...

Let's see your Pandora do that.


But the Pandora is much smaller, and hence much easier to carry around than a laptop. So what if there's a few Windows games you can't play? If that's your position against the Pandora, surely you must say the same thing about... well, pretty much any game console that ever existed?

I'm just saying, you don't buy portable consoles because you expect them to be better than their larger versions. That would just be naive. You get portable consoles so you can have more versatility playing your games. That's why the GameBoy was so successful, despite having primitive monochrome graphics.
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Re: Pandora handheld
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2011, 04:28:38 pm »

But the Pandora is much smaller, and hence much easier to carry around than a laptop. So what if there's a few Windows games you can't play? If that's your position against the Pandora, surely you must say the same thing about... well, pretty much any game console that ever existed?

The point is, if you're running Linux, you're always going to be way behind the curve on gaming. That's pretty much a fact, and always will be, since nobody really bothers developing commercial games for such a niche market. If all you're concerned about is emulation, you can do that on basically anything now; from what I understand, there's a huge PSP and DS emulation scene. So what, exactly, IS this device offering us that we can't get elsewhere?

Quote
I'm just saying, you don't buy portable consoles because you expect them to be better than their larger versions. That would just be naive. You get portable consoles so you can have more versatility playing your games. That's why the GameBoy was so successful, despite having primitive monochrome graphics.

The Gameboy was mostly successful because it had no competition for years. By the time the other game companies got their acts together and released competing products, the installed userbase was so huge that the GB already had an enormous leg up. Add to that fact that the competition was pretty lackluster, and that's a recipe for continued success.
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Re: Pandora handheld
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2011, 07:31:20 pm »

I don't know much about the DS scene (other than the fact that it has an odd screen resolution making it probably not the best device for retro gaming/emulation), but the PSP scene is rather crap. Partially due to the immature community (primarily users), partially due to the shitty hardware (horrible screen, amazingly shitty analog nub), and partially due to Sony causing the few skilled developers to be working on cracking the latest firmware instead of working on great games/emulators. Playing SNES games semi-choppily on a horrible screen with horrible controls isn't much fun. On the other hand, you do get some nice recent 3d games with the PSP, so if retro gaming/emulation isn't your thing, you'll be fine with the PSP.

The main difference in the PSP and OpenHandhelds (GP32, GP2x, Wiz, Caanoo, Pandora) scenes are the tech-savvyness of the developers. As the OpenHandhelds are very open, it's pretty easy to develop stuff for them. Some guy managed to port X-com and Terror from the Deep to the GP2x, including music, sounds, and custom controls. UQM plays really well on all of those handhelds, wheras it's rather unimpressive on a PSP. The SNES emulator for the GP2x outperformed that of the PSP on inferior hardware. The Pandora has dual analog sticks plus a D-pad and qwerty keyboard, so it should be ideal for retro gaming. But, yeah, no real backing for new, non-homebrew releases, due to the extreme obscureness of the device.

As far as laptops go: ever see anyone in the bus or at the train station playing a game with a laptop? I've never seen any of that, yet I do see people playing games in the bus daily on their PSPs, DSs or smartphones.

As far as the Pandora itself goes: if it's anything like the GP2x and the other GamePark Holdings handhelds, it's an amazing device. Yet I can't help but to feel that it's a tad too late. Smartphones have better hardware *and* more software nowadays, and the only thing the Pandora has over the smartphones are the gaming-oriented controls. Also, it's rather expensive. Furthermore, actually *getting* one might be a pain. A friend has pre-ordered one for about two years now, but still hasn't actually received his device...

Summary: Want to play recent 3d games or old games via emulators? Get a laptop or a desktop. Want to play recent 3d games on public transport / whereever you go? Get a PSP. Want to play old games via emulators wherever you go? Get a Pandora, Caanoo, Wiz or GP2x. The DS probably fits in there somewhere, but I doubt it'd fit nicely with emulation/retrogaming.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2011, 07:37:03 pm by Megagun » Logged
lakota.james
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Re: Pandora handheld
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2011, 10:23:27 pm »

Emulation on a DS works fairly nicely, with the one exception of the odd screen size.  Depending on the game, you either need to leave black bars on the sides, or crop off the top/bottom of the screen a little.  It's not terrible, though.

Edit: well, at least, nes, snes, and scumm emulation works well. I haven't tried much of anything else, really.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2011, 10:25:09 pm by lakota.james » Logged
onpon4
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Re: Pandora handheld
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2011, 12:43:32 pm »

Furthermore, actually *getting* one might be a pain. A friend has pre-ordered one for about two years now, but still hasn't actually received his device...

The Pandora project started in 2008, and the manufacturing process for the first batch only began recently, in late 2010. After some production issues, production is supposedly up and running again. So it makes sense that your friend hasn't received his Pandora yet.

As explained on the Pandora project's About page, the developers, not having a whole lot of assets and not wanting to get investors involved (as that could ruin the spirit of the project), opted to accept orders early, that is, before the device was even close to ready. And it seems like it paid off, because they've made it to production.
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Re: Pandora handheld
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2011, 04:13:05 am »

I have been keeping an eye on this thing... though I don't know whether or not I will ever decide to get one.
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Re: Pandora handheld
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2011, 08:10:02 am »

When I gather the money for it I'm gonna get one of these babies.

I honestly don't need a portable gaming device anymore, I need a portable pc with touchscreen support because I fucking hate laptop keyboards and mouse track-pads.
I could hook a game controller to that thing and go to town on some classic gaming. Maybe not N64 because that crap requires plug-ins and a video card.
Not to mention not having to worry about transcoding, converting or otherwise modifying any media because I could just use VLC.

Oh god the possibilities, I could finally write music away from home with the ability to use Guitar Pro.
Send my clients prototype web pages(created in Photoshop) or even code web pages on the go. (not to mention digital invoices *drool*)

I'm pumping myself up  Grin

Although I'll probably pass on their initial release since it does look like it has a few things it needs work on.
Needs a capacitive touchscreen, a MicroSDHC slot and a HDMI port. Possibly a better processor and graphics chip,
but if it can run my most used programs then I'll buy that thing next payday.

I've been waiting for something like this since the iPad came out, but I wanted one from Microsoft.
So far they've only released the Windows Phone so it'll probably be awhile before they get to competing with the iPad.
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