Pandora is Real!?

August 27th, 2008 by Crusader

I was skeptical, but Engadget recently reported that the Pandora project has reached a prototype stage. The community effort to build an open Linux-based handheld game console has produced a development model that can run various emulators and, most importantly, Quake 2!


The FAQ states they intend to offer Pandora for $330 US when it hits production stage.

6 Responses to “Pandora is Real!?”

  1. Svartalf_ Says:

    Yes. It’s for-real. I’ve one of the prototypes in my possession. So far, the thing’s impressive with what they’ve got going on it right now. It’s a little further behind than the community would like right at the moment (Supplier delays, shipper delays, heh…gotta love doing new product development… ;-) ) but I think within the next couple of weeks, we’re going to see a LOT more as the drivers (Something I owe work for in return for having one of the prototypes…), etc. finally gel for the device. If you want a desktop/set-top solution, the Beagleboard ( for about $160 is using the same basic SOC- there’s going to be good things coming out of this (incl. commercial stuff, hopefully…) as it works to going out the door.

  2. nod51 Says:

    Wow that Beagleboard looks impressive! Couple years ago I looked for low power but powerful CPU (aka: non x86 overhead) Linux server, but they ether have low RAM (128mb), or cost $10k+ as gfx workstations. Now if I could just find a Beagleboard with 1xSATA and 1x RAM (laptop) slot I would be set serer side.
    As for what the Beagleboard was designed for, if the Pandora OS image will flash to this it would make a VERY useful home video player/game computer taped to the back of my 22in monitor with a controller.
    I plan to buy a Pandora, and it has TVout, I wished it had DVI out for the above 22in monitor reason, but hey, apparently I could buy a separate board just for that!

  3. eyerouge Says:

    Really nice project. Kick ass machine, almost feel sorry for people having the nintendo ds / playstation. What worries me is how this fares compared with the UMPC:s since you can buy a mini-laptop for around the same price as this will have. If so, and if the specs are about the same, why not buy the mini-laptop since you could easily hook a pad to it? Again, I’m not into the tech details here, hence I’m asking.

  4. Svartalf_ Says:

    The toolchains are similar between the two (The firmware team with Pandora’s been using the Beagleboard OpenEmbedded recipes as a basis for their work on Pandora…)- the main deltas between the two are in the low-level BSP stuff. The runtimes should be close enough that you can bring things over from one to the other. Moreover, the ABI is the same, so commercial stuff should just interchange with both of them. Think of the Pandora as a fully hand-held version of the Beagleboard. ;-)

    As for faring against other UMPCs… It’s much, much more powerful than a Nokia, will have something on the order of 10+ hours at normal clock, with the ability to under/”over” clock the unit to it’s lowest and highest speeds on the fly. All in all, it’s the only play in it’s class. Netbooks (not to be confused with UMPCs- the eeePC is a netbook, so’s the Inspiron 901, etc…) are vastly bulkier, have shorter runtimes and have mediocre 3D support in most cases- if you’re looking for an answer that does it all, you’re not going to find it. The UMPC crowd’s fielding mostly ARM-9/ARM-11 (This is a Cortex-A8, which is the generation following the ARM-11 and is roughly twice as fast as an equivalently clocked ARM-11, and this has full FP support (ARM-11’s don’t all have that), SIMD instructions (Heh…), and it packs a DSP, and full shader based GPU. Most of the currently available SOC’s either scrimp on the CPU, the DSP, the GPU, or all of the above. The closest thing right now is the Qualcomm SOC- and they didn’t have prototype silicon until sometime in June-July of this year.

  5. M1AU Says:

    This is a really nice unit and I most likely going to buy it.
    Even though, don’t expect to get a full featured uber awesome pro handheld from the very beginning. It’s more like a process to get all these emulators and games ported.
    Nevertheless a few game companies already said they’re going to make a few games for this platform.

  6. gmureddu Says:

    Nice to see you over here Svartalf! (Thetargos here from Phoronix). I hope this device really picks up where the GP2X failed with commercial games support. That doesn’t mean that good ol’ Linux based FLOSS games aren’t a good addition at all, but the focus since the GP2X seemed to have been the emulators, more so than original, *exclusive* titles. And if that did happen, how would they be delivered and used on the unit? (I’m guessing through the SDHD slots?). It already shows a LOT of potential with the niche home-brew crowd (especially being so open in its development and all), let’s just hope it does pick up steam and cause enough of a stir so that game devs and publishers look towards it and (wishful thinking, as always) Linux in general. I’m most definitely buying one!

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