The Amazing Open Pandora Story Continues

Posted on 24 January 2012 by

phoca_thumb_l_PandoraFront

The Open Pandora project has been an amazing project to follow. We first reported on the product, an OMAP-based Linux mini-laptop primarily focused on gaming emulation (but kitted out with some interesting features for anyone interesting in mobile computing) in Dec 2007 and in the last 4 years the product has gone through some amazing ups and downs with spec changes, production issues and community financing but it looks like they’ve made a break-through and that Open Pandoras will be shipping soon.

Update: The first devices off the production line are now being shipped. [9th March 2012]

pandoraThe story would make a great book. We saw an update in Dec 2008 showing a prototype build and an Angstrom OS build and after a year of refinements it finally went into limited production in May 2010. 4000 units should have been produced before Feb 2011 but it didn’t happen.  “[The production company] communication has been terrible, the missed all the deadlines they set themselves and they have a failure rate of at least 25%.”

On 12 July 2011 ‘EvilDragon’ the lead developer for the project wrote a post entitled ‘A fresh new start’ explaining how production was being stopped as a result of problems with the Texas-based production company. The search started for a new production company and by 27th of the same month they had found a candidate. Soon after, 70 investors had stepped forward and pledged nearly half a million Euros. Contracts were prepared and pre-orders started again.

The next months updates are worth reading in full over at the Openpandora news forum. There’s snow, hacking, sad news about a community member, delivery problems, contracts and more. It’s an amazing story that ends up with this fantastic post and video entitled “100% success.”

 

What a joy to watch.

The OpenPandora story isn’t over yet though. Mass production is due to start next month and after 4 years of waiting, the specifications don’t look as good as they used to. There’s software to write too. What you’ve got here though is an open-source, very efficient  handheld PC with a strong community behind it. It’s also a bit of history.

In support of the Open Pandora project I’ve put in an order and  I’ll do my best to give it airtime on UMPCPortal when it arrives. You can place a pre-order here. I’m sure there are many readers here who already have their orders in.

Check out the Pandora Rebirth competition too. Apps for prizes and follow OpenPandora on Twitter here. We have a specification page here.

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  • maximusz

    I ordered one a few years ago. Very disappointing how long it has taken to get to market. Money has been tied up all this time. At this time the specs were good. Now it’s just sad and people are waiting for the pandora II to be released with quad core and 1 gig memory.
    Great idea and that’s why I invested….. All I want is an up to date Zaurus. What happened to all the UMPC’s? I feel like we are still living in 1999 having to wait another 3 years to get a decent UMPC.

    • turn_self_off

      Just shows that when one do not have the mass of a big corporations to throw around, crap happens. And even corporations issues with getting tings done in a timely manner.

      Btw, i thought their problem was a Chinese supplier, not a Texas one.

      • There were multiple problems. The manufacturer was in Texas.

      • WizardStan

        They had a small problem with the Chinese manufacturer producing the cases. That set them back about 3 months.
        The company assembling the boards (soldering things together) is in Texas. Promised 1000 a month, delivered 2000 in about 16 months, and made some very poor choices that resulted in a 25% failure rate. It took a few more months, but now manufacture is going to be done in Germany where one of the founders can actually drive over and talk face to face if there are any problems. This should start in the next 2 weeks.

        • maximusz

          We have been hearing the claim of ” production should be starting in the next 2 weeks” for the last 4 years.
          This is getting old

        • turn_self_off

          And the reactions above is why big companies play their cards close to the chest (on top of the obvious competition angle). Less chance of “where is the product you promised us!!?!” from the gallery.

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  • Gearsguy

    I think itll be great if they make a generation 2. If they could put in 1GB of RAM + Quad core processor, in the same size (about the size of a Nintendo DS), it would make a great UMPC (Linux; Ubuntu)

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  • A good devive for schools… I like it more then a tablet. Even if the design is not that nice :)

  • anon

    Mass-produced open hardware sure ain’t easy! Though there are projects with much better track record too – check out the not-for-profit Raspberry Pi, which is in production now (although without cases for now). It aims to provide a modern version of the BBC Micro for British schools, hackers, and hobbyists alike and it costs $35.

    • turn_self_off

      The PI is a fair bit more modest than this. And also have some big name backers in the UK computing world (David Braben, of Elite fame for instance).

      • anon

        Indeed, and they also have a Broadcom employee on the team and managed to strike a good deal for the SOC. Nonetheless an impressive creation.

        • turn_self_off

          Hell, for Broadcom it may be worth it just for the mindshare. This similar to how the beagle- and panda-board have helped TI given people hands on experience with their products.

  • I’m still happily waiting for my batch 2 pandora and I’m confident there will be a pandora2 in the future. This project deserves our support.

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  • The openpandora already was delivered in 2011 , about 2700 units delivered , my OpenPandora was arrived to me in April 2011, and still work perfectly !!!

    Now is starting the second batch of production with every factory in the production changed, for go over the trouble that the old factories have provided to OpenPandora team.

    The OpenPandora team had give to the OpenPandora and clients all the best energy and effort to realize this product, there no one producer that give a so huge amount of passion and work to the clients and for a product.

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