Tag Archive | "open pandora"

The Amazing Open Pandora Story Continues

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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.

Open Pandora Almost Reaches Production with Mini-Clamshell Gaming / Hacking Device.

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Bringing a computing device to the market is, quite frankly, a nightmare. 90% of the work is in the last 10% of the detail and timescales will always slip. For the first-timer, the success rate must be pretty low. For a community project, the success rate must be even lower so we’re truly happy to see that the Open Pandora project is just a few steps away from the finishing line. (Actually, a new starting line!)


Production of the cases was due to start in time for Christmas shipping but a hiccup on the case has held things up. Fortunately, some production sample units are out there and the videos keep rolling in.

The Open Pandora product is aimed at hobbyists and hackers who want a relatively high-powered product for gaming-focused software projects. The device is just 140mm wide but contains a relatively powerful TI OMAP 3 board inside. That’s as good as the best ARM-based devices on the market right now!

Information, specifications and previous news on the Open Pandora project available here.

The most anticipated device, as chosen by the readers [poll results]

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Several days ago I put up a post asking which device was most anticipated by readers of our site. 648 of your responded and I’m here to share the results. Take a look at the graph below:


For readers who didn’t have a chance to participate in the poll from the previous post, here is the list of devices which readers could have chosen from (click the link to be taken to the product’s Portal page).

Crunchpad | Asus Eee T91 | Archos 9 | Always Innovating Touchbook

As I watched the results roll in, the Eee T91 stayed the leader for nearly the entire duration of polling. The CrunchPad came in second, followed by the Archos 9 and then the Always Innovating Touchbook. There was a good amount of ‘other’ responses. in fact enough to tie the CrunchPad for second place (I’ll add more devices to the poll next time!). What I found interesting was that some people filled in the ‘other’ dialogue with existing devices, and some filled it in with devices that they would like to have, but might not be products at this point. Here is a short list of ‘other’ entries for existing products:

And a short list of ‘other’ entries featuring devices that don’t yet exist:

  • Apple tablet
  • Archos 5” Android device
  • LG ultra mobile PC (this person must be old school!)
  • Next Nokia Internet Tablet (several people called this the N900)
  • Viliv S5 with keyboard

Interesting suggestions everyone. Thanks for participating in this poll. Its good to know people are looking forward to these devices. We have quite a few nice products lined up that we’ll be reviewing for our readers. Chippy has the Viliv S7 coming eventually, and we’ll also hopefully have our hands on the Asus Eee T91, and the Always Innovating Touchbook in the near future.

Open Pandora moving quickly into MID territory.

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Not content with having one of the most powerful ARM-based platforms out there, the Open Pandora team have decided to increase the RAM on the devices to accommodate Ubuntu after some successful tests by members of their community. (Video below)

“Expect to fly through the mobile Internet soon.” says one blog post. “RAM is very expensive but we have decided if we want a real ultra mobile PC style device which is pretty future proof for a few years we need it. Ubuntu is 20% faster already – not to mention you will be able to run several large apps now without worrying.” says a forum entry. It seems that adding Bluetooth to the spec wasn’t enough for the Open Pandora team. They want to add RAM, run desktop operating systems and take over the mobile Internet world. Well, sort of. It looks like there’s still a lot of work to do to get a decent OS and UI layer organised but judging by some of the passion in the forums, it shouldn’t take long.

I wonder if this is a response to the growing mobile Internet trend? Although the Pandora design may not be the most attractive due to its game controls, it wouldn’t take much to make a separate case for it if someone thought it was worth investing. Keep an eye on this grown-up smartphone because its looking more and more interesting by the day.

Fast forward to 2:30 for Firefox browsing action.

Cortex-based Clamshell – Pandora

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This open gaming handheld reminds me of the WiBrain B1 UMPC. Its got some great specs but the physical implementation looks a mess! It’s the latest incarnation of a design targeted at gamer/developers wanting to run gaming emulators. Based, spiritually on the GP2X, there’s very little focus on Internet connectivity an even less on mobile Internet connectivity (no Bluetooth, 3G) but the interesting thing is that the core hardware could form the basis of an interesting mobile Internet platform. Its being called ‘Pandora.’ [Wiki] Here’s an early prototype rendering.


The hardware is designed around a Cortex A8 CPU which is a RISC design and, according to what I read, will enable raw processing power equivalent to the new mobility focused X86 CPU’s like Intel’s Silverthorn CPU.

As the first product in TI’s OMAPâ„¢ 3 family of applications processors with the ARM Cortex-A8 superscalar microprocessor core, the OMAP3430 delivers up to 3X gain in performance over ARM11-based processors. The new processor leverages industry-leading technologies to provide mobile phone battery life together with the performance needed for laptop-comparable productivity software and an audio-video experience equivalent to that of consumer electronics devices. [TI PDF]

With an 800×480 screen, keyboard, Wifi and expansion ports it will be interesting to see what sort of performance it reaches running Firefox and what sort of battery life it returns.

I’m doing a lot of reading on Cortex at the moment so if anyone has any pointers to other Cortex-based projects or reading material, please let me know and i’ll add them to my watchlist.

Via Engadget and a tip from TSO, thanks!

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