If you are a Pandora owner, and follower of PandoraLive, you probably already know a lot about what was planned for the DragonBox Pyra. If it’s the first time for you to hear about it, then look no further to find all about the upcoming successor of the Pandora, as it was revealed officially at the FOSDEM 2014 (held in Brussels, Belgium, Feb 1-2).
ED’s presentation started with the goals set for the DragonBox Pyra. Mainly, to update the hardware to the current generation, to improve and fix current issues with the Pandora (hardware-wise), to offer a complete OS right from the start (probably Debian). Otherwise, the idea remains to be as open as possible, and to keep the project close to the Community.
Specs wise, here is what we have learned:
- SOC will be TI OMAP5432. It’s not the best SOC out there, but it’s decent performance wise, it’s available for small quantities and will remain available for the next 5 years since TI is using that chip for the automotive industry as well. This means 2x Corter A15 (up to 1.7Ghz each), 2x Cortex M4 CPU, PowerVR SGX544-MP2, Vivante GC320 2D Accelerator, DSP, Neon. And potentially 2Gb of RAM.
- LCD will probably be from LG, and will be a 5 inches FullHD display (response time 20ms, same as the one used for the Google Nexus 5)
- Gaming Controls: the new nubs will be using magnets to be more durable than the existing ones. Count on a Dpad, and there will be 4 shoulder buttons on top of 6 face buttons, and a power button with a RGB LED. By the way, the nubs will also act as push buttons.
- Battery will be the same as the existing Pandora, while the battery cover will be redesigned.
- Connectivity: better Wifi (802.11 a/b/g/n), Bluetooth, optional UMTS/3G module and GPS, HDMI out to connect on standard screens, Full USB port (Hub included), MicroUSB port (OTG), 2 SDXC card slots, and a headset port.
- The case of the Pyra will be made in Europe (Form Action, Greece), should be of better quality than the Pandora one. Let’s home this company does not go bankrupt… I’m not sure choosing something based on Greece was very wise in terms of risks-taking…
- Keyboard will be back-lighted (adjustable) and the current layout seems to be the following:
- OS will likely be Debian as mentioned, with a repository for Pyra packages, and a standard Debian repository for standard Debian software.
- There will still be a PND-like system, to enable swapping cards and applications easily without having to update the whole system.
- The Production will be in Germany at the same plant as the current Pandoras, at Global Components.
- Schematics and case design files will be made public.
- No Parasite (Like Mr C.) in the project.
- Financing: Prototyping is already ongoing and does not need additional funds. Mass production run will need some form of investment (Kickstarter, Loan, etc…) while donations are always welcome. Buying the remaining Pandoras help as well
- The development blog is opened: http://pyra-handheld.com/ and you can find the specs page to know more. There’s a newsletter as well to get the latest news. I have already subscribed, and if you are really serious about the Pyra it would be a good idea to do it too.
Here’s by the way a video of the prototype board in action running tons of applications at once, and especially two PS1 emulators running at the very same time!
Here’s a full video of ED’s talk at the FOSDEM 2014 (thanks Linux-SWAT!):
There will probably be more info coming and more videos in a couple of days after the FOSDEM is over. Stay tuned and register to the PandoraLive Newsletter if you haven’t done so yet!