So What’s the DragonBox Pyra Like ? [ FOSDEM ]

greypandora

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:

keybardpyra

  • 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!

15 thoughts on “So What’s the DragonBox Pyra Like ? [ FOSDEM ]

  1. rohezal

    If I have the money I will buy one. I liked the idea of the docking station, where you put your pyra in and have a full pc with mouse, big keyboard, monitor etc

    Reply
    1. ekianjo Post author

      Yeah, a this is exactly how I expect the Pyra to be. Carry it with you, do real work everywhere, and as soon as you have a real large screen around, plug it in a docking station and you have a full desktop computer ready to kick ass. It’s going to be awesome, too bad the Pandora was not ready for an HDMI or DVI output at the time since it could have been a reality earlier.

      Reply
  2. bosbeetle

    While “mr C.” might have made quite some mistakes, he did help make the pandora, and I think it isn’t fair to mention him in this way in an article about a product he is not involved in.

    Reply
    1. ekianjo Post author

      Ok, several comments on your comment.

      1) ED mentioned mr C himself in the video about the Pyra. I’m just sharing the info as well (with my opinion of the person using an appropriate adjective), because I think it’s actually very relevant for many people that Mr C is not involved this time around.

      2) I disagree with you on the wording of “mistake”. When you purposely deceive and lie to people over and over, it’s not a “mistake” anymore. There’s no excuse for that kind of behavior.

      3) There are still people who are waiting for a pre-ordered Pandora from mr C’s shop, and I’m pretty sure they have a different opinion than yours on the guy, especially after everything we are starting to learn about the ICP2 project led by Mr C as well. “Mistakes” again ?

      Reply
      1. nickie

        hmmmm, i haven’t been following the forums lately, so i’m guessing that Mr C is that shop guy ?

        you guys are certainly making many people very curious of wtf exactly happened with that little “dev spec” ?!

        Reply
  3. iridepolarbears

    I can hardly wait until the pyra is released. I just wish I knew how much it was going to be so I could put the money away now. that way I could order with no financial issues the minute it comes out. guess I’ll just keep playing with my pandora until then.

    Reply
    1. ekianjo Post author

      While there’s no price point at this stage, what I know is that it will be about in the same price range as the 1 Ghz model, so probably around 500-600$. Maybe a little more if issues arise, who knows…

      Reply
      1. sehs33

        Too expensive, this would trigger a red flag with the boss AKA wife…

        @ED: is there a way you can sell the base and screen as separate products? This way I might remain under the radar :p

        Reply
        1. ekianjo Post author

          I don’t know if ED checks Pandoralive regularly or not so maybe not a good idea to ask the question here :) Anyway, you better start saving and be extra nice to your wife :)

          Reply
  4. Steven Craft

    Looks pretty nice all-in-all. I haven’t watched the videos yet; did Dreamcast get demo’d running on the new board at all? Curious what performance is like (not a factor of whether I’d buy in the slightest, just interested).

    Reply
    1. ekianjo Post author

      Haven’t seen or heard anything about that, but I suspect it would run just fine on something as powerful as the Pyra.

      Reply
    2. benoitb

      Have a look at Nvidia Shield videos of it running Reicast.
      The Shield is also powered by a cortex-A15 SOC running at a slightly higher frequency with a different OS (android).
      The performance on the Pyra should be pretty close at least in the beginning before optimizations are made.

      Reply

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