Pandora Almost Done; Plays Quake 3, Mario 64

If a netbook and a handheld gaming console got married and had babies, what would be the result? Probably Pandora, the OMAP 3-based handheld that combines the two platforms into one small, pocket-sized device. Looking part Nintendo DS and part smartphone, Engadget reports that the device is nearly done, and is currently capable of running Quake 3 Arena and Super Mario 64 flawlessly.

According to the official website, the device is 5.5-inches wide and 3.3-inches deep. Under the hood, the Pandora consists of the ARM Cortex-A8 600 Mhz+ CPU and a 430 MHz TMS320C64x+ DSP Core. On the graphics front, there's the PowerVR SGX OpenGL 2.0 ES compliant hardware, and a 4.3-inch LCD touchscreen with a native 800 x 480 resolution and 16.7 million colors.

But, as previously stated, this device isn't just a spiffy handheld gaming machine. In addition to the 43-button QWERTY keyboard, the Pandora provides S-Video output, dual SDHC card slots, USB 2.0, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g. The little rig also supposedly offers over ten hours of battery life, but we're betting that's only on standby. The operating system of choice is an OpenSource OS: Ångström Linux "with some Pandora-specific changes."

According to the schedule, the final testing with the FCC will take place on December 28. If approved, the Pandora device will go into mass production. A forum member of Engadget actually had the chance to preview a pre-production model, as seen in the video below.

  • kezix_69
    that looks like a really handy piece of equipment to have. Not to mention it plays games!

    Though probably not Crysis :(
  • backin5
    I would think that with the name Pandora, people might shy away from buying this gaming console.

    Unless they're looking for trouble...
  • sliem
    Where do you get more games?

    @kezix_69: please, no more Crysis.
  • "The little rig also supposedly offers over ten hours of battery life, but we're betting that's only on standby"
    Actually, the low power "standby" mode is expected to last about a week. In this mode, the screen, wifi, and other high power sections are shut off, and the CPU is ramped down to some really low clock that I can't remember right now.
    The real standby, wherein even the CPU is shut down and only the RAM remains powered, estimates are in months.
    Craigix, one of the lead developers who got his early, was playing it for over 7 hours before he finally reported that he had received it and had been playing it.
    The estimates are 10 hours of entirely normal use, 14 hours if you turn the LCD brightness down (and maybe clock speed, though this is a little ambiguous since the OMAP can automatically scale it's processor), and 100 hours of just MP3 playback as soon as someone figures out how to get an MP3 player onto the DSP. That last one may not be possible since the DSP is a tricky beast, but with LCD and wifi off, we should expect at least the 14 hours of MP3 playback, if not more.
  • Also, the person that made the video is not a forum member of Engadget, but one of the developers of the Pandora, Craigix.
  • arlandi
    the pad and it's buttons look hard to use. may accidentally hit some keys while playing games.
    but if this thing has a reasonable price, i can see myself buying one (if it available in Indonesia, of course).
  • natmaster
    So it's a bulkier version of the N900? I'll keep with my pocket-able device thank you.
  • g00ey
    Why not make a portable unit for good old Playstation games instead? One could rip the Playstation CDs into .iso files and copy the .iso onto a SDHC/SDXC or CompactFlash memory and run the .iso file as it is in the portable device.
  • paradoxum
    it is pocketable, retard.
  • I do believe this will emulate Playstation games, if that's what you're looking for.

    arlandi - I think the controls look hard to use because he's also trying to hold a camcorder while making this video. From everything everybody's said, including a walk in Pandora Forum's member, the controls are great.

    Battery life is very subjective, but 10 hours of moderate use - i.e. gaming without bluetooth, wifi, and constant %100 CPU usage is the claim. (Think any homebrew gaming, nintendo gaming, even quake 1/2 for that matter. I don't know what it looks like if you're doing Quake3, Doom3 - if/when it releases, or N64 emulation, or constantly playing movies.)

    Once you start turning wireless on, the battery life goes down. I suspect if you play multi-player QIII with wifi for multi-player and bluetooth for your headphones/mic while playing your own music in the background...well, battery life will likely be less than 10 hours. :-b (I haven't tested this and don't know how well it will multi-task with later game engines running.)

    The biggest challenge the team has faced is simply getting the device out the door. We're SO CLOSE now...but not there yet. The latest - hopefully final - molds are supposed to ship tomorrow to be tested. (I don't believe that this interferes with the CE testing. Just a little bit of shrinkage, a slightly wider slot for the video cable, and shoulder pads were fixed.) I don't know how long it will take to receive and test the molds.

    There are about 4,000 people who have pre-orders in, and I expect the guys at the tail end of the list to receive theirs in February. If NOTHING goes wrong, those folk could see them mid/late January. If the cases need to be tweaked some more and anything else happens, it could be pushed back further, though I doubt this. Where's that bare wood... *knock* *knock*.

    After that, things SHOULD be much smoother. With molds finished - and more than 4k of them produced in the first run, the initial boards mass produced, and all the shipping kinks worked out, the round 2 of orders ought to smoother, and really exciting. I think a lot of projects are kind of on a holding cycle while people wait for their hardware.