Update: Pandora Open Source Gaming Console
By James Grahame
It's been almost a year since we first mentioned the Linux-based Pandora handheld gaming platform. Back then, I predicted a Summer 2008 release - overly optimistic, as it turns out.
The unit still isn't in production, although the team is making steady progress. The prototype case was assembled in early March 2009, so the only remaining pre-production hardware tasks are the creation of the keymat and ordering a production mold for the case. If everything goes smoothly, I'm guesstimating photos of a production prototype will be plastered breathlessly on top gadget blogs in early June.
However, the OpenPandora crew made a serious blunder by opening up pre-orders last fall with impossibly optimistic delivery dates. The mistake can be chalked up to inexperience and underfunding - they need money from pre-orders to fund the initial production run. However, the appropriate time to solicit funds is once completed production prototypes are sitting on the workbench and the team is confident that delivery schedules can be met. The result was an embarrassing clusterf**k; thousands of credit card reversals and numerous bank meetings.
I still believe this could be the machine that puts open source portable gaming on the map. Gamers will no longer be at the whim of Nintendo or Sony, and there's a very real chance that skilled independent developers will be able to eke out a lucrative market selling original titles for the machine. It includes dual SD card slots and a TV output, so it's possible for Pandora to act as a media hub, too. In the meantime, it promises to be a fantastic emulation platform that supports classic PlayStation, Amiga, Super NES, Atari Jaguar and Sega Mega Drive software.
However - no matter how enthusiastic I am - I won't lay down my hard-earned money until the machine has been on the market for several months and proven itself. Caveat Emptor.