Let’s face it, the Pandora is pretty much end of life: you can’t buy it anymore (out of stock), it had only a limited production run, and the community is less and less active (well, it’s been almost 10 years since the project started). Yet, thanks to the ongoing efforts of PtitSeb, another unexpected port makes it to the format: Stardew Valley.
Back in August 2017, I had a (secret!?) meeting with PtitSeb who brought his Pyra prototype for me to check it out. Since I had not relaunched GiantPockets at the time, this article was a little delayed. As the Pyra is still not out in March 2018, it may still be worth sharing what I thought about it then. Why should you care? Well, I have used the Pandora(s) extensively for many years (from 2012 with the Rebirth and afterwards with the 1Ghz Model) so that makes me well aware of what worked and did not work with the Pandora, to evaluate the Pyra prototype on.
So here is 2018. It’s a kind of middle ground for Linux handhelds. After all, the concept of Linux handhelds preceded the advent of smartphones and since then there is probably less of a need for the general public – iOS and Android already seem to answer the needs of most users so far. In fact, it has clearly become a niche market, with only smaller companies operating in it. But the good news is, there are several efforts underway to get there, in several directions. There are several categories we can split them in. Note that in this article we will remain at relatively high level (and refrain from comparing every single spec under the radar) as this is meant to be an overview.
Hey – it’s been a while I did not post any news. There are several reasons for that, but also the lack of motivation in the first place because there was not so much happening that was worth talking about on the Pandora side of things, and a lot of little posts about the Pyra that I did not feel it was necessary to “summarize”. Today, however, we have a new video, and it’s pretty well done and definitely worth sharing.
Last week I met with PtitSeb as I started my holiday back home – during our conversation I was casually asking him what’s been happening with the Pandora lately since I did not really have any time to check news. “Oh, the Pyra pre-orders started”. Wow, already ? It’s now been more than a week, and here’s a quick update on the whole situation.
A couple of weeks ago, Notaz released a surprise update for the Pandora firmware. After all, the 1.73 one was supposed to be the very final firmware update for the Pandora, yet Notaz is a perfectionist and does not easily leave things unfinished. This new firmware comes with a number of changes worth mentioning in a whole post.
We seem to be back to a more normal month now, with a few dozen updates and less than 10 new releases. But there’s a lot of gems there: the new Kodi Media Center, version 16.0, updated versions of Xash3D, Daikatana and RCTW which should all be a little faster. Among the new releases, Call to Power 2 stands out as an excellent Civilization game that can run on the Pandora. Definitely better than, let’s say, FreeCiv.
The bluetooth function of the Pandora must have been one of the most underused ones since its launch. There’s only one time that I think I was able to use it: for connecting it to a bluetooth GPS. And… that’s it. BT Audio never worked for me (even in Slackware) despite the Pandora managing to connect and pair with other devices. With the new firmware 1.74, we finally get working bluetooth for audio streaming. YES.
It’s been a while since we did not talk about PPSSPP, the open source PSP emulator available across most platforms, including the Pandora. Last time I mentioned it, it was for the 0.9.6 version, and since then there’s a lot to say about it. Obviously the Pandora is nowhere near powerful enough to run most games made for the PSP (especially the 3D intensive ones), but there’s now a good collection of games that run pretty well.
It took a long time to get to this point, but ED and his team has finally achieved it! A fully working Pyra prototype! Looks like you won’t have to wait too long now to get your hands on something tangible (hopefully within 2016) to replace your existing Pandora, or to jump on the ship if you did not have any Pyra-like handheld until now.