If you follow the boards, you will probably already know this, but EvilDragon (owner of OpenPandora GmbH, currently manufacturing all Pandoras from Germany), has just released a couple of hours ago two important announcements. First, the 1Ghz unit is phasing out. Not immediately, but there are only parts remaining for about 500 1Ghz units and no more than that. Apparently there will also be about 150 Rebirth (at 600 Mhz) available as well. More importantly, there were talks about the successor of the Pandora.
In a different post, ED mentioned the following elements for the successor device are already fixed.
EDIT Nov 20: added new details based on more recent post from ED.
- Size: Similar (maybe 1-2mm more on each side). Won’t be less thick for sure.
- Clamshell design
- Full sized SD Card slots
- USB Ports (1 or more?)
- Gaming Controls: nubs (no firmware, output i2c directly), Dpad, face buttons. 4 shoulder buttons have been announced.
- Replaceable battery (same one as before)
- Microphone: will be kept.
- Internal Memory: will use eMMC, single size prefered for production.
- Sound System: will keep same design as current Pandora.
- Compatibility with P1: yes, as much as possible.
- New Nubs: new ones (samples being tested are working much better than current ones).
- LCD-Cable: with MIPI displays, no need for LCD Cables anymore.
- New Case: completely redesigned and produced by one company in Europe, for higher quality. There will more rounded edges. Color may be rendered through carbon plastic material.
- New LCD: Better refresh rate, higher resolution (ideally 720p, but that’s hard to get), size increased to 5″. Apparently unlikely to be resistive. Still not decided.
- Revised Keyboard: Slightly improved layout, better feel with potential backlight. Still needs lots of work, apparently.
- Wireless Connectivity: Improved Wifi, and potentially 3G/4G too. If 3G/4G happens the SIM slot will be below the battery.
- New Speakers: expected to be much better.
- New SoC: already confirmed apparently, but the model/specs are not disclosed. Note that this was, as far as I know, an important hurdle in the past few months.
- TV-out: currently thinking about microHDMI
- New Hinge: potentially with multiple steps, but still far from being done.
- Ordering System: not sure yet. For full production, preorders may be required, or ED may decide to use a loan or go through Kickstarter.
This is extremely interesting, because it finally confirms that a clear successor is in the works (I was in the know already for a while, but could not disclose anything).
As to when this will be ready for production and sale, well I don’t know how far the development has gone so far, nor how much ED is going to reply to other user requests (asking for more of this or more of that…). I strongly believe that Design is not a democratic process and that difficult decisions must be taken, if you don’t want to end up with the Homer car design when trying to fit everything into a single box.
This being said, I would not expect this Pandora successor to be released before the end of 2014, just knowing that some parts may take several months to be sourced (molds for plastic case elements themselves will probably take 3 to 6 months to be ready), several pilot runs will be needed at the assembling plant, design will probably need to be revised slightly once or twice to fix potential issues, etc… so I would say we won’t see anything in our ends before late 2014 or even 2015, but maybe ED will prove me wrong 🙂
It would certainly be positive to avoid too much of a gap in time between the time the 1Ghz unit runs out of stock, and the time the new successor is available. ED did however take a risk, with this announcement, to stall the sales of the current 1Ghz, since there is now clearly a new device at the corner. Some potential customers may decide they’d rather wait instead of purchasing a 1Ghz, for example. But he may already assume it will easy to get rid of the last units available.
Anyway, very good news for the future of the Pandora community, and for the world of alternative, open devices. We don’t have too much choice these days and I will definitely continue to actively support such platforms. Shit, I may have to change the name of the blog down the road as well. Aww. しかたない。