After two and a half years of waiting, it has finally arrived….I am now one of only fifteen hundred or so people on the planet with a Pandora console
After the initial problem of the unit being sent to the wrong address twice, the unit arrived and to my delight had 40% battery, meaning I could use it straight away….at first the joystick didn’t work properly and the stylus was stuck inside the unit, but a software upgrade later and some repeated jiggling of the stylus and these problems were fixed….the unit is very small, about the size of a Nintendo DS, but a bit thicker and can be used in a laptop like position of open all the way. The battery lasts 8-10 hours depending on it’s use and the mouse can either be controlled using the touch screen or the two joysticks.
In the way of external hardware, it has 2 SD card slots, a volume slider, a headphone jack and the power/lock switch on the front, a pop-out stylus on the right hand side, and on the back it has a USB host port, an OTG mini port, TV-out port, power connector and the two gamepad shoulder buttons. When you open the device, you find a full QWERTY keyboard as well as a full gamepad…both the gamepad and keyboard are very nice to use.
The device comes pre-loaded with Linux Kernel 2.6.x and has a custom OS based on Angstrom, it also comes with some basic software such Midori (a web browser), XFCE (a window manager) and office software such as Abiword, Gnumeric and Clawsmail. The best thing about the unit though is as it is open source, software can be developed for it by anyone who knows how to code in the correct language….there are already hundreds of programs out for it, including: opensonic (a fan made sonic game), Pandora panic (a reflex game similar to
Warioware), openbor (a port of Beats of rage, which is a fan made version of Streets of Rage for the Sega Megadrive) and an emulator for virtually every console ever made up until the PlayStation 2 and Dreamcast.
I pre-ordered the Pandora in September 2008, and I think most people would agree that is a long time to wait for anything, and although technology has changed a little since then, the Pandora is still a very powerful and capable little machine and I will definitely be using it as my main portable games machine for the foreseeable future (at least until Sony’s NGP is released).
Below is a picture of the Pandora next to my 10-inch netbook.