Limited to just 3,000 units until next year, the much vaunted and often delayed Pandora console is available for pre-orders as of September 30th! Just incase you’ve been living in a cave for the last couple of years, the Pandora is a one-of-a-kind Nintendo-DS sized clam-shell handheld, built around a top-of-the-line system-on-a-chip from Texas Instruments (OMAP3530). That makes it about as powerful as a Nintendo Wii or the original Xbox!
It’s aimed squarely at the gaming market with:
- GP2X style emulators: Snes, Amiga, Sega Megadrive and others;
- a 4.3” 800×480 touchscreen LCD display;
- a fast OpenGL capable GPU that will run Quake 2 at silky smooth frame rates;
- 2 analogue pads, as well as digital D-pad with action buttons and shoulder buttons like the PSP;
- S-Video TV-Out built right in!
But, far more interesting to me is how it compares to my aging Zaurus SL-C1000:
- both have USB 2.0 Host so it can connect to a USB hub or appear as an external drive to other machines;
- both sport speakers, headphone socket and condenser microphone, and volume control accessible with the clam-shell closed;
- the Pandora is a tiny bit bigger at 5.5” x 3.3” x 1.1”, but has a larger, higher resolution, higher bit-depth display;
- 600MHz+ ARM Core toasts the Zaurus 416MHz PXA270;
- doubles the Zaurus memory with 128MiB SDRAM and 256MiB Flash;
- 2 SDHC slots instead of 1 SD and one CF slot (that is permanently filled with a CF 802.11b Wifi card on my Zaurus);
- 802.11g and Bluetooth built in (rather than as CF cards);
- more than 10 hours of battery life for Pandora, though my Zaurus would also manage that under light use;
And the price? Just US$320 inclusive for the Pandora. Less than half what it cost to import my Zaurus from Japan 3 years ago!
Unless Apple cleans out my savings account on October 14th, or all 3000 units are accounted for by then, this looks like a fabulous upgrade for me. And I can play games on it too :)