I was debating a while ago about getting some better portable media player. My DS I’ve never got on with – encoding video for my R4 card is a real pain, it just doesn’t get on well with most input video types. My friend directed me the way of Pandora project (I don’t have an iPod touch, like he has, and already have an MP3 player 🙂 ), which is a neat rather indie piece of kit being made up.
It interested me, but not because it is dead cheap – all told it’s £266 for the unit and adapter, which is without SD card storage it uses, and so isn’t cheaper then an Eee or any equivalent really (well, many are much more expensive, but I’m not looking for a laptop replacement here). It has a good set of features and is nicely geared towards something I need to get into – ROMs and emulation.
Simply put there is no way to play the majority of old games out there (buying the consoles and games second hand is actually quite expensive in money and space), so emulation helps in that respect greatly – since I am a member of the IGDA’s Game Preservation SIG, emulation is one area I need to investigate anyway! I’ve never got on with it on my PC, since a keyboard or mouse just doesn’t feel right for most of the games. This should help, I’ve got plenty of time travelling to and from work to play on it. Inputs include a d-pad, some control nubs, shoulder buttons and some normal buttons. The screen is also a touch screen, which saves on having a mouse – which is a big plus, one thing about the Eee’s and other notebooks I’ve used is they are just horrible for mouse control on the go.
It also should be a very competent media player – long battery life, and reasonably big screen (800×480, which is over 16:9 – the closest 16:9 is 800×450) I’m not sure how well it will cope scaling videos (if it is software based it might be a big slow, but some example youtube videos are pretty neat), but in any case it’ll be good to shove some videos on it and play them right away, I do intend to rip my DVD collection once I get it automated.
Finally, while I do not intend to do a great deal with it (but you never know) it will be capable of a full OS, browser and so forth (anything that can be recompiled for the ARM processor actually). Good in a pinch, I’m sure I’ll have it on me more often the my laptop since it is around the same size as a DS. This beats out any other media player at least 🙂 – the keyboard might not be great for this, but it’ll do I’m sure.
The only thing is it is a pre-order, it will probably be more then a month to get it (they’ve not started manufacturing – so likely two months), but I’m happy to support such a team of dedicated people. I did get told of the project when it was starting ages ago, and I’m impressed they’re almost done (since I entirely forgot about it!). A great little open source machine. 🙂
I’ll share my experiences when I get it. It does depend on community support, so hopefully will get what it needs 🙂