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Dragonbox Pyra - Linux open gaming handheld


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I originally found out about Ataribox and these forums from links over at the Dragonbox Pyra forums, which I've been casually following since 2015. I've noticed Pyra has been mentioned a few times at this site, but there's no thread for it yet.

 

It's a clamshell design gaming handheld with 720p resistive touchscreen on the top half and gaming controls plus keyboard on the bottom half. It runs Debian Linux on an OMAP5 system and is completely open to the user. It's being delivered to market slowly yet surely by the guy who rescued the OpenPandora project after its original backers abandoned it.

 

More info here: https://pyra-handheld.com/

 

I'm hellbent on getting one, but that European craftsmanship doesn't come cheap. Not to mention the people who supervise my finances say I need new living room furniture first. At this rate, the thing might actually be released by the time I can afford it. >_>

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I've followed the open source handheld movement for a while. I'm sure Dragonbox Pyra will be a hit with its fans but I can't help but feel like the utility of it is diminished now that the GPD Win exists.

 

IMO, linux handhelds existed because it wasn't feasible to make a true windows based handheld for a long time. Things have evolved since. Again, not saying this idea is going to fall flat on its face, but I would expect to see the support as proportional as you see with windows vs. linux users in the gaming space. I like ED, he's a great guy who knows how to work a project to completion. However, that sticker shock is real but I know it's necessary to keep the project realistic.

 

Also, correction- it was the creators who abandoned the original OpenPandora project, not the backers who waited years for their units.

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"European craftsmanship" heh heh heh. These aren't Swiss watches. What is it about this device that appeals to you, in a way that Android, Windows, iOS, or Chrome OS doesn't?

 

If I were to spend $400+ on a handheld device, I'd want it to be from a manufacturer who could help me fix or replace it when something breaks. The track record of these guys suggests that the buyer would be on his or her own, with no ready replacement parts or units available -- if/when this thing actually ships. I'd also like the specs to be a little more forward-leaning than this. The Pandora was interesting but underpowered and overpriced by the time it came out. Pyra looks to be on the same track.

 

Agreed with StopDrop about GPD Win, though it's a different market since it's running proprietary Windows software.

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What is it about this device that appeals to you, in a way that Android, Windows, iOS, or Chrome OS doesn't?

 

Well, the community for one thing. Pandora had a legion of programmers and content creators get behind it that made sure it had all the software you could ever want. Pyra looks like it's retaining most of those guys, with over 1000 preorders already on the books and discussion at the forums being pretty lively.

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I looked at the project page for the first time in a while -- it's more expensive than I remember and thicker/chunkier, too. I had remembered it being more like $400 (it's more than $600) and more like a 3DS than a brick. Yeah, the usual open-source stuff should run fine, but a person could get a very nice mainstream laptop for that kind of money.

 

Maybe I'd feel more excited about it if netbooks weren't so cheap, ubiquitous, and capable. I have an HP Stream 11 I'm fond of as a dedicated retro toy, it cost me $70 shipped from eBay, it's big enough to have a real keyboard and screen, but small enough to almost be almost as portable as a Pyra, and it can run pretty much anything from GOG without hassles. If it breaks, I'll get a $100 Asus craptop and keep on trucking without worries. I could put Debian on it but there's more fun software on Windows.

 

I wish I shared your enthusiasm. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only mainstream person on a site full of Atari jaguar fans around here. ;-)

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Well, the community for one thing. Pandora had a legion of programmers and content creators get behind it that made sure it had all the software you could ever want. Pyra looks like it's retaining most of those guys, with over 1000 preorders already on the books and discussion at the forums being pretty lively.

 

Yes. This.

 

The Pandora community is the reason to get into Pyra, it pretty much justifies the high cost of admission. Imagine if all the regular users here on AtariAge owned the same handheld console, that's the community they have and it produces jaw dropping results. They were doing handheld N64 and Dreamcast emulation years before anyone else could, back then that sort of stuff was unthinkable. You have to remember they started this in an era when most people were still using flip phones.

 

I know that was many moons ago and sadly the crowded handheld market is squeezing Pyra out faster than they can finish it. Android has come a long ways. Back when I started playing with open source handhelds I thought it would be an all out brawl between Android and Linux. But because I was glued to the open source forum I didn't realize Android was taking off like a rocket and leaving us in the dust. There's been a lot of progress in Android and Windows emulation but again, that's not why people buy the Pandora/Pyra.

 

Also, ED is one of the few creators who would give his customers the shirt off his back. If it were any other project I would have said this is vaporware and your money is gone, but ED carries a ton of credibility. I have full confidence he will deliver on his promises.

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I got burned bad on the Pandora, so I wouldn't get one of these even if it was the greatest handheld ever invented. I realize it wasn't ED's fault, but still, bleh.

 

(Still have it if anyone wants one. Never even unwrapped the thing because it just irritates me.)

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Well, the community for one thing. Pandora had a legion of programmers and content creators get behind it that made sure it had all the software you could ever want. Pyra looks like it's retaining most of those guys, with over 1000 preorders already on the books and discussion at the forums being pretty lively.

The Pandora......yes I remember now. The device I spent close to $400 on that I never recieved. I'll never buy anything from these guys again. So I've got zero interest in the Pyra.

 

PS- Ed is a saint and I have nothing bad to say about him.

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I got burned bad on the Pandora, so I wouldn't get one of these even if it was the greatest handheld ever invented. I realize it wasn't ED's fault, but still, bleh.

 

(Still have it if anyone wants one. Never even unwrapped the thing because it just irritates me.)

 

Oh man, I would be interested in that Pandora, but my current money is all being saved toward new living room furniture. :-(

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I just noticed it's Punisher's birthday, he's a great moderator, and he never received the Pandora he wanted. thanatos, are you thinking what I'm thinking?

 

Actually, I wouldn't blame you for auctioning it, Pandoras have a following that make them more valuable than you might think.

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I got burned bad on the Pandora, so I wouldn't get one of these even if it was the greatest handheld ever invented. I realize it wasn't ED's fault, but still, bleh.

 

(Still have it if anyone wants one. Never even unwrapped the thing because it just irritates me.)

 

Burned how? Sounds like they delivered it ... what was the problem? Too late? Something else?

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Pay more money to get what I already paid for.

 

Ah, this makes more sense now.

 

* The payment for the preorder is a DOWNPAYMENT! The final payment will NOT be necessary before the device is ready to be shipped. If you'd like to pay more upfront, please add a shop voucher to your order which you can then use when the final payment is needed. The downpayment as well as the vouchers are WITHOUT VAT.

 

I'm sure it's well-intentioned, but their pre-order FAQ is full of weasel words that would make me uncomfortable about supporting this project. The fact that they take Bitcoin but not PayPal is troublesome as well.

 

Q: Weren't you the one who screwed up the Pandora??

A: No. I was part of the original Pandora team, yes but I actually didn't do the calculations or handle the production, I only took care about the community.

When the UK company (OpenPandora Ltd.) gave up, I decided to try to keep going and took care of the production, which has then worked flawlessly.

So I'm basically the one who lead the Pandora into a stable production run from a previous disaster... The same company which was producing the Pandora from then on will also produce the Pyra.

 

Ouch.

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I'm sure it's well-intentioned, but their pre-order FAQ is full of weasel words that would make me uncomfortable about supporting this project. The fact that they take Bitcoin but not PayPal is troublesome as well.

 

Well, that's not our fault. PayPal doesn't allow preorders or crowdfunding, so we can't offer that payment method for the Pyra.

Same for Everdrives, as those are forbidden items by PayPal...

 

And all the other payments you can use are the standard ones you can use in our shop as well.

 

Not sure what the problem with the pre-order FAQ is... I was trying to make everything as clear as possible, but if you find anything that can be improved, let me know.

 

I just want to make it clear that we're no huge company, so any money paid here could be gone if something goes badly wrong.

It was the same with the Pandora and as you saw here, some people got burnt... so I just want to make it clear to everyone that a risk exists here as well.

 

As with any other crowdfunded devices made by a small team: Only use money you don't urgently need.

 

You can be sure I'll try my best, but that doesn't mean it will work out as it should.

I really didn't like how the Pandora was handled... but that was out of my hands until the very end :(

Edited by EvilDragon17
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I think the good thing about Pyra is that you can track the whole development process through ED's posts on the Pyra forums. He's already assembled seven of the bad boys, so um, only 1000 and change to go. You can do it, ED!

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  • 8 months later...

Hey guys, just thought I'd let you know the Pyra project is still chugging along. All the hardware should be ready for mass production, but they're ordering a few more prototypes first.

 

https://pyra-handheld.com/boards/threads/silence.82662/

 

More importantly, I got my furniture and have started buying vouchers from ED's shop each week. Building up my Pyra savings, awww yeah.

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