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danboid
For the last year or two it seems that one of the main topics of discussion on this board has been the arrival of new PDA's and UMPC's that might be a worthy Z replacement. Although some of these units have offered some superior specs, they'd always fall short somehow ie no clamshell, no Linux support, inferior screen or something.

Well, thankfully it would seem our calls for a REAL Z replacement have finally been answered with PANDORA (is this the first female computer since the Amiga??) which is due to be released Spring 2008 for around £199 (they hope!). Check out these specs!

~800Mhz ARM CORTEX cpu
Clamshell design!
128MB RAM
On-board wifi
Linux/X11 as standard!
800x480 screen
USB2 host
7M poly/s 3D accel
A/V output
2 x SDHC slots
keyboard AND joypad

There you go! Pretty much everything we were hoping for in a new Zaurus but from a relatively unknown British company. Why has it took so long for someone to put something like this together when there have been so many suitable dev boards to base such a design upon for years? I'm just hoping the build quality of these things can match the Z, if they manage that at £199 I'm sure it'll be a HUGE success and could well be the device to break Linux open to much wider, more mainstream audience?

http://pandora.bluwiki.org/
xjqian
keyboard looks horrible. Build quality (plastic?) and battery life are my concerns.
Dromede
Oh my god, that thing looks horrible. The specs are nice but i don't want to be seen even touching that thing. ohmy.gif
And yes, the keyboard looks awful too.
Snappy
Could be promising, but the color combo is killing ... literally! ... except for maybe the full black model. The other color combo looks too kiddie. ohmy.gif

No info on size and weight though, so it's hard to tell. How does it stack against the eeepc, nanobook etc. Or even the kohjinsha? With its 4.3" LCD, size wise, it should be smaller, maybe a little larger than the Z and a little smaller than the eeepcs. But gosh, do I find the THICK bezel distracting ... sad.gif

Overall, too toyish for its own good. smile.gif
Dromede
dammit, those specs are awesome. But i hope they change the design, the units on the images are rendered so i hope that it's just a mockup design. maybe we should point them to our community, i bet that a lot of people would buy their unit if they can redesign the thing into a more general handheld computer not just a gaming console.
jfv
Is it by the same people who makes the GP2X? It looks like it's aimed at gamers.
Capn_Fish
http://www.engadget.com/2007/12/20/gp2x-co...dubbed-pandora/

Looks like it, but its keyboard looks horrible! Hopefully the final version will be much better.
danboid
Oh dear!

OESF is NOT impressed with the Pandora so far it would seem! I really expected a much more positive reaction from what is unquestionably the greatest hope we have of getting a proper Z successor any time soon.

Opinions on it have been mixed from the GP2X community but thankfully that isn't the FINAL design, but I don't think its going to change to drastically from what it is at the mo- which I think is a good thing as I really like it (apart from the missing keys..)

Everybody interested in using it as a PDA / micro-laptop device has demanded they correct the sinful omission of dedicated TAB, CTRL and ALT keys, and those who want it more for games want an extra pair of shoulder buttons for perfect PSX emulation so I should imagine they'll at least put these right.

There's heated discussion on this device going on over at the GP2X forums so you guys should join in!

http://www.gp32x.com/board/index.php?showforum=61
tg
There are some really ugly designs out there (to me I especially hate the split keyboard models).
But this one is honestly giving all of them run for their money (as far as looks are concerned for sure).
If this is our best hope for new Z then we are a very sad bunch of losers (this even makes a Vaio UX look attractive and I never though I'd see a device that would make me say that).
Personally I think our current best hope is something like OQO3 - whenever that comes out. I know it will be >$2000 with windows and sliding keyboard instead of clam - but at least it will be x86 and support regular linux (and I honestly don't see anything more promising on the horizon regardless of price - at least nothing in pocket size).
I would love to be wrong or get a huge surprise by Apple - some type of 5" OSX tablet would be a dream (but of course it would have to have keyboard and we all know chances of that happening are probably less than even seeing Apple mouse with 2 real buttons).
nilch
Oh no, not another hope of a Zaurus replacement and another dissapointment ?
Oh yes, it is, another hope dashed again. unsure.gif


Capn_Fish
Perhaps v2.0 will be better (or the non-mock-up).
adf
I LIKE it. I spent a few hours today trying to get my wifi (atheros 5007EG) working on a laptop (x86--or really AMD64) in Gutsy (everything just works, right?) with no success. Seein someone that is trying to release ANYHING that is intended to run Linux natively is kind of a relief. If this iteration of this device doesn't quite suit--n o sweat, we can't buy 'em yet anyway. Since Shrp doesn't seem to want to continue with Zaurus evolution, that leaves only Nokia with a similar device that can actually be purchased-- and these guys, and openmoko with some plans and som dev releases (I realize opnmoko is furhter along). Good for the pandora team--I hope they get rich and their devices become as ubiquitous as ipods, and I hope it runs real debian, or ubuntu.
danboid
So, apart from me and ADF, nobody likes it because it's UGLY!?!

Now I'm not pretending it's a landmark piece of computer hardware design but come on! You'd think this was an Apple forum for girls! Is the Zaurus really that much better looking than this? Not in my eyes. In fact, I have never given two pings about what my computers look like, just as long as they do what I want and do it reliably I'm happy.

OQO has a real bad track record - just ask Meanie about 'em! No x86 based solution can compare to ARM for Mhz/mA so its still the best for portable devices like this.

I reckon pretty much every one of you who's been dissing this because it looks ugly will actually end up buying one and loving it to bits- there is nothing else this good on the horizon. Openmoko is cool but thats a FOSS alternative to the iPhone, not the Zaurus, and it's not as powerful or feature-packed as Pandora. I don't want to sound like I'm knocking openmoko though, I wish it the best and I may even buy an openmoko phone myself (after I've got myself a Pandora!)
tg
QUOTE(danboid @ Dec 23 2007, 03:50 AM) *
So, apart from me and ADF, nobody likes it because it's UGLY!?!

Is the Zaurus really that much better looking than this?

OQO has a real bad track record - just ask Meanie about 'em! No x86 based solution can compare to ARM for Mhz/mA so its still the best for portable devices like this.


I totally disagree and think Zaurus is absolutely beautiful - still the best looking pocked computer I have ever seen.
By the way, I do agree that OQO has a bad track record and it is why I did not buy one so far - but it is a true micro pc and does not look bad - so to me is the only thing out
there right now I would currently consider instead of Zaurus.
If they get the heat under control (and replace the noisy fan) next model could be something special (also with 64GB SSD instead of current 32GB).
One thing that gives me hope about OQO is that their new CEO is very active on the oqotalk forum and seems to be listening and really taking customer
input - we'll see what happens but there is some reason for optimism...

fpp
Personally I don't give a damn if it's ugly or not - just as long as it's functional, practical and usable.

The hardware specs look OK to me (provided they get the keyboard right of course), but that's the easy part.

The real problem, as always in the mobile Linux space, will be the OS and software.

As someone said, this has its roots in gaming machines. If it doesn't support something versatile and mature enough out of the box (like the Nokia tablets' Maemo environment), it will be Zaurus-land all over again : an official, vendor-supported OS that doesn't quite fit the bill for PDA users (in this case, a shell to launch emulators and games), and a dozen community projects launched to fill in the gaps, none of them with a hope of reaching end-user readiness some day...
Capn_Fish
I donn't care if it's ugly, but that keyboard looks horrible!
Chero
This one already looks a bit better :
The black version

Now
- integrate bluetooth (which will never happen)
- use the psion or the hp-jornada-720 keyboard
- make the screen bigger (borders are too thick)
- use another cpu

for those who are interested : gpe for gp2x already exists

ZDevil
The first impression of the pics:

Terrible keyboard layout.
There seems to be almost no key travel.
The number keys are curiously separated from the rest of the keyboard by the gamepad. It would be inconvenient to keep stretching my fingers (which?? rolleyes.gif) and moving my fingers back and forth between the number and the letter keys.
Not enough function keys (ctrl, alt, shift, meta, etc)... How much can you do under Linux? It is still very awkward to use even if the game buttons can be mapped to make up for this.

Look:
Not sexy at all. It's looks more like a cocktail of many things but doesn't look very tasty. The "Wow" factor is not there.

Attractive hardware specs do not automatically give you a good design.

How big would be the difference if Sharp was making it instead?
adf
QUOTE(ZDevil @ Dec 23 2007, 05:02 PM) *
The first impression of the pics:

Terrible keyboard layout.
There seems to be almost no key travel.
The number keys are curiously separated from the rest of the keyboard by the gamepad. It would be inconvenient to keep stretching my fingers (which?? rolleyes.gif) and moving my fingers back and forth between the number and the letter keys.
Not enough function keys (ctrl, alt, shift, meta, etc)... How much can you do under Linux? It is still very awkward to use even if the game buttons can be mapped to make up for this.

Look:
Not sexy at all. It's looks more like a cocktail of many things but doesn't look very tasty. The "Wow" factor is not there.

Attractive hardware specs do not automatically give you a good design.

How big would be the difference if Sharp was making it instead?

If sharp were making it, we'd know that it would be almost entirely unsupported. With Pandora, we at least don't know that yet wink.gif
tg
It does not matter how well it is supported when it looks like some kind of a sick mix between a gaming device and mini laptop wannabe for visually impaired (otherwise why such ridiculous keyboard with huge letters).
Successfull pocket devices must be functional but also attractive (because geeks and early adopters have more taste than average Joe Sixpack) and the best way to achieve this is to go with some type of minimalistic design. Sharp really nailed the form factor with their clam devices and it is a crime they screwed up on the software side and eventually bailed out of this competition. Nobody since clam Z series has come even close to producing a good pocket laptop/pda. Even today, if Sharp would only add evdo (or something similar for always on fast internet) to the most recent Z clam device the result would be light years away from everything else that is on the market.
cycle_55
I've been watching this discussion for a few days and have been trying not to comment. Sorry guys I have to say it.....anyone who thinks this is going to replace a Z has never seen or used a Z
smile.gif . All the best for the New Year.
nilch
The Looks vs Functionality debate is a very old one. There's one camp who will go for function over form and there will be the 2nd camp who will favour looks over function (Vertu camp ?).

But thankfully there's a third camp - the majority, who want a harmonious balance of form and function together in one 'sexy looking' and 'powerful' device.

So there goes, this Pandora caters to only the 1st camp. And thats why I think this will be a niche device, not even for geeks like most Zaurus users.
speculatrix
the pictures are rendered from a CAD drawing, so I would guess this is still vapourware; however, I hope they release it, and if it is ugly then make a refined version or new case! any new device that's an affordable linux-hackers' paradise is to be welcomed.
geeko
The specs are awesome, but the keyboard looks terrible.
the_oak
Looks could be improved greatly by just making all buttons and keys same color as the case, so they don't glare out. And perhaps shrinking those 2 huge buttons.

Tab key looks like shift+E. It really needs control and alt keys too. Something that the Pandora has, but I have always missed on my 6000 is a \ and escape key. (Is that a \ over the V key and a / over the Y key? A right shift key would be a nice addition.

Other than that, the size looks like a little bigger than a Nintendo DS (good). Maybe a little squarish, but looks like a great start to me.
desertrat
I can put up with the crappy look of the keyboard, but without a "full" keyboard (ie at least as many keys as the Z) then it's not a Z replacement.
relei
Hello,

that is a device for gamers it comes from the gp2x scene. I knew one of the guy, how has made this device and I must say it is a very interesting project. The techniques specification are very good, bud you must realise it is not plant as a replacement for the zaurus. Also you must recognize it is the very first rendering of this device, nothing is fix. For interesting people look for German on forum.gp2x.de and English www.gp32x.com.

Greedís

Rene

PS: Sorry for my bad English.
relapse808
I personally like it. I dont think the actual hardware layout is very attractive, but I do think the specs are. I also like the built in gamepad and personally I buy a lot of these handheld devices for emulation and gaming purposes.
Frederic Bergeron
Not a Z replacement as you cannot even type the letter Z on this funny keyboard :-)
teh.sean
I think it looks pretty awesome as a GAME platform. As a PORTABLE LINUX COMPUTER, it is severly lacking. The best point made here was to use the 'no space' keyboards of the psion and later jornada. You would think that they would have figured that out by now. Other than the keyboard spacing, I think it looks nice (the black model). I'd be interested to see how well this markets. This would be a nice replacement for my PSP, as I currently use that for most of my classic emulation. I haven't set up my Z to game yet, but I tried out the right side navigation buttons, and they didn't seem very usable.
Tom61
Here's a video of the prototype running a slideshow, compared to a Nintendo DS Lite:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=1WOMFrOCti4&feature=related

Is anyone following the Pandora scene? I'm curious, do they plan on a better keyboard or if they've finally given in and added a second set of shoulder buttons in the final model? How's the software side coming along?
Jiba
I agree that the design is weird : the case is too massive, and the keyboard and joypad mix is surprising... But actually it is more surprising than really ugly.

The keyboard is put at the bottom of the device, and therefore it will probably be difficult to use it intensively without putting the device on a table, however, when put on a table, it should not be a problem -- in particular if the keyboard has the same quality as the zaurus one.

Latest images (http://openpandora.org/pandoranewkeys.png) show that there is space added between the keys -- good point !

My conclusion : I think it worth at least a try...
adf
QUOTE(Jiba @ Jun 3 2008, 02:40 PM) *
I agree that the design is weird : the case is too massive, and the keyboard and joypad mix is surprising... But actually it is more surprising than really ugly.

The keyboard is put at the bottom of the device, and therefore it will probably be difficult to use it intensively without putting the device on a table, however, when put on a table, it should not be a problem -- in particular if the keyboard has the same quality as the zaurus one.

Latest images (http://openpandora.org/pandoranewkeys.png) show that there is space added between the keys -- good point !

My conclusion : I think it worth at least a try...

I'm definitely watching pandora, though I'm not sure what connection options it has
Capn_Fish
Didn't it say Wi-Fi/Bluetooth somewhere?
bozo
WiFi, no Bluetooth
canguy247
Actually, bluetooth is going to be included. Apparently they got a very good deal on the radios..

Canguy
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