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Pandora Introduction

Date: Tuesday 21st April 2015
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Regular readers of this website will know that I used to develop for the GP2X handheld back in around 2004. During the end of the life of the GP2X talk about a new system was touted by both the runners of the GP2X board and GPH themselves. GamePark Holdings, an offshoot from the original company who didn't like the direction that GamePark were heading, decided to make a PSP looking console called the XGP, [Specs: ARM 920T, Open GL supported graphics at 1.5 million polys a second, 480x272 TFT LCD screen, 64MB DDR SDRAM], which failed to materialise. The runners of the GP2X board, however, developed the Pandora – which is how I've managed to complete some of these blog posts. In fact, most of this will be written on my commute to work, largely thanks to the full keyboard, a 10 hour battery and Libre Office!

The ill-fated XGP

I remember eagerly waiting in anticipation for the Pandora to come out, as the years went by, and watched it trip and stumble as the problems kept trying to stop it from being another vaporware project that people would talk about for years to come. But no, this device was showing it's determination to succeed. The Pandora finally came out in May 2008 to some moderate success, but for many they had dropped out either because of the cost or due to how long the device took to get developed.

For me though, the cost was a factor that I couldn't ignore – I was earning too little to even contemplate buying it. So, again, the years went by and eventually (6 years later) I got an opportunity to see if the device was still available, thanks to an ex-boss who tried to diddle me out of money but didn't succeed in fooling the Employment Tribunal case. Luckily, the device was still available and was going through the last run, not only that, the Pandora was split into 3 options: Pandora Classic, Pandora Rebirth (same as Classic but with extra memory) and the 1Ghz Edition. Unfortunately, I was unable to get hold of the 1Ghz Edition as that had sold out pretty quickly but the Rebirth was still available! I bought that including some extra items such as, a carry case, a 64GB SD card – which I've only half filled - and a signed box by the creator himself, which all came to about £320.

"including one guy who exclaimed “How the fuck are you playing X-Com on that?”"

Waiting for the delivery was extremely exciting and nerve wracking but became even more so as the delivery day dawned. I had asked for it to be delivered to the office as I didn't want to miss the delivery and spend another day waiting. The item was due “at the end of the day” which worried me even more as I didn't know if they meant end of the working day or actual day - I crossed my fingers for the former. As the final hours ticked away the nervousness increased and finally I was told, via the tracking page, that the delivery..........could not be delivered as it was the wrong address.

I panicked.

Quickly I picked up the phone and dialed the number of the support team, as I managed to get through, the same work colleague that knew the device was coming and was outside at the time, plonked the delivery package next to me. I apologised to said support person for wasting their time and put down the phone.

The excitement returned as I opened the package, next to my work colleague, and there it was: the signed box, the packaged Pandora and the other extras.

Finally, it was mine!

Look at it! Just LOOK AT IT! :D

The past few months with the device I've enjoyed every minute of it, it's made work commutes far less boring. Not only that, on those commutes, I've had quite a few people ask me about it, including one guy who exclaimed “How the fuck are you playing X-Com on that?”

To show you what the device is capable of, I will be putting up posts on segments that the device can do i.e. a blog just on how it handles 8-bits and another on the 16-bits etc. These will include videos that I've captured from the device now that I have EZCap and the Pandora's TV out cables.

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