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#338476 The day the Pandora goes even more open

Posted by EvilDragon on 31 May 2014 - 11:12 PM

As promised, it's the Day of the Pandora today!

 

Why? Well, some guessed it - because the Pandora becomes more open today.

 

Thanks to the designers Michael Weston (PCB) and Dave Cancilier (Case), the case and full hardware design files and documentation (schematics, gerber, BoM, etc.) have been opened up for non-commercial use.

 

Whether you want to use it to repair your unit, modify it, create your own 3D printed case or are just interested to find out what's needed to create such a device, that's totally up to you.

Be sure to read the licenses and contact me or the designers directly if you want to use it for commercial purpose.

 

You can find all files here.

(feel free to direct-link them on the Wiki or other sites, but please include the licenses there as well)

 

And to celebrate the only OpenSource handheld with opened hardware (until the Pyra is out), I've made some limited Mega packages as well!

 

You can either get a Rebirth or 1GHz Pandora package with the following contents for a really awesome price:

  • Pandora 1GHz or Rebirth handheld, incl. AC Adaptor (incl. EU, AU, UK and US plug) and battery
  • Official Carry Case
  • TV Out Cable
  • Replacement battery (2009)
  • 2x XStylus
  • Fully populated (except for the nubs), but broken PCB, signed by EvilDragon (collectors item)
  • Fast 32GB SDHC Class 10 card (EMTEC)

Available at the DragonBox shop, only in June.

Don't worry about the stock - more units are coming this week.

Additionally, we've added cheap batteries from the first batch to the shop. They might have a bit less capacity, but are fully tested and working.

 

This is a nice preparation for the Pyra, which will also have an opened up case design and schematics available from the very beginning.

 

Spread the word, let everyone know the difference between your normal commercial device and a community-powered, opened handheld :)




#300770 Christmas, the past and the future (2013-12-24)

Posted by EvilDragon on 24 December 2013 - 05:11 AM

Well, it's christmas time and most of you here will probably spending some quiet days with their family.

I wish you all a very merry christmas - and as the end of the year is approaching, I'd like to look back into the past year and also a bit into the future.

 

1. Pandora - it was still a rollercoaster ride - with a happy ending

 

The first few months were awesome. Production was swiftly moving, everyone could get a Pandora from stock, I finally delivered the units to all my remaining preorder customers and even all 1GHz customers from Craig got their unit.

 

You think it's weird that Pandora production works flawlessly?

Sure, that's probably why we had issues with the LCDs for the next batch that was delivered in June.

440 LCDs, where half of them had dust below the touchscreen and a lot of those had calibration issues.

So 400 of those had to go back to be fixed... and that sure took a while, as the manufacturer needed to find out what went wrong.

 

So in August, we were running out of Pandoras because of that. We had a few older screens left, but you really couldn't call that "mass production" at all.

In September, we got 60 LCDs for testing - they were working fine on a quick test and all assembled into Pandoras and shipped...

Only to find out shortly after that those touchscreens autodestruct when you move the stylus at the edge of the screen.

Well, another two months until that issue is fixed...

 

And finally, in December, production has resumed and I've got 400 fully working screens!

 

So Pandoras are now back in stock, production is back to normal. Finally :)

 

 

2. Craig and his customers

 

That really was the saddest part of the whole Pandora story so far.

I can fully understand that Craig had a huge load of stress on his back, and it's sad to see where everything has gone.

But he really caused a mess, with the 1GHz preorders 2012 and also with the amount of remaining customers in 2013.

 

After I finally got the results of the survey Craig created for all remaining customers, it turned out that there are A LOT more customers left than there should. I still have no idea where that huge number comes from, but i don't even want to think about it.

It's more important to moved forward and help everyone here.

 

Wow, and it's really really awesome how helpful you all are!

 

While I can only offer Pandoras at production costs, you, the community, help out with donations as well.

 

So here is a little statistic:

 

  • Customers who used the upgrade possibility so far: 92
  • Number of Pandoras funded with the help of donations: 50 (36 have not used that voucher yet, they were probably waiting for the Pandoras to get back in stock)
  • Total numbers of remaining customers from Craig (according to the survey): 445

 

So we're getting somewhere - let's continue to help everyone. Thanks for all your donations :)

 

 

3. Awesome software releases

 

2013 was a REALLY good year softwarewise.

Not only have huge quantities of new software been released for the Pandora, there also were some high quality releases - from all points of views.

 

Little but useful programs like MasterControl or the recent SixPair-Controller daemon, unique and useful applications like Streak's WIP PIM Manager, awesome emulator releases and updates (who would've thought we could get a fullspeed AGA Amiga, most-of-the time fullspeed Nintendo DS, and a very playable PSP emulator?) and also a lot of games, from ports for classic games like the Jedi Knight saga, to ports of Indie games and also completely new releases.

 

There's so much to do on the Pandora it won't get boring... I can barely keep up with playing everything I'd like to!

 

 

 

4. A peek into the Future

 

The Pandora sure still has a lot of potential. I'm pretty sure we'll still see a lot of new releases and updates.

 

But still, most of you already know I am working on a successor. More details will be revealed overtime.

I cannot tell when it will be finished - based on the whole Pandora story, you know how long that could take...

But let's hope it will be smoother run :)

 

In case you're wondering how this will be financed:

Well, you know I got money from investors for the remaining Pandora orders, right? That money will be back when all remaining Pandoras have been sold - and will then be used for the development of the successor.

 

I can fully fund the full design and production for both the unit and the case up to the final prototyping.

Only the mass production itself will need a lot more money than I have - but there are various possibilities to get that as well.

Maybe Kickstarter, maybe Preorders with part-payment, maybe something completely different.

 

Well, we'll see, but I'm sure we'll find a way to produce it once the prototype is running... but this could still be far, far away in the future.

 

 

 

5. Some special thanks

 

Well, finally, I'd like to give some special thanks.

Of course, a huge thanks to all the community and developers, as you keep everything going!

 

Special thanks goes to notaz - he helps both with low-level stuff and the OS. And he'll also be helping with the Pyra :) Also to skeezix and DJWillis - they might not have much time recently, but they're available when I really need them. And c4a is simply awesome :D

 

More special thanks go to Fatih. Many might've forgotten about him already, some have never heard of him. He's also one of the guys behind the Pandora - and he's still helping out a lot (e.g., he's the one sourcing stuff like the AC Adaptors or LCDs, and he's also the one who dealt with the chinese manufacturer to fix our LCDs). Yep, he's still helping out, even though most of you don't know this.

 

Of course, MWeston is not to be forgotten. He's the one who designed the Pandora PCB, and he still helps out each time I have some technical or manufacturing questions. Thanks - and I hope you really have a real awesome christmas time with your family!

 

Not to forget: Linux-SWAT, fantomid and p'tiSeb for taking care of the Tolouse Game Show and of course Link and ekianjo for distributing Pandoras in US and Japan as well.

 

There are many many more which I didn't mention by name here... my investors, the moderators, all the devs.

 

Well - we sure don't have to space here to mention them all. But I'm really happy to have such an awesome community backing me, helping as good as they can.

With guys like you, I KNOW the Pyra will be awesome, and even though it might be a hard way once again, I'm totally sure it'll be worth it!

 

Thanks - and all of you, have a very merry christmas, and a happy new year!




#367167 The Pyra Puzzle

Posted by EvilDragon on 14 December 2014 - 10:15 AM

Whew, I can't understand so much time has passed again already since I did any newspost - time sure flies when you got a lot of work to do!

 

So, anyways, here's today's update... I hope I don't forget anything, as there's plenty to tell you.

 

 

1. The Nubs

 

Well, as mentioned last time:

We'll order a bit more than 10,000 of the current Nubs so we got enough for the first 5000 Pyras.

After that, we can either use the smaller ones, have high enough order quantities that the current nubs are being produced again or find someone else to produce them (as mentioned, it's basically just a magnet that moves around - no electronics inside).

 

If the first 5000 Pyras sell fast, we can easily order high enough quantities of the nubs to continue their production.

If they sell slower, we've got plenty of time to find a replacement

 

So either way, we'll find a solution after that.

 

One good thing: The smaller nub would fit out of the box - the height form of the pin is EXACTLY the same - so the case wouldn't need to be modified if we'd use that.

(You can see that in the following pictures):

 

Attached File  Nubs1.JPG   94.16KB   131 downloadsAttached File  Nubs2.JPG   143.6KB   140 downloads

 

I'll test the small one myself on Tuesday, but I don't think we'd want that - the travel distance really is too small.

 

 

2. A puzzling experience

 

The PCB layout was actually more work than Nikolaus expected.

A LOT more work. Keeping the PCB down to four layers and fitting everything into the small space of the PCB is a complex puzzle.

Nevertheless, each day, less issues are left. And he's still positive that we can get finished, unpopulated PCB just before christmas.

This means though that we won't get a populated one before christmas (unless GC wants to work on December 24th, but I doubt that), but shortly after christmas.

Still a huge step - and still the most complicated thing in the whole Pyra-Creation process.

 

After that, it's time to layout the CPU PCB - but that's easy compared to the mainboard, as there's more space (and layers), so that should work out a lot faster.

 

Want an example of the puzzles Nikolaus has to work on each day?

Here you go:

 

Attached File  pcb.jpg   282.46KB   141 downloads

 

Inside of that picture are at least 3 major and 8 small rule infringements. If we keep it like that, the PCB could not be produced reliably, would get shortcircuits or similar issues.

Moving traces around could lead to other rule infringements - so this is quite a puzzle (high-level Sokoban, eh?)

Each issue needs about 5 - 30 minutes to solve, so it's possible, just takes a loooot of time.

And the more you solve, the more complicated it gets for the remaining ones... fun.

 

Someone should create a puzzle game on the Pandora based on that :D

 

 

3. The case

 

According to the case designer, I should receive the case design files with all requested changes tomorrow.

I won't believe it until I get it (as it usually ALWAYS takes longer than expected), but it shouldn't take much longer.

 

The battery we'll use will probably be a bit wider than the Pandora one, so the case needs a bit of a change here.

The Stylus will probably get a tiny bit thinner and all four screws will be hidden inside the battery compartment (which is nice).

 

With a small adapter you can also use a Pandora battery, which is great as well.

 

I should get two different versions of the case with different shoulder button designs.

I'll let you know and show you renderings once I get the design files, that's for sure :)

 

 

4. AC Adaptor and LCD Cables

 

Fatih is looking for various AC Adaptors. Basically, it's a normal USB plug (with 2A) with replaceable plug, similar to the Pandora (so it works with EU, UK, US and AU plugs).

There are various manufacturers for that and we'll get different samples for testing.

 

The LCD Cable design has been finished as well and Fatih is getting a quotation for it.

Each trace is wider than on Pandora's cable, the traces are redundant and there's a bit more space to the edge. Also, all edges are rounded - which prevents tears directly at the edges (which was an issue with a lot of broken Pandora cables as well).

 

The cable also doesn't have any electronics on, so it will be a LOT cheaper (Pandora's cable was 10 EUR production cost each).

 

These enhancements should reduce the risk of breaking LCD cables to a minimum (of course, you can never reduce that to 0 - everything can break in the world).

 

 

5. Software

 

We now added key signing to our repository, tweaked the scripts a bit more and are now able to create working rootfs to our likings.

 

If anyone got an OMAP5 devboard: I'll post a link and instructions on how to install it soon, so anyone with a devboard can try it out and help us improving the default setup and tools.

 

 

I THINK that's all for now - but as mentioned, so much happened, so I might've forgotten something - but feel free to ask me if you have any other questions.

 




#353236 No time for a break after GamesCom

Posted by EvilDragon on 26 August 2014 - 03:40 PM

Finally, a new newspost!

I have to admit, it took a while since I posted some news - which was simply because GamesCom preparation, the GamesCom itself and catching up with my shop AFTER the GamesCom took quite some time.

Still, Pyra development has not halted, so here are some news.

But first of all, since I just mentioned GamesCom, I wish to send a big welcome to everyone who joined our boards or newsletter after visiting us there.
I hope you will have a lot of fun and excitement together with us.

Okay, on to the news...

1. GamesCom

The GamesCom was a huge success.
There were TONS of interested people and they were all amazed by the power the Pyra showed on our FullHD screen (well, we had multiple PSX and MegaDrive emulators running and still a responsive desktop at 1920x1080... - all fullspeed).

What most of the visitors found especially great is the replaceable CPU PCB. I was happy that most people love the idea having an upgradeable system instead of producing more and more electronical waste. These days companies tell you that you need at least one new smartphone each year... great that's not the common opinion :)

We had a few special guests there - LinuxSWAT was helping out again, but we also had ptitseb visiting during the weekend and notaz was even there the full time and was working there on the devboard.
They managed to get some games as well as Reicast and Mupen running, but those still need more optimization.

All in all, GamesCom was great - and the retro area was fun.


2. The LCD

We made various tests with the LCD from BOE, and we were really satisfied so far.
We tried Sonic 2 - famous on most mobile screens for flickering palmtrees and black ghosting of the rings in the sky.
Well, we couldn't see any ghosting and even the flickering was only visible if you knew what to look for.

We didn't have the rotator chip working with it yet and Nikolaus was on holidays (as you might remember), but he's now looking into it.
There are multiple devices out there using the rotator chip with exactly this one panel, so we know it'll work ;)

Additionally, we found the 720p resolution with 5" perfect for a Linux standard desktop.
While the default settings have small fonts and icons, they're still perfectly readable (I like it small), with the 1080p LCD, it was just unusably small.

We still have the Success panel to test, but the BOE one is already pretty good, and a LOT better than the Pandora LCD.
As soon as we have the rotator chip working, I'll make some nice videos for you.

I've already ordered a few samples together with touchscreens.


3. The software

notaz got the 3D driver to work together with fbturbo (which is a real fast, NEON-accelerated (read below) framebuffer driver for X).
The official TI driver uses DRM - which is okay for normal desktop usage, but with that, we can't use the framebuffer directly (which is where Pandoras SDL version gets the speed increase from).
So we definitely want to get an X driver working that offers framebuffer usage - and that's why we chose to use fbturbo.

As mentioned, the 3D driver is working already, but is still hardcoded to ask for DRM. This is something we'll try to fix, otherwise, all 3D games would need a patch.
Another (small) downside is that the 3D driver only works in fulsscreen mode.

No big thing, as even apps like Blender can also run in fullscreen mode and games are usually played in fullscreen mode anyways.
Still, we'll try to fix that as well.
If you really desperately need 3D with windows, you could theoretically switch to TIs DRM driver, as it works there.

We'll now concentrate on setting up standard Debian distribution with our own patches for the Pyra.



4. Batteries

I've received two different 6000mAh batteries from two different manufacturers.
One is thicker, one is wider. Both have been sent to the case design team. They'll check which one can be easier implemented into our current case design.


5. The Case

Not much has happened here, as the company in Greece is closed for summer holidays.
I took the time to write down a list with current issues and a to-do-list which they'll work on when they're back in September.
It's not that much left to do, to be honest.

I'll continue tweaking the shoulder buttons and I'll also try Fusion_Powers design.


6. The hardware

It's time for testing the main PCB thoroughly, we also still need to add a Wifi chip.
Then it's time for the CPU PCB.
I'll keep you updated with more news here.


That's it for todays post.
Now that I catched up with everything, I hope to have more regular newsposts again.

Feel free to ask any questions here :)
 
UPDATE:

Just some quick correction, as we just discussed about that in IRC:

fbturbo is NOT using NEON as accelleration.
I misread that.

From the description (which can be found here: https://github.com/s...6-video-fbturbo
 

any ARM based system should see better
performance thanks to some additional optimizations (the elimination of
ShadowFB layer, ARM NEON/VFP code for dealing with uncached framebuffer
reads, automatic backing store management for faster window moves).


I misinterpreted that for: The ShadowFB layer had been eliminated and replaced with ARM NEON/VFP code.
But that's not the case, both are eliminated to speed up everything.

Sorry for the confusion.


#388318 Finishing up the hardware

Posted by EvilDragon on 20 June 2015 - 12:32 AM

We've made some good progress - so time again to make another summary :)
 
1. The Rotator Chip
 
The only issue left right now is that we got some tearing when using the rotator chip.
For those who don't know what that is: When writing to and reading from the framebuffer is not properly synchronized, the picture you can see of the LCD is from two different frames (i.e. top half frame 1, bottom half frame 2).
This gives an effect as if the screen is torn into two halfs when you got videos or games with fast movement.
 
To prevent this, you need to synchronize the OMAP5 with the SSD (rotator chip) so that the framebuffer is not being overwritten while it's being read.
 
This is a bit more software work than we thought. There's a special signal line from the SSD to the OMAP that is being used to synchronize both devices, but that only works in MIPI Command Mode, whereas we are running the OMAP5 using MIPI Video Mode.
So as a solution, we'd either need to change the existing driver somehow so that the TE line can be used in Video Mode as well OR try to use the OMAP5 in Command Mode instead of Video Mode.
 
We don't know yet which one of those two will be easier to achieve, but both of them might be a bit time consuming.
 
Nevertheless, the hardware itself is working fine, so Nikolaus now concentrates on the remaining hardware - fixing the software can happen while we're waiting for the mass production to start (or even afterwards).
 
So the display including the rotator works fine, but we currently have some tearing issues with fast moving content until we improved the driver.
 
 
2. The case
 
Basically, the case is finished.
I've printed the last revision and am just waiting for some final prototype boards to assemble everything - and once I confirm that everything fits, the real mold is being created.
I expect it to be finished about October.
 
Of course, as soon as I assemble it, I'll create a video of it!
 
 
3. The keyboard
 
The keyboard design is basically finished.
The normal keys will be surrounded by a bit of transparent silicone mat (but will be 0,1mm higher), which will give a nice feeling and also light up the key surroundings as well as the characters.
 
Attached File  keymat.jpg   96.74KB   104 downloads
 
The only exception will be the gaming buttons:
Here, the plastic of the buttons will be glued on top of the mat, so they feel like standard gaming buttons (yes, this has changed within the last few days).
 
Attached File  cap.jpg   1.75KB   130 downloads
 
Mold production here should start within the next week and will take approximately one month.
 
The means: Yep, there's no way I can run away from reading the keyboard layout threads anymore ;)
 
 
 
 
4. The hardware
 
Nikolaus was working on the rotator chip as well, to find out what was hardware and software related.
As you probably can imagine, fixing hardware later will be hard, but fixing software is possible :)
 
A week ago, Nikolaus restarted the work on the hardware.
Within this week, he created 106 traces within 15 hours work (so about 7 traces per hour).
 
Attached File  cpulayout.jpg   151.63KB   69 downloads
 
410 traces are left to be created - so if he continues in the same pace, the CPU board will be finished in about 15 days.
Could be a bit faster as well though (some non-critical traces could be made using the auto-router), but we'll see.
 
Our goal is to have the full hardware finished within July, so we actually have real prototypes ready to show at the GamesCom in August.
Yep, if you're visiting there, you might be able to play on a real Pyra prototype!
 
Attached File  DSC02309.JPG   80.64KB   68 downloadsAttached File  DSC02306.JPG   186.93KB   69 downloads
 
Shortly after that preorders will start (unless we find some major issue with the prototype) - with a lot of videos following.
 
Well, that's what we're planning anyways - let's hope we can keep that and it will work out!
 
Nikolaus also started to work on the e-SATA adaptor which plugs into our USB port for those who want to connect a SATA device to the Pyra.
 
Attached File  DSC02304.jpeg   287.85KB   67 downloads
 
Some good progress, I'd say :)
Hopefully back with more good news soon.



#351496 [Cancelled] Aluminium cases are being made!

Posted by EvilDragon on 15 August 2014 - 09:23 PM

I just wanted to let you know that I gave the green light for the aluminium case production.

 

I've got about 60 orders now and i wanted to order 20 myself to use them for brand new Pandoras.

Well, and I'm sure that the remaining 20 will easily be sold once the cases are available.

 

So work has already started on them :)




#344819 Main PCB V3 is finished!

Posted by EvilDragon on 13 July 2014 - 09:08 PM

After spending hours and hours and hours of time, Nikolaus finished V3 of the main PCB.

That PCB will be produced during this week and it will be ready for the Gamescom :)

 

It's almost the final main PCB revision and will be used to test all functions and find any remaining bugs.

If all goes well, V4 will be the one that is going to be used for the main production!

 

If you want to see the amount of traces needed to create that PCB... go ahead :)

(of course, when you are working on it, you don't need to see all traces at once ;))

 

Attached File  MainPCBV3.jpg   339.21KB   264 downloads

 

And if you want to see what's taking so long to design such a PCB... how to puzzle a PCB together, so that no traces get in the way of others.

Here is a small video. It's running at 10x speed - so you can imagine how much exhausting work this is!

 

 

Next for Nikolaus is to continue to work on the LCD drivers, so we can finally choose the LCD as well.

 

And what have I been doing?

After I got back from Montpellier, I started to work on multiple things at once.

T-Shirts and other merchandisings, soon to be available from my shop (probably sometimes August).

Preparing Gamescom, upgrading the server (yep, we moved to a completely new server - with only 30 minutes downtime).

And next up is setting up some GIT / Bugtracker-combined system so we can actively work on the OS and Kernel.

 

I need more time :D

 

Well, I hope I'll see as many of you on the GamesCom as possible!

And as usual: As soon as I've got more to post, I'll do that :)




#321168 Starcraft

Posted by notaz on 04 March 2014 - 08:31 PM

Awaken my child, and embrace the glory that is your birthright. Know that I am the Overmind; the eternal will of the Swarm, and that you have been created to serve me.

 
It's on the repo.
 
You'll need full installation of Brood War from PC with latest 1.16.1 patch applied. It also needs to have required files copied from CD (1.16.1 removed CD checks, but doesn't automatically install all required files):
- copy "INSTALL.EXE" from the StarCraft CD to your StarCraft folder and rename it to "StarCraft.mpq
- copy "INSTALL.EXE" from the StarCraft: Brood War CD to your StarCraft folder and rename it to "BroodWar.mpq"

You should try the game on PC without CD first, if that works, you're ready to copy the game's folder to pandora/appdata , the folder should be named "starcraft".


So a Starcraft port? Sort of..

The "no source, no port" rule is not completely true, you can get something similar (but not the same) as a port through static recompilation. Similar stuff was done several times by M-HT for some DOS games. The game was also converted for Android with somewhat similar approach.

So how does it work? The game was fully disassembled with IDA, then converted from x86 disassembly to C with my custom tools that I wrote as the project progressed, then compiled as a normal program and linked against ARM winelib (so the Win32 API is provided by ARM port of wine). Sounds easy? The hell not! I've started it sometime in autumn and was hoping to have something after a month or so, but it was far from working at the time of New Year. Then tried to target the Alive compo, but that slipped too. There were way too many problems and things that I did not expect.. Maybe I'll write about it someday. Would I do it with another game? Maybe not, let's just say "no source, no port" rule is always true and Windows games should be handled through emulation, static recompilation is possible but way too problematic in practice.

However in the end I think it works quite well, give it a try. It should be close to how "real" port would work, there is no emulation anywhere. There is a bit of overhead in 8bpp -> 16bpp conversion, but it's not too bad. The game likes to eat CPU even when it doesn't really need it, so it might make sense to underclock sometimes.

Known bugs in b6:

none

 

old bugs:
- custom scenarios are broken
- when playing as terran, attempting to land a building will crash the game
- first protoss mission (from expansion) crashes

Edit: wine is hacked a bit, I've pushed out the changes to github:
http://github.com/no...e/pandora_hacks




#385778 Feel the Power!

Posted by EvilDragon on 30 May 2015 - 12:01 AM

And here it is, as promised: The second part of my Pyra News post :)
 
 
1. The Hardware
 
Well, we had quite a few issues to solve which slowed things down a bit, but it seems the solution has been found.
I'll try to explain what happened and what took us four weeks to solve.
 
As you know, we were trying to get the Solomon (Rotator) chip to work.
This is not an easy task - there are quite a lot of timing settings between the OMAP5, the Solomon Chip and the Panel Driver which need to be properly setup and which even affect each others.
Calculating proper, usable values alone is quite a time consuming task, but it's even harder when you have a hardware issue you didn't really know about.. as you first need to find that out...
 
Well, without the rotator chip, the display works without any issues.
With the rotator chip included in the setup, we didn't really get a picture anymore - sometimes a bit of flickering, but nothing really.
Of course, we thought the timings were not properly done yet and tried to fix them... but without much success.
Nikolaus checked the hardware and found out that the voltage for the solomon chip was too low. So he started looking for the issue,
After some more tests, he found a quick workaround by adding some wires to the setup. Apparently the LCD cable and some traces were too thin for the power needed, which was a good guess.
With that workaround, the timings could be tried. Nikolaus managed to get a picture... but slightly shifted (as you can see at the picture).
 
Attached File  DSC02289.jpeg   84.17KB   73 downloads
 
However, Nikolaus needs to continue to work on the hardware, so I made a setup at home involving the OMAP5 devboard connected to the Pyra Mainboard and the LCD, a Pandora and a webcam.
notaz can use that setup to fiddle around with the LCD and see the result - and he got it to work stable and properly, no shift anymore.
That's for the unrotated image, but fully going through the Solomon chip, which is the most important step! Next step is to enable rotation and find the proper setup, but with the timings we already found out now, it should (hopefully) be not a too hard step.
 
In the meantime, Nikolaus made a lot more tests found the weaknesses and improved the setup to be A LOT more stable.
Since today he knows what needs to be changed to solve these power issues, and once that's done, he can finally finish the CPU Board.
So it took quite a while, but the important thing is that there's a solution :)
 
As we got all parts to populate the prototypes already, once the CPU Board layout has been finished, populating it should happen within short time frame.
 
 
 
2. Financing
 
The closer we get to the production, the more detailled our cost calculation is.
As promised, there's enough money to fund the full development - but we will not have the money to fund the full production.
Which is nothing to be surprised with - as we need to buy a lot of parts upfront in high quantities, we need about 500,000 EUR (half a million EUR!) for the first batch.
This is quite a bit of money (at least for us ;))
 
About half of that doesn't need to be paid before the production of the units is finished, which is great.
And I'll also try raising as much money upfront so that preordering will cost you as little money as possible!
 
There are multiple possibilities (looking for some more investors, getting a short-frame credit for the production run, the upcoming RetroPi2-project at Kickstarter, etc.)
 
I don't want to scare you, as we know we can do it (I managed to survive the Pandora!), but as financing the production is also part of the whole process, I thought I'd let you know that.
 
Well - and donations help as well, which I want to mention here.
As you might've noticed, we got a whopping 9000 EUR donation yesterday - THANKS A LOT to the sponsor :)
 
We'll have the next goal up within the next few days, as I'll get the accurate pricing for the case mold then.



#382628 Rotating random stuff

Posted by EvilDragon on 02 May 2015 - 05:27 PM

Yay, I finally found the time to post some news!
Upgrading my shop (www.dragonbox.de) and visiting the "Lange Nacht der Computerspiele" ("Long night of computer games") in Leipzig, presenting the Pyra besides organizing various sides of Pyra development surely took quite a bit of time.

Let's start with...

1. The Rotator chip

We've come a long way here, Nikolaus, notaz and the Solomon Tech team were working together and we're not too far away from having it working properly!
There are a lot of parameters that have to be set to make it work, but most of them are now set up properly.
The only thing we're still working on are the timing settings for the video stream.
Setting up the chip and rotation are already working properly!

You can see that on the pictures:
 

Attached File  DSC02227.JPG   156.65KB   84 downloadsAttached File  DSC02228.JPG   156.17KB   85 downloads

 

As mentioned, the video stream is not yet setup, so the display simply displays whatever random stuff is in the RAM of the rotator chip, but it's stable and the rotation is working properly as well.

Once the timing settings are correctly calculated and applied to the video stream, that chapter can be closed as well.

 

 

2. The LCD Cable

 

The LCD cable as well as the battery samples have arrived - unfortunately, we need to rework the cable a bit.

Connecting the panel leads to some video, but it's not stable and the display is flickering.

This is because it seems the traces are currently too weak for the power we need to send through them.
Nikolaus is currently measuring which traces need more width or thickness so everything gets through properly.

Apart from that, the cable looks and feels fantastic :)

Attached File  lcdbatterie.jpg   80.36KB   87 downloads

 

 

3. The Battery

 

The battery fits nicely and doesn't wiggle around as the Pandora battery (so no padding needed anymore).

We've not yet run extensive tests, but it provides power ;)

As it's from the same manufacturer as the Pandora battery, we don't expect any issues here, as the Pandora battery has proved to be quite awesome :)

 

 

4. Some Power issues

 

Not all is well in Pyra-Land, but that's normal when doing some development.

Besides the LCD Cable, it seems some traces on the mainboard also are too thin for the power system.

The voltage that arrives at the LCD Panel is too little, and Nikolaus traced that down to be some traces.

 

He's now checking which ones exactly need to be a bit wider / thicker. It's no huge issue, but needs a bit of time to measure everything out.

 

 

So we're still moving forward. Some small issues like these were to be expected (we would be gods if everything worked fine from the beginning with such a complex system), but thankfully nothing major yet :)

 

I'll keep you posted :)




#379280 Diablo

Posted by notaz on 12 April 2015 - 08:54 PM

So it's the same story as before.
 
After finishing StarCraft I've been briefly looking what else could be recompiled without spending the whole eternity, but couldn't find anything that both I would care for and that wasn't huge. But what I've noted is that Diablo shares several .dll files with StarCraft so quite a lot could be reused and there is less code overall (it turns out Blizzard developed Diablo and StarCraft at the same time, so naturally reused things). I've put it on hold back then, but finished the recompilation work today.
 
Unfortunately it's unstable and crashes in some non-obvious way. I don't know if this is worth finishing, as the game is not too demanding and seems to be almost ok under qemu, I guess under wine+Exagear it might be just fine. Posting this here for more (de)motivation.
Update: the crashes have now been fixed, so it's on the repo now:

http://repo.openpand...package.diablo1

shareware version has been converted too:

http://repo.openpand...ackage.diablo1s

Instructions:
1. Install the game on PC.
2. Still on PC, apply the official 1.0.9 patch (drtl109.exe).
3. Copy Patch_rt.mpq from the game's folder on PC to pandora/appdata/diablo folder of SD card.
4. Copy diabdat.mpq from the Diablo CD to pandora/appdata/diablo folder of SD card.

 




#379016 Prototype case and Mainboard Assembly (small video)

Posted by EvilDragon on 11 April 2015 - 11:23 AM

As promised a few days ago, here is the video where I assemble the Pyra case and show you some details.

 

This case has been printed by a different company this time and cracks VERY easy (unlike the last print), so excuse a few cracks here and there.

 

 

Hopefully, YouTube will have it processed soon!




#378647 It's the Matrix!

Posted by EvilDragon on 08 April 2015 - 01:28 AM

Well, first of all, sorry that I'm really really late posting the news this time.

Yes, really late, as the latest 3D printed cases actually arrived March 30th... so over a week ago, and I didn't post any pictures, videos or informations here.

 

I was caught in the Matrix!  ... well, not really, but I had very little time, as the Retrode2 also arrived back in stock (with tons of orders to ship) and then there was easter and I was working on my new online shop (which should go online within the next few weeks).

Additionally, I had to do more live video mixing (my main job), as our icehockey team reached the finals in the PlayOffs.

 

So I didn't really find the time to post, but of course things were still moving forward.

 

1. The Case

 

As mentioned, the latest 3D prints arrived and it's now 99% finished in my opinion.

The edges are rounded which is a lot more comfortable with your hands, the shoulder buttons are easily reachable and feel fine, the PCB fits nicely.

The only changes I had were related to the LCD cable (to make it easier to assemble the unit), the area around the display (to improve it a bit and make it easier to assemble / disassemble) and we need to check the tolerances for the shoulder buttons so that all PCBs will work with all cases out of the box.

 

Apart from that, I'm happy with the case and hope to make you a video soon :)

 

 

2. The Rotator Chip

 

We had a small step backwards 1,5 weeks ago but now catched up and are a step further.

Maybe you remember: We were able to communicate with the SSD (rotator chip) last year in June / July, but didn't setup the panel back then.

Well, Nikolaus wanted to test the rotator chip in the final unit last week - but each time he tried to set it up, it stopped communicating... a hardware issue?

He checked all possible causes, disabled all other devices and power lines on the mainboard that could cause issues, but the issue still remained.

 

After some research and testing, we found out that the SSD has a smaller tolerance regarding the clockspeed than the normal MIPI standard is - it was written down somewhere in the large datasheet.

And yes - once that was fixed in the software, communications with the SSD worked!

We can successfully read and write registers and it successfully reports all details about the connected LCD Panel-

It also shows some stuff on the LCD - Nikolaus calls it garbage, I think it just shows us the Matrix :)

 

Attached File  DSC02222.jpeg   90.66KB   83 downloadsAttached File  DSC02223.jpeg   96.79KB   85 downloads

(What you can see here is the LCD connected to the Display PCB incl. the rotator chip. The manually soldered cables are used for probing and hardware testing)

 

What does that mean?

Well, we know the hardware works fine, so another important step done.

What's left is to write the driver for the chip, and then our next step would be finishing the CPU board so we can build and test a final prototype of the Pyra!

 

 

3. Battery and LCD Cable

 

Both the new battery and LCD Cable prototypes have been finished and are on the way to me.

So once the CPU PCB is finished, we can REALLY assemble a full unit inside a case!

That will be a milestone - and then it's not that far off the mass production!

 

That's all for today.

I'll try to read the keyboard layout discussion soon and also make a video with the printed case.

 

See you soon!




#364023 Finished! (Well... the schematics, that is)

Posted by EvilDragon on 16 November 2014 - 10:18 AM

Still no time to slow down - so here's a summary of what happened lately :)
 
The PCBs
 
Finally, the full schematics for the Pyra have been finished by Nikolaus early last week!
Which means, that the hardware is basically done - the only thing left to do is to translate the schematics into the layout of the PCB.
 
It's very time consuming work, but Nikolaus will try to finish that in December, so that we can produce the first prototypes before the end of the year!
December 23rd would be a cool date for the prototype production run - as December 23rd, 2011 was the day we made the test production run of the Pandora at Global Components in Germany.
 
The OMAPs have already been ordered, we plan to produce 15 prototpe PCBs.
Will we be able to keep that schedule? It's a short timeframe for the remaining work to be done (we know that), but we'll try our best.
 
These prototypes need to be thoroughly tested then. Quite a few won't work at all (as such a test run is used to setup the machine properly). Some of the working ones will go to devs like notaz and maybe one or two will be auctioned off.
 
And after that? Well, all bugs we still find need to be eliminated, a new test run needs to be done.
And once the hardware fully works, it's time to setup the mass production and the preordering.
Hopefully, we won't need to many revisions before we have all bugs fixed.
 
 
The cases
 
Of course, a fully working PCB is nothing without a finished case!
Now that all specifications are fixed, the designer has resumed work on the case to do the final tweaks (and offer me two different solutions for the shoulder buttons).
I hope the final case will be ready for a 3D print in December as well.
 
 
The nubs
 
We took the chance to meet the designer and engineer of our current nubs at the Electronica exhibition in Munich. Basically, the part is end of life (EOL), because there weren't enough orders to keep the production alive.
All other nubs we tried won't fit, sadly (the 3DS one is twice as thick, so that won't work).
The only EOL part of the nub is the mechanical one which is basically a disc with springs that move a magnet.
The electrical part (which is simply a hall sensor) is available without any issues.
 
Our current solution is this one:
The deadline for placing the order is the current nub is end of December. We'll order 10,000 of those, which will be enough for 5,000 Pyras.
If these Pyras sell really fast, we can probably resume the production with a high enough order.
If these Pyras sell slow, we have enough time (and money) to find a solution, i.e. a company that can create a compatible mechanical frame.
 
I sure hope though we can get enough orders to make them resume the production though! The first order of 10,000 will be a first step to that!
 
 
3G / 4G
 
More good news from the Electronica:
We found a Tetra-Band Antenna that fits onto the reserved space of our PCB, which means that the Pyra will be able to do 3G/4G.
 
 
AMD
 
I've also paid AMD a visit to ask them about their upcoming ARM SoC for tablets.
Nothing to get excited yet, but I've got some contacts now to discuss with.
We know they'll release a 64bit ARM SoC which uses the Radeon GPU (which has working open source drivers), so that surely would be an interesting chip for a first Pyra upgrade.
 
IF (in capitals) we will be able to use it, it will still be a long time away. And if not enough people buy the Pyra or we we can't get it from AMD, it won't even be made.
 
The first release will be the OMAP5 Pyra - and the more people buy it, the more likely a future CPU Board upgrade will be :)
 
 
 
Videos
 
You probably know about the 'What would you like to see?'-thread (http://boards.openpa...ou-like-to-see/)
Well, I got the devboard prepared at work and will hopefully be able to produce regular videos of those requests from this week on - this just depends on the amount of spare time I have.
 
These will only be very short videos, just showing one thing at a time.
And we won't be able to show all of those requests yet, as our current OS still has some things like the 3D driver missing. But those videos will follow once we have it working as well.
 
 
Keyboard
 
Well.... as the design is basically finished, it's time to soon start for me to work on the keyboard layout. I know we've got hundreds of posts about that already, which I all need to browse and check and find the best suitable keyboard layout.
I'll probably make a few different layouts and put them up to discussions, so we can tweak them.
I plan to do this end of November / early December.
 
 
Phew, that was quite a lenghty post - but we certainly had (and have) a lot going on :)
See you at the boards!



#290765 Some more of my ideas

Posted by EvilDragon on 19 November 2013 - 02:53 AM

Well, since you know I'm actively working on the successor yet, I think I can share some of my ideas.

 

Basically, it's to keep what's good and fix what can be fixed :)

 

What's good:

 

Size: Similar. If we have to increase it, it will not be much (maybe 1 - 2 mm to one side)

Clamshell design: Of course!

Full sized SD Card slots: I would like to keep these as well.

USB Ports: Sure thing!

Gaming Controls: Ummm... :)

Replaceable battery: Yep. I want to keep the exact same battery for various reasons.:

  • It will ensure that batteries for the Pandora will be available for a longer period of time.
  • We know it works properly (less risk)
  • Whoever owns the successor AND the Pandora can the batteries for both devices.
  • The battery compartment will be changed though, so that the battery will fit much better

 

What needs to be fixed:

 

Nubs: Completely new ones. We already have some samples that are working so much better (best nubs I've ever seen).

LCD-Cable: While the current ones are good, they still fail too often in my opinion. With MIPI displays, we don't need LCD Cables anymore.

Case: The case will be completely designed and produced by one company in Europe. This will ensure a higher quality.

 

 

What could be improved:

 

LCD: Better refresh rate, higher resolution (ideally 720p, but that's hard to get), size increased to 5"

Keyboard: Slightly improved layout, better feel, probably backlight

Wireless: Improved Wifi, but maybe also optional 3G/4G would be neat.

Speakers: We already have samples of much better speakers. :)

SoC: A more recent one, of course. And yes... we have the confirmation for one now, but I won't tell you :)

 

 

So, that's my basic idea - what do you think about that? :)




#376449 Test Drive

Posted by EvilDragon on 22 March 2015 - 10:41 AM

No pretty pictures today, but a lot of results.
Nikolaus has been busy testing all the features the mainboard offers, takes quite some time (seriously).

A quick summary upfront:
The main PCB only had TWO layout mistakes - and that can be manually fixed within a few minutes and fixed in the layout file (for the production version) within 1 - 2 hours.
So yes, the main PCB should be ready for production now - and the display PCB as well.
Only missing thing now is the CPU PCB (which is more than halfway done already).

Here's a nice list of what has been done:

Note: As Nikolaus is currently working on the tests, it could be that some stuff that I put in the untested list has been tested by him already :)
Not much left to test anyways :)

Tested and working fine:

* Display (without using the ssd2858)
* Backlight
* Nub-Buttons
* Keyboard Backlight
* BMP180 (Barometric Sensor)
* Nubs
* FTDI (RS232 over USB)
* Power-LEDs
* LID-Detect
* BMC150 - accelerometer works with hacked bma150 input driver
* Panel-I2C
* TSC2007 + touch screen
* Charging Bypass
* Charger
* Fuel Gauge
* Keyboard
* Logo LEDs
* Shoulder Buttons
* USB-Host Currency Converter
* Cinterion Modem (both phone part and GPS)
* Modem Ignite


Issues found

* Sometimes, I2C hangs (Reset issue)


Not yet tested

* CRTOUCH - we don't have a driver yet
* INA231 (Current Shunt and Power Monitor)
* Force-Reset-Logic
* Over-Current-Indicator
* BMG160 (Gyroscope)
* BMC150 (Compass)
* BNO055 (9-Axis Sensor)
* Mic-Detect
* FM
* ssd2858


Stuff we need the finished CPU PCB to test them:

* DPAD, ABXY
* Microphone
* WLAN
* Bluetooth
* Audio (PCM1773 and TWL6040)
* Headset
* Vibra
* (u)SD-Slots


We're getting there - full speed ahead!

BTW: Beware - I'll start an official keyboard layout thread later tonight... I guess there'll be a hot discussion after that...




#355166 The long road to a final unit

Posted by EvilDragon on 07 September 2014 - 10:43 AM

The road from a first PCB version to a fully working prototype is a long one.

Moving to Kernel 3.17

Nikolaus is working at two things at the same time: Getting kernel 3.17 to work with all hardware AND testing the hardware itself.

There are two reasons to switch to 3.17:
1. It's the latest one (which we also want to use on the final unit)
2. He's also working with 3.17 on the GTA04, and quite a bit of hardware is similar, so it saves some work.

Mostly, Kernel 3.17 is now working fine without major issues.
What's nice is that the CPU temperature is even lower than with the 3.8 kernel (about 10 degrees less on idle state).
 

 

The mainboard tests

 

Now, onto testing the features of the mainboard.

 

First, let's start with what has already been tested and is working fine:

 

  • Keyboard-Backlight LEDs
  • Shoulder Buttons
  • Nub buttons
  • Nubs (Position etc.)
  • Keyboard
  • Sensor: BMP180 (digital barometric pressure sensor)
  • DC/DC-Converter for the USB-Hosts ports

Not yet tested:

 

  • RGB-LEDs
  • Stresstest VBUS
  • Mikrofon-Detect-Switch
  • CPU-Reset-Logic (LSH-BOTTOM + Poweron)
  • Charger-Bypass
  • FTDI232 (Linux console)
  • Charger
  • Vibration motor, Microfone, Speakers
  • Modem-USB, Modem-Ignite, GPS
  • INA231 (for checking modem status)
  • Fuel Gauge(s)
  • Other sensors

 

Can't be tested yet (as we need the CPU-Board or the next revision of the motherboard:

  • HDMI
  • eSATA
  • USB-OTG 2/3
  • Audio
  • WLAN/BT
  • Display connected to the mainboard

Quite a lot of things to test, but we're moving forward.

 

 

Case design

 

FormAction (the case design company) is back from summer holidays, so we resumed the work there as well.

I'm working on giving detailed explanations how the shoulder buttons should work internally and externally, and we also want to try out Fusion_Powers design as well as optimized the one I suggested.

 

 

The OS

 

Things are moving along, slow, but sure.

We've setup various gits (http://dev.pyra-handheld.com/) and will soon populate them.

The basic creation of a rootfs using debootstrap is already working, now we need work out how to do automatic package creation from sourcecodes and scripts and maybe move to multistrap (so we can create the image directly on the server, not using the EVM).

 

 

Other stuff

 

Two batteries from two different companies have been sent to FormAction. One is thicker, one is wider than Pandoras one, both have 6000mAh.

They will let me know which one would fit better into our case.

 

We'll most probably use the BOE display, as the quality is great and we already got it to work.

We still want to test the success and maybe a Sharp one.

 

Oh, and as someone requested it:

The Blog now has an RSS feed as well.




#347505 A bunch of pictures

Posted by EvilDragon on 27 July 2014 - 04:54 PM

Well, not that much to report this week.

Nikolaus has populated some PCBs (so I've got something to show at the GamesCom) and got the BOE display to work (without the Solomon Chip yet).

 

As you might be interested to see some pictures of the populated PCB, here you are:

 

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I mostly took care of the T-Shirt and merchandising stuff that will be ready to order for GamesCom (or shortly after).

 

aTc, lunixbochs and TrashyMG are fiddling around with devboards right now (well, lunixbochs uses Trashys via SSH) and they got the SGX to work (with quite a few issues still, but it does work).

Maybe I'll be able to show some 3D stuff at the GamesCom as well - but we'll see that.

 

Right now it seems Ubuntu ARM is better supporting the OMAP5 than Debian - so maybe we'll steal some packages from Ubuntu for our OS or maybe even use a minimized version of Ubuntu (without all the bloat).

It's too early to tell something right now, it's mostly playing around to see that things are working. Ubuntu and Debian are very close together, so some exchange between both might be a good idea.

 

Oh, before I forgot:

It seems subscribing to the newsletter had some certification issues - so in case you didn't receive your confirmation mail when trying to subscribe, you should now be able to do that.




#324835 Silent progress

Posted by EvilDragon on 19 March 2014 - 11:49 PM

It's been quite a while since the last blog post, but of course that doesn't mean nothing has happened here.

 

A lot of what has happened for me was organizing (looking for companies that are able to produce the keymat, etc.) while Nikolaus was working on the base PCB most of the time.

Here's a quick summary of stuff that happened :)

 

1. Base PCB design

 

Nikolaus is now about 95% finished with the design of the base PCB.

All of the parts have already been placed and will be wired up.

If everything works out, then the base PCB does not need another revision - but you never know.

We'll know when it's finished and tested :)

 

As for the ports on the backside, it seems we can include the following ones:

 

  • 1x Micro USB 3.0 OTG
  • 1x USB-A 2.0 Host Port
  • 1x USB-A 2.0 Host + eSATA Comboport
  • 1x MicroHDMI Port
  • 1x Headset (an internal switch ensures you can both use Apple and normal headsets)
  • 1x Micro USB Debug and charging port

Plenty of ports. We cannot tell 100% that these will all be included though.

They fit on the PCB, but we need to wait for feedback from the case designers if that works out well.

 

In case you wonder what the Micro USB Debug port is:

It's basically the serial out port. You can connect it to a PC and it will register as USBtty device.

No more hardware needed - so if you want to do some low-level kernel development, it will certainly be useful.

 

The port can also be used to charge the unit. This makes it possible to use a USB3.0 device (i.e. harddisk) while the Pyra is connected to the charger.

 

 

2. The case

 

The case designers were mostly working on the keymat, where I should get a first design this week.

This is important, as the keymat is the only part of the case that cannot be produced by FormAction, so I need to get quotations from other companies, and find a suitable one.

And as you can imagine, the keymat needs a lot of testing, as it has the buttons and the DPad included - and those need to be perfect :)

Therefore, the faster we get it, the faster I can test and confirm it.

 

After they finished the keymat, they will work on the keyboard part of the case and make sure, the PCB fits without any issues. This is also the time to work on the hinge and finalize the keymat design and PCB design.

 

When that is done, the lid will be designed, and finally, the lower part wit the battery compartment.

 

 

3. The touchscreen

 

The technical design of the touchscreen has been finished and is approved by me, now the production will begin.

We should get samples soon (I don't have a date yet, probably in about 4 - 5 weeks).

 

I've ordered the highest resolution and sensivity, anti-glare. So we should hopefully get the best resistive touchscreen as possible.

 

 

 

4. New (or old?) help

 

Some more helpers joined our internal development mailing list.

Two TI employees who are helping us in their spare time (they know a lot more about the OMAP5 than we do, so this will certainly be helpful) and Michael Weston (yep, the one who designed the Pandora) :)

It's always good to have various experienced designers.

There are often multiple solutions for one problem, and different ideas often help to find the best solution.

 

And proof-reading a schematics before the PCB goes into production is really helpful as well.

 

I'm really happy and thankful for all the help :)

It helps us to improve the final product and move forward a bit faster.

 

 

That's all there is for today. See you soon :)




#318507 News from the embedded world

Posted by EvilDragon on 25 February 2014 - 07:52 PM

As mentioned a few days ago, Nikolaus and me have been visiting the embedded world exhibition in Nuremburg today.

 

We mainly focussed on different storage solutions (eMMC, nanoSSD, MicroSD Cards), but also discussed various other things and learned quite a few new things.

Here is a small blog post about the results :)

 

 

1. What storage is best?

 

We followed all your discussions, concerns and wished here at the boards and spoke to various manufacturers about pros and cons.

 

A nice solution would've been nanoSSD together with an internal MicroSD slot, both bootable.

nanoSSD is pretty fast - however, it's also very powerhungry.

While MicroSD Cards / eMMC usually use about 0,3W, the nanoSSD can use up to 0,9W

Therefore, it's not really an option.

 

Next was to compare the MicroSD with an eMMC.

Power consumption is similar, speed mostly depends on the eMMC/SD Card used, but the latency of a MicroSD Card will always a bit worse than for the eMMC.

The eMMC is directly connected to the MMC line of the SoC, whereas a MicroSD Card always needs to have a converter inbetween.

That converter adds a bit of latency - probably not much, but a bit.

 

However, I can understand that a MicroSD card is appealing, since you can change it and still use the unit easily in case the eMMC breaks sometime in the future.

 

Therefore, we thought of a solution here - and I think we found the perfect one.

 

As mentioned, we're planning to put the CPU together with the memory and storage on a pluggable daughterboard.

This saves money in production (since the mainboard will be two-layer and only the small CPU board needs to be more complex), and it adds the possibility to upgrade the Pyra in the future with whatever SoC / memory / storage will become available in the future.

 

Additionally, we will try to add the MicroSD/SIM-Card Combo-slot below the battery - and include a small chip that will be able to either connect the eMMC or the MicroSD Slot to the SoC.

 

If we use the OMAP5, you can then either use the eMMC together with both full sized SD Card slots or the MicroSD Slot with both full sized SD Card slots.

If a future SoC supports more MMC devices, you will be able to use all the devices at the same time.

 

This should be a solution perfect for everyone. You can either boot from eMMC, the internal MicroSD Card or the Full Sized SD Card slot (like on the Pandora).

 

And in case your eMMC breaks (never seen that on the Pandora, but you never know), then simply put a MicroSD Card in and switch to that slot.

 

I hope you're happy with that solution :)

 

 

2. UMTS and a hardware switch

 

Some of you here at the boards had a bit of a concern with the (optional) UMTS module:

A modified firmware or software could be created to misuse the UMTS module and send data somewhere without the user knowing it - so they asked for a hardware switch to completely turn off the module physically.

 

Well, we thought about that - but adding a switch would increase the costs quite a bit (mold would be more complicated, switch would be needed, etc).

However, we found another, pretty cheap but effective solution:

We plan to include a small power measurement chip into the hardware, that is hardwired to a small LED.

Whenever the UMTS module needs power (which it does when it will be activated), the LED will light up.

This hardwiring cannot be changed in software, so you will KNOW when your UMTS module will be active!

 

 

3. Intel and everything else

 

While you all know that we won't start with an x86 right away, it could be that we'll release a CPU module with one sometime in the future.

And as Intel had a booth there, we thought it doesn't hurt talking to them and get some more information.

 

Right now, the latest BayTrail does NOT have a development board available, as we already thought.

While it's possible to buy the latest BayTrail without any NDAs and in low numbers, Intel suggests to not buy it directly but get it on a module from one of their partners.

Getting the SoC directly to work is a bit more complicated than an ARM SoC, since it will also need a BIOS...

 

We checked some of their partners, but their modules usually are way too big for us (and not yet available with the most recent SoC anyways).

 

So right now, the x86 is too risky for us, but that doesn't mean we won't do an x86 module sometime in the future (though please don't bet on it!)

 

I also visited Qualcomm and got another contact for getting the Snapdragon. The 805 will be too power hungry for mobile devices though (it's mostly aimed at tablets), so it won't be usable for us.

But I'll keep you informed about any further updates.

 

 

That's it from the show - keep on discussing about things.

As you could see with the storage, we'll follow your ideas and try to find the best solution for everyone :)