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Preparing for Germany (2011-08-26)


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#1 OFFLINE   EvilDragon

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 02:03 AM

A lot of important things have happened behind the curtains, I'll try to summarize everything up here, though it might not be easy. I hope I can make myself clear and won't forget anything.

One thing upfront:
I saw some posts that asked if Craig simply ignores the Pandora right now, as you don't read any Pandora news from him.
Craig is still in the team, of course.
However, all he can do right now is wait for CC to produce and ship the boards. Well, and to take care about possible legal actions...

I am mainly the one working on continuing the production in Germany, of course with a lot of help by Michael and Fatih.

Craig uses most of his time to take care about the iControlPad, while I am fully working on the Pandora right now.
I never was the smartphone gamer, but I love OpenSource stuff, so I'm happy to mostly work on the Pandora and not on the iCP :)

This is just a quick information at the beginning of my post.



Creating a business plan

You all know that we're currently working on moving the production to Germany.
This is a very important step and therefore needs to be done very carefully.
We have no idea how fast and how many finished boards CC can provide us in the near future.
So for my business plan, I am currently assuming the worst case scenario: Not a single board from CC anymore.
That's highly unlikely, but better be safe than sorry.

In case someone doesn't know exactly what a business plan is:
It's basically a document you create, that includes a detailed plan of the total costs needed, any plans for production, how you plan to make profits, what issues there are left, what needs to be done, etc.
This is absolutely essential if you try to get a bank loan or an investor, as they use the business plan to calculate their risks.

I'm about 90% finished with that, I just need a few more quotations, including the most important one: The PCB production. I'll get that one probably within the next days.


So... what IS the plan?

Well, of course: Produce Pandoras ;)
That's the simple version.

It's much more complex though. Moving the production costs money. Thanks to the production issues, we lost an awful lot of money as well.
The goal of the plan is, to find out how much money is needed to start the production and how many Pandoras need to be sold to make sure the production will continue and we can deliver the remaining preorders as well.

Altogether, there are 1200 preorders left (500 from me, 800 from Craig). This includes ALL preorders. Also the ones from Batch 2.
While the plan is not yet finished, it looks like with 3000 units produced, we'll be able to fulfill all the remaining preorders AND have enough money left to continue the production.
Right now, it looks like about 250.000 EUR is needed to get everything rolling.

This actually sounds like a lot of money, but for such a production, it is not that much. And with 3000 units produced, the money can be paid back and everyone of you would have his Pandora!
After that, profit starts.

This is, as said, the worst case scenario. Every PCB delivered by CC will make things better.

Where to get that money?
I've got plans for that as well. Investors would be possible, I'll also try getting a loan.
With a carefully thought business plan that shows that the loan could be paid back within a reasonable timeframe, this shouldn't be a big issue.

I'd still love to get notch as investor. He was one of the very first preorderers of the Pandora, he seems like a nice chap AND he really supports indie stuff.
I was in contact with him early this year and he was interested, however, I never got a reply from him since then.
I guess he's just swamped with his normal eMail address, so he probably missed mine.
If anyones in good contact with him, please let him know I'm trying to contact him. It would really rock if he would support us - and it would make things so much easier!

BTW: Global Components (they will most probably produce the PCBs) are also interested in investing. That would also be great :)


Preorders... again? :o

Yes, there will probably be another preorder round.
However, with ONE significant difference: NO money has to be paid upfront!

What use is this, you might ask?

Easy. Imagine you are looking for investors. Or you are trying to get a loan from the bank.
Of course they are careful and will ask you: Are you sure anyone will buy that thing?
Then you'll take out a big list with a lot of people who preordered already... and you win.
That way, getting money will be WAY more easy!

I'll inform you when that preordering starts - and then you can tell anyone who always wanted to buy a Pandora but didn't want to pay before it's available to go and preorder!
But please don't order another one there if you're not interested in actually buying it later. It would just lead to problems.

It will be exciting to see how much interest there is. But based on the daily "I want to order a Pandora"-mails I get, there should be quite a few orders.
I also know some of you told me you'd want to get a few more units once they are available without prepayment.

If this will be a success, getting a loan will be easy and production can continue! :)



What... a new CPU? What the fuck is this talk about?

This actually is one thing I'm currently thinking about a lot.
Some of you know about the BeagleBoard xM. It basically features the same SoC as the Beagleboard (or the Pandora), just with 1GHz standard clock, a faster RAM bus and a more recent 3D GPU.
As years have passed since we designed the Pandora, this faster SoC shouldn't cost much more than the old OMAP one.
According to TI, it's also easier to get.

As it is compatible, we can simply put it onto the new PCBs. It would be compatible with our OS, so all Pandora stuff would work on both units.
The new one simply would run a bit faster but would be completel compatbie.
OS and programs would be the same.

There are a few reasons that speak for that SoC:

* Wouldn't affect price
* Would make the Pandora more attractive
* Compatible, faster speed
* Preorderers who are still waiting would receive that one as bonus as well!

Of course - it could annoy the ones who already have a Pandora.
So what to do?
It's not easy.

Well, I don't know if the price will be the same as for the OMAP anyways. Maybe it's not worth it.
But if it IS worth it, I need to know what to do.

I'll make a poll about that tomorrow, please help me decide then!

On a sidenote, we might use a different paint on the case as well. Granite black metallic.
You might remember the blue metallic one Fatih showed us. He's been using it for six months yet.
The paint looks better (still looks like it is brand new) and as the paint is a bit thicker, the display stays open in every position.



Conclusion

Well, there's still a lot of work for me to get things started.
Things are looking good though. There are no debts except for the preorders, so as long as you will support me, I'll continue to work on the Pandora as mch as I can! That's a promise!

Nothing is carved in stone yet, I'm still checking out different options, but I'm getting there.
I hope I could give you a basic idea of what I'm planning to achieve.

If not, just ask, I'll try to answer it :)

Of course, you'll be the first to know once some stuff is fixed and done :)



Got some spare bitcoins and you want to support me?
Send them here: 1JFMx842TLW8sLKS3gn7kcLsNbXcLqXupK


#2 OFFLINE   JeFF

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 02:24 AM

Possible for every owner of an ''older pandora(the one withy the slower processor xd)'' to idk send their unit back and get a new one with a fresh board with new processor?

We'll see how it goes, I'd probably do that if it was possible to.

#3 OFFLINE   ZXDunny

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 02:42 AM

Possible for every owner of an ''older pandora(the one withy the slower processor xd)'' to idk send their unit back and get a new one with a fresh board with new processor?

We'll see how it goes, I'd probably do that if it was possible to.


Well, waiting to see what ED's poll options are - but being able to pay a fee (lower than the cost of a new pandora, natch) to have my Pandora "upgraded" to the new CPU would be an excellent option.

Let's see what happens :)

D.
10 PRINT "SCUNTHORPE!"(2 TO 5): GOTO 10

#4 OFFLINE   WizardStan

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 02:42 AM

Personally I like the idea of a new CPU given the conditions you've listed, and wouldn't consider it a slap in the face at all. I've gotten quite a bit of use out of my Pandora up until now and getting mad at people for getting something now that didn't exist in a practical form when I first got it is silly, in my opinion.

#5 OFFLINE   Prometheus

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 02:45 AM

Well, waiting to see what ED's poll options are - but being able to pay a fee (lower than the cost of a new pandora, natch) to have my Pandora "upgraded" to the new CPU would be an excellent option.

I would like this, too.

#6 OFFLINE   Blue Protoman

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 02:47 AM

I would send mine back for the newer processor, if I could get it back promptly enough AND pay very little (aside from shipping), if any, extra money. I will not deny that I am a bit peeved, and would certainly NOT pay for a whole new unit. I'd also wait for others to take the plunge and see what it actually effects in terms of speed and/or compatibility.
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#7 OFFLINE   Stradian

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 02:51 AM

Is possible with the newer corporation to remove these chips and replace them? I mean, how would our boards hold against an upgrade trade if this happened?
Currently Creating: Mupen64plus 2.0
To be ported: wagic, extcacl, Stellarium. Pandora Cracker Suite
To be made: update-able version of on board development tools.

#8 OFFLINE   Blue Protoman

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 02:53 AM

I'd rather have mine swapped out with a new board, then have my old board refurbished for someone else. Everyone wins that way.
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#9 OFFLINE   sepp256

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 02:54 AM

I would be all for using the upgraded CPU regardless of what you need to do to make it 'fair'. Upgrading the CPU will definitely help the Pandora be more attractive for future batches.

Some thoughts about making it 'fair':
- There has been another lull in shipping for a few months due to CC. That extra wait could be seen as a 'fair' trade-off for getting an upgraded CPU.
- You could just charge an extra few bucks from the pre-orderers who want to upgrade to the new CPU.
- Once you start getting new boards with the new CPU, you can eBay off units with boards still arriving from CC... they'd probably still fetch a lot.

Also, regarding upgrades...
- How feasible is it to switch to the better wifi module since other manufacturers moved away from the wifi module we're using?
- Wasn't there one size higher we could go in RAM?

#10 OFFLINE   Link

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 02:54 AM

So where would these cases be produced? Current supplier or?

I like the idea of the new boards as a selling point to keep the project alive and well. That and easily replaceable nubs. Assuming the shoulder buttons will be enhanced as discussed previously by the new company?

How is the relationship with the nub company? How's the lead time? Just curious so in say Two Months™ we aren't waiting on them to prototype the socketable nubs.

Bravo and keep on keeping on ED! I'm with you on the ICP too, 10-12 hour battery life wins every time for me.
Peace & Pandora,

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#11 OFFLINE   Blue Protoman

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 02:58 AM

Actually, the nub company is dead. But OP still owns the design, and I gather that the nubs are easier to produce than the boards are.
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#12 OFFLINE   SavageMind

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 03:15 AM

Would it be possible to purchase just the upgraded board and intall it yourself?
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#13 ONLINE   Fusion_Power

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 03:16 AM

I wish, the decission to make the Pandora in germany was done much earlier, the saved money of not to deal with CC and not to ship Pandoras around the whole world would be sureley overwhelm the maybe more costy production here. ^^

I really hope that Notch can help here, maybe i not with money but with his popularity. If he mention the Pandora again in his blog, there would be thousands of new Pandora preorderers within minutes, you can be sure. :) Enough to show the bank that there is a audience for the Pandora project.

#14 OFFLINE   Blue Protoman

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 03:21 AM

Would it be possible to purchase just the upgraded board and intall it yourself?


I'd sooner use the board alone as a Frisbee than install it. I hardly even know what a soldering iron looks like. :mellow:

I wish, the decission to make the Pandora in germany was done much earlier, the saved money of not to deal with CC and not to ship Pandoras around the whole world would be sureley overwhelm the maybe more costy production here. ^^

I really hope that Notch can help here, maybe i not with money but with his popularity. If he mention the Pandora again in his blog, there would be thousands of new Pandora preorderers within minutes, you can be sure. Enough to show the bank that there is a audience for the Pandora project.

Agreed on all counts.
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#15 OFFLINE   Stradian

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 03:26 AM


Would it be possible to purchase just the upgraded board and intall it yourself?


I'd sooner use the board alone as a Frisbee than install it. I hardly even know what a soldering iron looks like. :mellow:

I wish, the decission to make the Pandora in germany was done much earlier, the saved money of not to deal with CC and not to ship Pandoras around the whole world would be sureley overwhelm the maybe more costy production here. ^^

I really hope that Notch can help here, maybe i not with money but with his popularity. If he mention the Pandora again in his blog, there would be thousands of new Pandora preorderers within minutes, you can be sure. Enough to show the bank that there is a audience for the Pandora project.

Agreed on all counts.


Board is drop-in. Only thing needed to attach is the wifi and lcd cable, which have their own clamped slots. No soldering iron required.
Currently Creating: Mupen64plus 2.0
To be ported: wagic, extcacl, Stellarium. Pandora Cracker Suite
To be made: update-able version of on board development tools.

#16 OFFLINE   Link

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 03:27 AM

Actually, the nub company is dead. But OP still owns the design, and I gather that the nubs are easier to produce than the boards are.

The first nub company is dead. I am not aware of the 2nd company going under. I mean, they've only be redesigned like 3 or 4 times and the socketable option was in the works.
Peace & Pandora,

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Open Pandora Shop for North America
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#17 OFFLINE   Blue Protoman

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 03:32 AM


I'd sooner use the board alone as a Frisbee than install it. I hardly even know what a soldering iron looks like. :mellow:


Board is drop-in. Only thing needed to attach is the wifi and lcd cable, which have their own clamped slots. No soldering iron required.


Case in point. :D
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#18 OFFLINE   ZXDunny

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 03:51 AM

I would send mine back for the newer processor, if I could get it back promptly enough AND pay very little (aside from shipping), if any, extra money. I will not deny that I am a bit peeved, and would certainly NOT pay for a whole new unit. I'd also wait for others to take the plunge and see what it actually effects in terms of speed and/or compatibility.


The way I see it is this - I've got a Pandora, and I've paid for my time with it. I'd not be too bothered about paying extra for a new board and CPU - people who have been waiting longer than I have not had the privilege I have and so may feel compensated for by the extra speed and GPU. Paying more would be for an upgrade to hardware I've already paid for.

IYSWIM :)

D.
10 PRINT "SCUNTHORPE!"(2 TO 5): GOTO 10

#19 OFFLINE   Invader Amoto

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 04:28 AM

I hope you guys go forward with upgrading the parts to newer versions! And if Notch does end up posting about the Pandora on his blog, make sure it's AFTER you guys start accepting preorders again.

#20 OFFLINE   I8NY

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 04:28 AM

okay when i first read the part about the possibility of a faster CPU and stuff on it, i was against the idea. now that i think about it, you should do it to make the pandora more modern so some people would be more willing to get a device that doesn't lag behind the rest of the tablets and phones. the down side is some homebrew games may only work on pandora v2 but emulators may just get a few more games playable. if you make a option to upgrade existing pandora for $100 or something i'll do it when i start to think the pandora v1 is getting too slow for standard web surfing. (which won't happen for a while)


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