Taking up such a decision must be really hard, since they involve several modifications, some of which have been overseen in this thread. In my opinion (I have no Pandora, to make it clear; while that might influence my point of view, I will try to expose the facts, then my opinion at some places), improving the Pandora's performance would gather more positive consequences than negative ones.
The new processor, which would be increased from the standard 600MHz to 1GHz, would allow for more elaborate applications and for more applications to run at the same time (for example, browsing the web, listening to music and chatting with people). However, I wouldn't expect too much of these applications early in the development.
- First, since the developers test their applications using their Pandora, which has the current Pandora performance, they cannot see the results on a new Pandora. Therefore, they would mainly optimize the applications for "Standard" Pandoras, making them available for all Pandora owners. Nobody can be jealous this way, unless I am mistaken.
- I think it is relevant to note that the developers might want to get an upgraded Pandora to benefit from the increased performance. As proposed by many others, the pre-orderers and other people still waiting for a Pandora should get their Pandora before those that already own one; this way, people are going to wait less time, however because the existing developers might not create applications optimized to be used with an improved Pandora, the new Pandora owners will in fact not really benefit from the increase in performance unless for running some applications that are already a little slow or for running more applications at the same time. When it is time for the "Standard" Pandora owners to get their upgrades, or basically a new Pandora (they will receive it later than others because they ordered it later, naturally), new applications for improved systems might come out more than before. "Standard" Pandora owners who would not wish to upgrade their console can still run the new applications, be it more slowly in most cases. While this can be annoying, it is not always necessary for an application to run at full speed (however, for emulators it is very important I must admit).
- Overclocking the existing processors can make the "Standard" Pandoras able to run applications designed for the new Pandoras, unless they require the new Pandoras to be overclocked. This might be needed for a Saturn emulator, from what I read, since it is a 5th generation console; same for PlayStation and Nintendo 64 emulators. Unfortunately, "Standard" Pandora owners might not be able to run at full speed these applications; however it is each person's choice to consider the time they spent with their Pandora while others were waiting as a fair trade-off or not. They can later decide whether to get a new Pandora or not.
Note: I only presume the new processor will allow overclocking, since the current one does.
About memory, it is discussed that there would be an increase to the amount of RAM. In such a case, it might allow for more memory-consuming applications to be developed to be used on the Pandora. I would like to cite Java-based applications which were proposed to be ported to the Pandora; since these applications tend to use more memory (Java usually likes to take up memory when it's available to improve performance), an increase in memory could help them run on a Pandora. Notable examples would be the LibreOffice suite and, obviously, Minecraft. There are many others, most of which I probably don't know or just can't think of at the moment...
A better 3D GPU would make some jealous though. Unless I am mistaken again, I guess the old console emulators would not need the 3D enhancements, while the emulators for 5th generation consoles (Saturn, PlayStation, Nintendo 64) would benefit from it. Several homebrew games might also take advantage from it, however I believe that it will allow for higher quality settings to be available without letting down the original settings to allow "Standard" Pandora owners to play those games too. Aside from games, video playback might also be improved, but I'm not so sure about that. I don't know how well video currently plays on a Pandora, so that might just be nonsense.
Some people were wondering about NAND storage; I think that even if it was increased, I wouldn't see the utility. For more storage, there are two SD card slots and two USB ports. And there is the Internet.
Since the system software would not be different (shared among the different Pandoras), the space needed would not differ either. Anyway that's just my own opinion, if you find a utility to increased NAND storage then go and propose it, but I personally don't think it's worth it or even useful.
Another difference which is perhaps more likely to occur is the modification of the shoulder buttons location. That doesn't change anything to software compatibility, only the ergonomics, though I am not aware of people complaining about them (well that is what I guess since I have read none or very few people telling about the shoulder buttons).
The proposition above to make it possible to change the internal parts of the Pandora using an Open Source Hardware concept, while very interesting, would require several serious modifications from the original one and supporting that version as well as the original would be extremely demanding. For such a concept to be adopted, it is better to use it from the start. Unless we find a way to make it possible and that most people agree, I don't think it is in the interests of the Pandora team to think about making so drastic modifications.
Now that everyone (in fact I should say most Pandora followers, if that is accurate enough) is thinking "A better Pandora, I want it!", including the current Pandora owners. What would happen with the old Pandoras then?
- In the beginning, as mentioned previously, it is probable that the current users will have their "Standard" Pandora for a while, since new owners will have higher priority than upgrades (be it a trade or a new one, being at the end of the list).
- However, when several people got their new Pandora, what happens to the "Standard" ones? They go to trash? Of course not! They could be sold on eBay or other sites to people who want a refurbished Pandora for a lighter cost. Even better, they could be sold to a family member or a friend who wants to get involved in this community after learning about it. Even better, instead of selling it, it could be given as a gift! (but make sure that person is going to make good use of it before selling/giving it to someone else!)
- I don't know exactly how an upgrade would happen; a possibility would be a trade, because changing the chip (and/or anything else that gets changed), but after that it would be a little like above, unless the Pandora team sells refurbished Pandoras on its site instead of eBay or other similar sites.
I think I covered most of the subject, if I forgot anything or said anything wrong, feel free to feedback (not like I could prevent you from doing it anyway
). I repeat again that this must be taken in consideration that the upgrade of the hardware is only a speculation.
Finally, I must say that even if the idea in the end gets rejected, that the near-future Pandoras have the same technical specifications as the current ones, there will be an impact; people were expecting an upgrade and they don't get it, perhaps causing a lower mood. Is that a fact, an argument, or both? You decide.
The Pandora, while based on a team, is a community project, without its community it is nonexistent. So, unless the Pandora team is unable to fund the upgrade or if other problems occur, it is mainly the community's choice, our choice, to decide of the future of the Pandora.
Before starting: I consider that the change might or might not occur, that it is still just an idea and that it would take time before seeing life if it is kept. That also explains the abuse of the word "would" (and I tried to avoid "will" in most cases). I also use "Standard" and "new"/"upgraded" to differentiate the versions of the Pandora (some people use "1.5" for the newer version and "old" for the current one too).