In what can only be considered a major victory for the open source gaming scene the fabled Pandora handheld is finally shipping. After almost two years of sneak peeks and disappointing setbacks the first batch of units are finally being massed produced and sent out to paying customers. The end product is the polar opposite of the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP in just about every respect. Rather than trying to make a closed down platform filled with proprietary technologies, the hardware and software architectures are completely open and just begging to be exploited.
The device itself will ship with an ARM Cortex 600Mhz CPU running Linux, with a separate 430Mhz DSP core. That might sound a bit underpowered by today's standards, but the developers assure us this makes it the most powerful dedicated gaming handheld on the market. The display features a resolution of 800x480 and its storage needs will be covered off by two SDHC memory card slots.
Anyone interested in buying from the first batch shown above currently has to make their request at email@example.com, but we expect a proper store page will be in place by the time they reach the second run. The hardware is currently priced around $330 not including taxes or shipping, but we have a hunch you'll probably make that up pretty quick in free games.
It remains to be seen if this can be a serious contender in the handheld gaming space, but it's likely to gain popularity quick with those who are getting increasing frustrated trying to crack DS and PSP firmware.
The device includes a 312MHz Marvell PXA270 processor, Linux 2.4.19, full QWERTY/AZERTY keyboard, an 8GB SD card slot ,Opera Mini 4.1 internet browser and 2.8 inch screen. The iKIT has inbuilt WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities, and supports HSDPA over USB. It has a standby time of 250 hours and power-up time of up to 3 hours.
The suggested retail price of roughly $170 makes it far more affordable than an Apple iPhone – a fact specifically called to attention by IMOVIO. However, practicality of such a product is just as important as the price, if not more, and will play a vital role in iKIT’s case as well.