After years of development, the team working on the Dragonbox Pyra handheld Linux gaming computer have finalized the design. That means the next step is to thoroughly test the hardware for reliability and then apply for CE and FCC certification.
If all goes well, mass production could begin soon, and the Pyra could begin shipping to backers who have pre-ordered the 500 Euro device.
In fact, in the time since pre-orders opened, Chinese device maker GPD has shipped the GPD Win, GPD Win 2, and GPD Pocket handheld computers and the company is now running a crowdfunding campaign for the Pocket 2.
But there are some important differences:
- The Dragonbox Pyra is aimed at open source hardware and software enthusiasts, and the handheld PC runs GNU/Linux software.
- The Dragonbox Pyra is also designed to be hacker-friendly with replaceable and upgradeable components. Nothing is glued into place, so if you open the case with a screwdriver there nothing stopping you from changing out components or making other modifications.
- GPD is a company with a history of producing handheld gaming devices running Android and Windows. The Dragonbox Pyra is more of a labor of love from developer Michael Mrozek (EveilDragon), who was formerly a member of the team that developed the Pandora handheld computer/game console.
- Because the Dragonbox Pyra has been in development for a very long time, it will ship with hardware that looks pretty dated by modern standards.
The Dragonbox Pyra will have a 5 inch, 720p display, a TI OMAP 5 dual-core ARM Cortex-A15 processor, 32GB of eMMC storage, and a choice of 2GB or 4GB of RAM.
It has full-sized and micro USB ports, HDMI and headset jacks, stereo speakers, dual-band 802.11n WiFi, and Bluetooth 4.0.
The little computer also has a few features which are pretty distinctive even after multiple delays. There are dual SDXC card slots instead of the usual one, for example. And the keyboard is backlit.
Other features include gaming controls with four shoulder buttons, six face buttons, a D-pad, and analog sticks.
Still wondering why anybody would still want to spend 500 Euros (~$585) on a computer with a 6-year-old processor in 2018? I spoke with EvilDragon in 2016 for an episode of the LPX podcast. He described some of the things that make the Dragonbox Pyra unique… and many of them still apply even now that GPD and other companies are producing handheld computers.