The DragonBox Pyra is a handheld computer that’s been under development for more than six years, but it’s finally almost ready to ship.
Designed to run free and open source software, the little computer has a 5 inch display, a keyboard for thumb typing, and built-in game controllers.
A small number of prototypes were sent out to beta testers last year, and now the final production hardware designs have been finalized. But DragonBox Pyra creator Michael Mzorek says the software still needs some work. So he’s enlisted help from a community member who’s helping bring support for hardware accelerated graphics to the Pyra.
That user, who goes by daveshah in the Pyra forums, is sharing progress in a forum thread, as well as initial thoughts about the new hardware, since he’s one of the first people to use it.
The little computer now supports 3D graphics, and daveshah has posted short videos that show a PlayStation 1 emulator running at 60 frames per second, and the Extreme Tux Racer 3D video game running smoothly.
As for the hardware, it has the kind of specs you might expect from an open source handheld computer project that’s been in development since 2014.
|Display||5 inch, 1280 x 720 pixel LCD|
2 x ARM Cortex-A15 @ 1.5 GHz
|GPU||PowerVR SGX544MP2 @ 533 MHz|
|RAM||Up to 4GB|
2 x SD card slots (full-sized)
1 x microSDXC (internal)
3G/4G modem (optional)
2 x USB 2.0 Type-A
1 x micro USB 3.0
|Battery||6,000 mAh (user replaceable)|
2 x analog sticks
4 x shoulder buttons
6 x face buttons
|Dimensions||139mm x 87mm x 32mm|
The DragonBox Pyra will ship with Debian Linux and support alternate operating systems. The schematics will be released to the public. And the little computer is designed to be repairable and/or upgradeable.
You’ll be able to open up the case with a screwdriver. Nothing is held in with glue. And there are three main internal components:
- CPU board (with processor, RAM, and storage)
- Display board
Given the pace of development, I wouldn’t necessarily hold my breath waiting for an upgraded CPU board to hit the streets anytime soon. But theoretically once the original DragonBox Pyra begins shipping to customers, work on a new board with a more recent processor could begin.
More realistically, if you need to replace a broken part, it should be relatively easy to do that with this sort of design.
The Pyra is available for pre-order from the DragonBox website for 500 Euros ($580) and up (excluding VAT) and it should ship… eventually.