The DragonBox Pyra is a handheld computer designed to run Linux-based software and which includes a QWERTY keyboard and built-in game controllers allowing you to use it for work or play. At least that’s the idea… but getting your hands on one has been challenging.

The Pyra has been in development for years and went up for pre-order in 2016. But it only began shipping to customers in late 2020 and since then only around 200 units have been shipped. In a 2021 year-end update, project leader Michael Mrozek said a key reason for that was a case manufacturing defect that meant each unit had to be assembled by hand to make sure everything worked properly. But things could pick up a bit in 2022.

Lucas Wagner / YouTube

The next batch of cases shouldn’t suffer from the same issues, which means that it should become quicker to assemble and ship units moving forward. But this is still a niche device aimed at enthusiasts: It’s rather chunky by modern standards and has a TI OMAP 5 ARM Cortex-A15 dual-core processor that was introduced a decade ago.

With prices starting at 595 Euros (about $670 US), the Pyra certainly isn’t a Steam Deck killer. But it is unlike anything else currently on the market as a hacker-friendly handheld computer designed to run free and open source software and sporting features like dual SDXC card readers, a removable battery, and even a removable CPU board that could theoretically pave the way for upgrading the processor without replacing the whole computer (although given the glacial pace pace of development, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for CPU upgrades to become available anytime soon).

Here’s a roundup of recent tech news from around the web.

DragonBox Pyra handheld PC update [pyra-handheld forum]

The first 100-200 Dragonbox Pyra handheld Linux gaming PCs shipped in 2021, but they had to be hand-assembled due to a case manufacturing defect. The issue should be resolved now, which could allow production and distribution to ramp up in 2022.

Google’s Pixel phones had their best quarter ever [Engadget]

Google’s Pixel phones get a lot of attention from press and enthusiasts, but they still have a pretty tiny market share. With that in mind, it’s worth noting that Google says it just hit a “quarterly sales record” for Pixel phones thanks to the popularity of the Pixel 6 with both consumers and wireless carriers. But since we don’t know exactly how many phones Google sold, the fact that the company hit a new record doesn’t really tell us very much. 

Porting Windows 11 to the Microsoft Surface Duo dual-screen smartphone [@gus33000]

The Microsoft Surface Duo is a dual-screen smartphone that ships with Android. But developer Gustave Monce has begun porting Windows 11 to run on the device. So far the installer is up and running.

LogMeIn becomes GoTo [LogMeIn]

LogMeIn is rebranding itself as GoTo (the company also owns GoToMeeting as well as password manager LastPass, although it announced plans in December to spin off LastPass).

ScummVM begins testing Hypno game engine [ScummVM]

ScummVM, which lets you run hundreds of classic PC games on modern computers, is adding a “Hypno” engine for playing 90s games from Hypnotix. The first supported game is now ready for testing: Marvel Comics Spider Man: The Sinister Six.

LibreOffice 7.3 release notes [LibreOffice]

LibreOffice 7.3 released with new features and improvements including better performance when opening large DOCX and XLSX files, improved import/export filters, support for hyperlinks attached to shapes, and much more.

Steam Deck Review coming soon [The Phawx]

Most Steam Deck reviews you’re likely to see later this month will come from folks who are comparing it to larger gaming PCs and/or handheld consoles (like the Switch). But The Phawx has tested most handheld gaming PCs released in the last 5 years. Here’s a teaser video where he explains what he’ll cover in the upcoming review. 

Keep up on the latest headlines by following Liliputing on Twitter and Facebook and follow @LinuxSmartphone on Twitter and Facebook for the latest news on open source mobile phones.

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  1. I was an original pre-orderer of the Pyra having owned and loved 2 Pandoras.

    I fully understand this is a basically community project but it has been incredibly poorly managed. The case issue he cites is about the 3rd (or 4th? I lost track over the years) such instance over the course of development. After the first such issue he transferred the case production to another company he had worked with before to avoid such issues. A year goes by and more case issues. “Oh they will be fixed this time,” except they weren’t and still aren’t.

    This is all interspersed with “the shop is busy, I cant work on it”

    “Mass production” started a year ago. With 100 produced.

    Yes he is a small business, yes it is a passion project. But it will never be perfect because the budget doesn’t allow it, get them out the door already.

    This is to say nothing about the state of software. There are still huge issues (audio is using SW decoding) amongst others. With the Pandora the community took over and did wonders. I just don’t see that happening this time. There is little interest in development because the form factor simply isn’t as unique as it once was and it has simply taken FAR too long. 6 years in development with an already old chip and a market flooded with all sorts of handhelds.

  2. This device is in production for ages, meanwhile it took Chinese Aya Neo only a year from Lego prototype to finished product.

  3. Despite the fact that the Pyra is not my cup of tea, my hat is off to Michael. As someone who has designed and crowdfunded stuff, it’s hard to stay motivated on a project when you have holdups like that. This is a man that gets shit done.

  4. I think the Pyra has been lapped by the (also delayed a year!) ClockworkPi Devterm — similar size but somewhat different layout, much more modern internals, and upgradeable everything. And it actually shipped over the past couple of months! (See website link attached.)

  5. The Pyra really must be a passion project for Michael. It’s hard to believe he’s not very much in the red with the project at this point. Even including if none of the current unshipped pre-orders don’t cancel.