The DragonBox Pyra is a handheld gaming device aimed at a very specific niche: folks looking for a versatile, open source machine that can run desktop Linux apps and emulate game consoles including the PlayStation 1 and PlayStation Portable and the Nintendo 64 and Gameboy DS.

It’s been in development for a few years, but now you can finally pre-order a DragonBox Pyra… kind of.

dragonbox pyra

At this point you can spend 290 € (about $330) on a voucher that will be applied to your eventual purchase of a DragonBox Pyra. The final unit will cost more than that, although the exact price hasn’t been determined yet.

Seem like a lot of money? The hardware isn’t all that extravagant, but it costs a lot of money to produce a small batch of devices, and the goal is to mass produce about 200 units at first. It’s not really clear if there’s a large enough potential customer base to produce tens of thousands of units, which would probably be necessary to bring the price down significantly.

Anyway, if money is no object… and if you want to help develop software for the DragonBox Pyra platform, you can pay 1400 € ($1590) for a prototype that will be delivered in November. Only 18 will be made, with 10 going to developers and the rest going to anyone willing to pay the high price.

So what do you get for that price? A little computer with a thumb keyboard, analog stick controllers, gaming buttons, and a series of switches and dials, as well as a flip-up screen.

Hardware includes a Texas Instruments OMAP 5432 dual-core processor, 2GB of RAM, a 5 inch, 1280 x 720 pixel display, two full-sized SDXC card slots, a microSD card slot, a micro USB 3.0 OTG port, a full-sized USB 3.0 port, and a full-sized USB 2.0 port. The system has a 6,000 mAh battery.

There’s a micro HDMI port for connecting an external display, and built-in 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 as well as an optional 3G/4G module, although all the cellular module will be included in all of the prototype units.

thanks Victor C!

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24 replies on “Pre-orders open for DragonBox Pyra Linux handheld game console”

  1. MULTIPLE paypal links at openpandora asking for funding to speed up process. Longer preorders is more untraced investment cash. Production WILL delay to summer and fall. This is analogous to ponzi and matrix schemes.

  2. No, idiot mindbenderspender. Im far crazier and more pathetic than that. I bought one and im not a gamer. Im glad to have a useful machine not beholden to wintel. Anyway mindbenderspender, thanks for taking time out of your busy day to complain of my purchases. Next you may want to hit the monogrammed kleenex forum!

  3. Look, I get it. You crazed linux users have to be enthusiastic missionaries to convert others to your ecosystem. But seriously, are you that pathetic to want spend 1,600 bucks on a dated game console emulator with 4 game buttons?

    1. Where the hell did you come up with the idea that linux is an ecosystem? Sounds like new age pablum I’d read on an Apple forum.

    2. Lol, don’t think too much of yourself. You wanna be part of the community, welcome. you don’t, that’s fine, windows and mac os are nice too. The linux community do not need sensitive crybabies who want everything ready. It needs more active creators to thrive just for people who make it happening .

      This is for us. We can spend money on that just to use emulated dated games, just like people who spend that much on apple products for the sake of having one while they can have much better PC. It’s a matter of choice.

  4. n900 ghosts will be attending this
    debian, no less
    – resistive touchscreen
    – can we run Maemo ?
    This news is tectonic

  5. I think I read that the CPU is on an upgradeable module. If so is the RAM on the same module? If this becomes successful and they actually do come out with module replacements in the future, it’d be nice to upgrade both the CPU and RAM.

    1. Yes the RAM and CPU are both upgradeable.

      The investment should be able to last quite a while for that reason!

  6. Waiting to see some videos of how this performs with desktop apps . For example, will a blog article with a 100 Disqus comments or any Javascript heavy sites bring the device to a crawl and how well can it play various non-HW acceleratable videos, etc.

    I know this is mostly geared towards playing emulator games but with the thumb keyboard and Linux desktop OS, it seems like it would make for a decent UMPC. Touch only devices just don’t cut it for me.

    1. there’s a forum topic with people requesting various capabilities of the chip:

      see especially this for web browsing:
      though you can ask specifically on the forums for some specific website to check out.

      one of the developers posts some of the games the chip can do even without hardware accelerated 3D:

  7. They won’t make the 200 units unless they get more orders later (1 to 2k); the 200 will be the first made/shipped in mass production. To preorder one of the 200 is risky, since only the more expensive prototypes are guaranteed to be made. There will be a later preorder campaign aiming at the 2k+ mark for mass production :). The prototypes should help to knock out the most significant bugs before mass production begins.

  8. As a Pandora owner I’ve been following this for a while, drop into the forums every so often. The Pandora’s a great device, especially the 1GHz unit. Still slightly underpowered for N64 emulation but runs all the rest of my SNES, PS1, MegaDrive and DOS favourites really well. The Pyra will fix that and add second shoulder buttons for better emulation.
    Have got to say EvilDragon did an amazing job to get the Pandora back. There were issues with the UK distributor’s ability to fulfil pre-orders for a while but that’s all gone. Now being run with superb German efficiency!

    Will be buying one of these for sure. Not that I have time to play video games anymore, ever.

    1. Bought the GPD XD instead for hundreds less than this. Worth every penny. Runs Android. N64 and Dreamcast emulators run very well.

  9. Guys , just so you all know, this is a very limited Pre – Pre Order so to speak. Their will be a later formal Pre-order for a larger run later on.

    Brad , you may want to update the story and mention its a very limited pre pre order. I think it started with 200 units available the other day , and now there is 70 units remaining

  10. Can I buy a voucher to help their short term funding but opt to get a Pyra from the 2nd or 3rd batch of units? The first batch may potentially have issues and I’m not that interested in getting a lower serial number nor autographs.

    Also, does the 4G module support LTE (particularly US carrier bands)?

    1. From what I understand, the 4G module will be offered in U.S. and EU versions. The U.S. version should support GSM based carriers like At&t, T-Mobile, and Cricket.

    1. Given that the pre-order link sends you to, I have to say definitely yes.

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