If you’re interested in the new dual core PSP-alike from JXD, have a read of this article from Deen0X. He states that it’s not a full review but rather a first impression and overview of the product, but it’s definitely worth a read if you’re considering the device yourself.
Source: Manguiro Blog
In a video I posted back in April, RockChip Vice President Chen Feng promised that they were working towards becoming a more open company. Ultimately most people are hoping this means releasing their Android source, but for now the first step has been taken and they’ve released a Linux source code for their RK3188 SoC. Whilst this doesn’t mean much for end users in the immediate future, it means a lot for developers trying to port Linux distributions to RK3188 devices such as the Ugoos UG007B, a myriad of tablets and hopefully in the future, some handhelds.
If you’re interested in taking a look, you can check it out in github.
Who knows how far this will go, for now I’m just going to sit back and imagine a super powerful handheld running OpenDingux*. Drools.
*I know OpenDingux is built to run on MIPS currently, but a man can dream.
It looks like the long and arduous journey is coming to an end as reportedly 60 of the 150 Special Edition Zeros have already been shipped. One of the first to receive their unit is AztroZombie who kindly posted up some unboxing pictures showing the device itself, its accessories and the T Shirt.
Head over to Dingoonity to see the long awaited moment unfold in front of your very eyes.
Kickstarter backers, your time is coming soon!
A couple of days ago news of a real 3DS Flashcart hit the GBATemp forums for the first time. Unlike the Crown 3DS (and various other rumoured 3DS carts) this one seems to be the real deal and is due to hit retailers sometime this month. Unfortunately we’re going to have to wait and see exactly how this cart will function as there is a lot of confusion and possible mis-information surrounding it at present.
First off, I don’t want to call this a review. There are a number of reasons why – the main one being I don’t think you can accurately “review” a console. There are too many variables. Secondly, the OUYA hasn’t officially even launched yet. Yes, all the Kickstarter backers have been sent their OUYAs, but the retail launch hasn’t yet occurred, (although it will very soon, from all reports). And thirdly, I really haven’t spent a lot of time with the OUYA in order to give it a well rounded review, even if such a thing were possible…. So what I share today isn’t a review, just some thoughts based on my experience so far with the OUYA. Things may change, firmware may be updated, new apps and games are coming out… But as of right now, here is what I think. If you have considered getting an OUYA, maybe my experience could help you make your decision.
Right off the bat, the user interface is not very appealing, inviting, or user-friendly. Once you get past the initial set up (tethering the included BlueTooth controller, setting up your WiFi, downloading and patching the latest firmware…) you are greeted with a weird orange to purple gradient background with 5 large words.
There are some smaller words on the screen as well, your username (which you had to enter in the original set up) at the top, and “(o) select (y) controller off” at the bottom. And that’s it. It is nothing like the 360-esqe GUI mock-ups they showed on the Kickstarter video. It’s more like a Zune HD with a bad screen that is changing colors.
But you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, right? All that stuff can be changed later. Maybe this is just what they could get out the door in time for launch, and they will pretty it up later. It’s possible.
But it’s not just about ascetics It’s about functionality. What do those words mean? First, OUYA is not selectable – it’s just part of the back ground. Your username is also not an option. You can only pick from PLAY, DISCOVER, MAKE, and MANAGE.
Before I go on, I seriously want you to think about what you would expect those 4 words to do. Well, MANAGE seems pretty straight forward, right? It’s the settings and options. MAKE? Well that probably is some developer stuff, since the OUYA is an open platform and the console is the developer kit all in one, right? Ok… PLAY is obviously were the games are… And DISCOVER… well, that has to be like for the web and stuff like that are. Social media and the like… So maybe apps?
Those guesses are not accurate. Well, the MANAGE is pretty spot on, but the rest are not right, at least not the way I expected them to be.
If you click on PLAY when you first start it up, it will say you have no games, and your only option is go back to to the main screen. How disappointing is that? You fire up your new no-physical-media game console, and click PLAY and it says you can’t do that yet. Major bummer. What PLAY will do, once you download some games, is let you play the games (and apps) that you download through the OUYA store. Not anything you may have gotten from another source (side-loading, the Amazon AppStore, downloading from the internet, etc.). More on that in a minute. But, when you first fire up the OUYA, PLAY is empty and useless.
The next option down is DISCOVER. This is where I though you might find apps and web browsers and social media. Nope. Discover is just the link to the OUYA store. Now, it is true that all the games and apps are free to some extent from the OUYA store, that “to some extent” could be a demo-style level or two, or a time-based trial mode, or something ad-based (which I have yet to find, actually), or something freemium. So, no credit card needed, and no cost to download, but how much you can do with that download is up to the developer. Also the store gives absolutely no indication on how much the games/apps will cost, or what model of “Free” the game/app follows. So you basically have to download it and try it before you find out what the deal is, and even then it may not be clear until you click “purchase” and have to hastily cancel before paying $15 for that 20 year old RPG that was ported from a home console to a phone back to a home console…
Next is MAKE. To be fair, MAKE is supposed to be for developers. Without getting into the whys and how-tos, basically, if you are not a developer, but you do want to use apps other than the ones offered from the OUYA store… or if you want to use the Web Browser that they did include with the system… you have to go to MAKE to use those apps. Initially, it would tell you that you needed to sign up for a (thankfully free) developer account to do anything with this option… THEN it would give you an annoying pop-up message that you haven’t uploaded any apps yet, (meaning to the OUYA website) every time you choose that option. They have thankfully turned that off. (at least the nag-ware “WHERE YOUR GAMES AT BRO?” pop up is gone. Since I did sign up for a developer account, I don’t know if it still bugs you about that or not.) So, for most people, I would imagine that MAKE will be the most often used option, or at least a close second after PLAY.
So basically MANAGE was the only one that is what you would expect it to be, settings and options, so 1 out of 4 make sense. Well, PLAY does make sense after you download the games, it is just disappointing that it is just blank when you first start up the system.
So the user interface could use some work. If anyone from OUYA is reading this, my first suggestion is to make it not look like someone melted a crayon on your placeholder screen. Add some icons, make it more visually appealing. Secondly, merge PLAY and DISCOVER. Just make PLAY have the games I have already downloaded first, in some visually appealing way that I can organize by Last Played, Genre, Last Downloaded, Most Often Played, Favorites (that I pick), etc. – and THEN have the OUYA store games there in a similar format. Pretty much like any other console out there. One “page” / “card” / “blade” / “tab” / “section” with my stuff, and another with the stuff that could be mine. But both under the “PLAY” heading. It would not just be better for the initial start up, but seems to be working financially for all the other players in this field. Let me see what I got, and what I’m missing, all on one screen.
Secondly, forget “MAKE”. Have the developer stuff tucked away in the MANAGE section somewhere. Put “APPS” instead, or “SIDELOADS” or maybe “DO”. I know you are a business, and you want us to buy everything from your store, but you chose to make your console “open” and based on an open operating system, don’t try to hide our side-loaded apps.
Now… moving past the Operating System / Firmware whatever you want to call it – and on to what makes or breaks a game system… GAMES.
To be blunt, as of right now, OUYA games are not worth it. If you have an Android tablet or phone, you pretty much know what Android games are. Now, take away the portability and the touch screen ease-of-use, and make the picture really big. Boom, you have an OUYA. Seems pretty obvious, I know. but that’s what you got. I’m looking at the FAVS section of the DISCOVER OUYA store right now, and the first one is Final Fantasy 3, a game that came out in 1990. Then you have two forever-running games, one forever-jumping game, and a 3-D forever runner game… There are a couple of shooters, a text-based game, and a couple of shooters…
Again, there is hope that the games will come with time, but I can only report on what is, not what might be.
But what about the apps?
Yeah, what about the apps!? XBMC was supposed to be there at launch. As of now, it is not. OnLive was supposed to be there at launch. As of now, it is not.
In fact, there are a total of five options under the “APP” genre of games… (yes, that’s where OUYA buried these – in a sub-section of one section of “GAMES”.) The sum total of apps offered by OUYA as of May 30, 2013 are as follows…. TwitchTV, TuneIn Radio (not the Pro version), BlueBoard (which has something to do with BlueTooth), B00T (which is an “AutoPilot” that lets you add one of your install apps to the OUYA boot sequence, so it is automatically started when the device is completely booted), and Game.Minder, (which reminds you when a game you liked is set to be released).
Notice, no media players at all (TuneIn radio plays internet radio stations, but not local media), no YouTube, no Pandora, no Hulu, no Netflix, no Amazon Video, no Vudu, no office apps, no email, no WEB BROWSERS, no social media, no video chat… nothing. A couple of tweaks, an RSS reader, a net radio, and a locked-in video player.
The Web Browser they included with the system, I remind you, is buried in the MAKE menu, and is not available to be added to the PLAY menu.
Notice there is no file browser included with the system at all.
Once you figure out how to side load apps, things get a bit more interesting. But not everything works. I may talk more about that later, but as for now, I will end with what OUYA offers out of the box. It’s disappointing. I hope it gets better, I really do. After seeing the direction the big name consoles are going in (namely TV and SPORTS and EXTRA FEES FOR USED GAMES) I really want a new player in the field. But it is going to take some major work and some great games to come along to make OUYA that player.
Yeah I’d almost forgotten as well. After a scaled down version of the Open Pandora saga it seems as though the Zero might be ready to ship very soon. Dingoonity member Articus drove 13 hours to help Justin flash a shipment of an estimated 400 units last weekend. Although only a fraction of these Open Dingux driven handhelds will have been sorted in that time, you can see from the picture that at least the “Special Edition” consoles are in the country and almost ready to ship.
Unfortunately it comes too late for some. With an estimated shipment date of August 2012 it’s understandable that many have already given up hope and claimed their refund. It seems to be a running theme in these endeavours. Promises are continuously made and broken, and in the end a huge portion of the original backers feel ostracised when they complain. Being an original backer myself I’ve barely managed to bite my tongue as I sit patiently waiting, but at least here I can speak my mind without fear of a backlash from the GCW apologists. If anything this project has been run with less integrity than even the Open Pandora project. It boggles the mind to see someone follow in almost the exact same footsteps as Craigix when it comes to communication (or lack thereof) especially considering Justin had a blueprint of exactly how NOT to conduct business. But I’ve had a few beers and I can’t be bothered to whinge too much.
Hopefully in the next month or so all us SE backers will have our Zeros, and I’m expecting great things from it. You kick starter backers might be waiting a little longer as there’s still no word on whether all of your units are in the country yet. Here’s to hoping.
Here’s the contents of the email I just received.
Today, this year’s hottest portable gaming device sheds the “project” moniker and officially becomes NVIDIA® SHIELD™! Since you signed up for SHIELD updates, you’re the first to know, and can be the first to own one. SHIELD is only available to U.S. and Canadian residents.
Since its announcement at CES 2013 earlier this year, SHIELD has gone through finishing touches like tweaking the buttons and joysticks, optimizing the thermal design, and enhancing software for a more intuitive, comfortable, and lag-free gaming experience. It’s not just the most powerful portable gaming device, it’s the most powerful Android device ever created.
SHIELD runs the latest Android Jelly Bean OS. It’s also powered by the NVIDIA Tegra® 4 mobile processor, clocked up to 1.9Ghz, and paired with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of onboard storage (expandable with a microSD card slot). The 5-inch 720p HD retinal touchscreen serves up high-resolution eye candy, while the integrated stereo bass reflex speakers pump out loud audio. And a sizable battery rated at 28.8 Watt Hours means you’ll enjoy a whole lot more gaming, videos, music, and web browsing.
We’re preloading SHIELD with two awesome Android games—Sonic 4 Episode II THD and Expendables: Rearmed. Of course, you can download loads of Tegra-enhanced games through NVIDIA TegraZone™ or directly from Google Play. And, for all you PC gamers out there, SHIELD will connect to your GeForce® GTX-powered desktop to stream your PC games through our lag-free WiFi technology. PC streaming will initially launch as a BETA feature with support for a number of top Steam games, and gamers will receive a free software update once the official release is available.
As a thank you for being a loyal SHIELD enthusiast, we’re giving you a chance to pre-order your SHIELD before the general public—for $349!
Quantities are limited, so you’ll want to move fast. SHIELD is only available to U.S. and Canadian residents.
And here’s the pre-order page.
It seems that Nvidia set the price point right at the top end of “reasonable” to me. Whilst it’s way out of the China handheld league, it also promises to deliver a lot more than those Chinese machines can. As I excitedly read the email on my way out of work and began reasoning with myself that pre-ordering was a good idea, it wasn’t until the end that I noticed everyone but America and Canada are thus far excluded. Well forget it then! Didn’t want one anyway!
Anyone got their pre-order in yet?
While most of us are probably waiting to see what the S7800 has to offer, here come JXD with a new handheld that probably isn’t going to impress many people. The S5110B is an incremental upgrade to the S5110 which adds dual analog (are they real analog? no idea! are they implemented properly? probably not!) and the same AmLogic MX dual core processor already found in the S7300.
Forgive me for the pessimism but I’m sure I’m not alone in growing tired of these JXD and Yinlips machines. It could be that they got it right in this one, but if they did it’ll be nothing but a fluke. I’m beginning to think that for a flawless Android gaming experience the best bets are going to be Ouya and Shield, and that’s unfortunate. Maybe when (if?) RockChip follow through on their promise of becoming a “more open” company and team up with a well established and respected manufacturer we could see the “perfect” device come from China, but until then I’ll probably be giving these things a miss.
If anyone’s confident enough to give this thing a try then, as usual, you can head on over to Willgoo for some more pics and to place a pre-order.
Hey everyone. When I first started this blog it was simply for something to do when I was bored at work, but 2 years on when WordPress has long since been blocked at work we’re still here – and the reason for that is twofold. Firstly, it turns out I quite enjoy it, and secondly – seeing that people actually read the blog and even better, talk about some of the posts makes me think it’s worth it. All of you lot are the reason the blog is still here. Thanks very much for that. Unfortunately, the spam messages that get held in my moderation queue have reached critical mass. To give you some idea, since swapping the blog to my own host 6 days ago I’ve had nearly 500 messages go into the moderation queue and all but about 4 have been spam! As you can imagine, I probably end up accidentally trashing some genuine comments along the way and that troubles me! So from now on, if you want to comment here I’m afraid you’re going to have to register first. I understand that that’s an annoyance and I expect to take a hit on the genuine readers that want to comment, but at the moment I can’t think of a better way to sort it!
So there it is. If you’d like to register (I’d be very grateful if you did!) just hit the register link at the top of the menu on the right (or click here). Thanks for reading the blog and thanks to every genuine reader that’s taken the time to post a question or a statement, join in a discussion or even to criticise an article – I value it!
Just this minute I received an email from the Project Shield subscription, and for anyone who didn’t sign up but is interested to hear what they have to say – here it is.
We’re getting closer to the launch of our NVIDIA® Tegra® 4-powered Project SHIELD portable gaming console, so we thought you’d like to get a sneak peek into the manufacturing process.
The photo you see below shows the production mold that’s used to craft the ergonomic casing that houses Project SHIELD’s high-powered components: Tegra 4, 5-inch 720p HD retinal touchscreen, Stereo Bass Reflex Speakers, WiFi, accelerometer, gyro, a massive battery, and more.
To create the casing, we inject a polycarbonate material into the RHCM (Rapid Heat Cycle Molding) tool at 10,800 PSI and 300 degrees Celsius. We use a polycarbonate mixture comprised of 90% Sabic 500ECR-739 PC and 10% glass. This material and injection molding process ensures a sturdy yet lightweight casing that will deliver hours of gaming with no fatigue.