First of all, apologies for the length of time since my last post… Must try harder…
But I bring happy news for all of us waiting for that 5 inch from JXD. I guess seeing the success of the Much iReadyGo i5 may have spurred them on, because they’ve finally decided to hop on the wagon as well. Unfortunately, any hopes for a 5 inch variant of the S7800B are out of the window, because JXD ditched RockChip for their newcomer. Instead they’ve decided to go with a MediaTek chip just like in the Much i5.
The obvious bonus is that you can also use the device as a real live phone if you wanted. There are drawbacks too, however. The MT6582 (which is apparently going to power this machine, though don’t take it as gospel yet because some sites are reporting MT6589) is not as powerful as the MT6589 inside the i5, which in turn is not as powerful as the RK3188 too. The quad core Cortex A7 1.3GhZ chip is a low cost offering from MediaTek, primarily aimed to feature in budget (<$100) Chinese smartphones.
Willgoo did have a pre-order product page up for this, but as of writing it seems to have disappeared. Never the less, once it’s available I’m confident they will stock it. So for now, you can read the article on thedroidguy website and either curse JXD for scrapping the RK3188 variant, or start saving some money. The choice is yours. I might do both.
Update: Willgoo product page is back up.
Thanks to Mateus for sending this in!
If you were looking for something like an Ouya but packing more of a punch, you’d do well to have a look at this little box of tricks from Mad Catz. Chad covered this machine a few months ago when it first showed up, and now we know a little more about it.
It’s been a while since we heard anything from Yinlips, and even longer since they released anything worth getting excited about. Whether or not their newest addition changes that probably depends a lot on your priorities in a handheld.
After the mediocre success of the Gamepad it looks as though Archos is going to be having another stab at the 7 inch handheld market. The Gamepad 2 improves on the original in many ways, this time with a higher resolution 1280×800 panel and the quad core RK3188 instead of the dual core RK3066 found in the original. Here’s hoping they stick a bigger battery in this time too.
Visually the Gamepad 2 looks fairly similar, though it looks like they’ve gone with black instead of the charcoal grey this time around. No word on pricing yet though rumour has it they’ll cost around $200 when they’re released.
In the last generation it was the JXD S7300 competing against the Gamepad, this time it looks like it’ll be the JXD S7800 against the Archos Gamepad 2. Both machines contain the same hardware internally so performance should be similar, though I suspect Archos’ software will be a little less buggy than JXD’s out of the box. WIll that be enough to warrant the rumoured higher price tag though?
Thanks to earl and thedoctoroftech for sending this in!
News of the Retron 5 first surfaced in March of this year and it looks as though the all-in-one home console is nearly ready for primetime. The recent listing on amazon.com pegs the machine at $100 with a December 2013 release date, a little later than it’s scheduled summer date. Information on the device is still hard to come by, but it looks like it may be running on Android this time, presumably using the vast array of available emulators to accomplish its goal. It’s goal of course, is to consolidate a bunch of old consoles into one neat and tidy box. The machine accepts cartridges from NES, SNES, Genesis, Famicom, Game Boy Advance, Super Famicom, Mega Drive, Game Boy Color and Game Boy. It allows for use of the original controllers, and even allows you to use your favourite controller to play games from any other system.
Specifics on the hardware are still non-existant, so we’ll have to wait a little longer to find out for sure whether Android really is the OS for this device, and in the meantime you can cast your eyes over Hyperkin’s old announcement and more recent update at their website. Engadget also did a hands on in June, which you can read here.
Whether or not iPega’s last handheld ever made it to market I don’t know, it’s possible that the machines being shown off at IFA in Berlin this year are a result of some fine tuning and remodelling of the older design. Will these ever make it to market either? Apparently they will, in “2 to 3 months”, but as usual there is no mention of them on the sparse looking iPega website so we’ll have to see.
So they’ve got three handhelds in the works. There’s the usual 7 inch affair which is a very common theme at the moment for some reason, a 5 inch clam shell design quite obviously inspired by the Nvidia Shield and another 5 inch design that looks like a scaled down version of the 7 inch. The only working device on show at IFA was the 7 inch, the other 2 look like empty shells at the moment – possibly still in development then.
All devices are said to run on the RK3188 with 2GB RAM, the only differences between them being the screen size and aesthetics.
Video after the break courtesy of minipcpro.
If this quad core 5″ handheld/smartphone combo piqued your interest then you’ll like this. Willgoo just announced that they’ll be receiving stock around the 19th of September, and you can secure yourself one for a fairly reasonable $219.99. It’s a little more than some JXD equivalents, but remember that you’re also paying for GSM and 3G functionality as it also works as a fully functioning smartphone. Willgoo’s first batch is for 50 units but they’re planning to place a bigger order once they’re sold out.
Update: Now in stock!
Click the image to visit the product page.
Let’s have a look at some forthcoming and currently available handhelds on the market. This post will (briefly) cover some of the new machines I’ve already posted about and will also include a couple that have yet to get a mention here.
Let’s face it, Android is not the perfect platform for a handheld. For a machine focussed on emulation, homebrew and ports a lightweight and minimal front end can be a better solution. Currently there are 3 machines available in this category.
This handheld undeservedly received quite a lot of hype on the dingoonity boards over the past couple of months. Allegedly formed from old staff of Dingoo Digital, the team at Joysinica have released a handheld named the Joyou A320+. Unfortunately it looks like nothing more than an attempted cash in on the A320′s good name. The handheld runs UCOS-II as an operating system just like the original Dingoo Digital A320 did. However this time they’ve opted for a chip from Actions Semiconductors instead of Ingenic, so an OpenDingux port or even any significant software improvements from the community are pretty unlikely. Reports on performance seem mixed – Jutley and Ruffnuts were the earliest adopters and seem pretty pleased with the way it works, however other buyers seem less impressed. If you’re considering this machine I would recommend reading this thread in full first, and then casting your eye over the other handhelds available in the Non Android category.
I’m sure you’re familiar with this machine already, indeed I did cover it briefly in another article on this blog. If you’re looking for a true successor to the Dingoo A320 then this is the closest you’ll get currently, but be aware that the console is in its infancy and many of the emulators or ROMs you’d like to play are probably still in beta stages. Having said that, this machine’s Linux OS is fully open source and there is an active, talented and enthusiastic community of developers working on it all the time. The first batch of Special Edition machines had problems with the dpad and some of the buttons, but we are assured that this has been fixed and replacement parts are being shipped out to those affected. I decided to sell my unit instead of waiting for the replacements, but it’s likely I’ll buy another in a few months once the teething problems have been fully ironed out.
This console has a dedicated sub-forum at Dingoonity where you can find all the info you could ever need.
Available in various incarnations for a few years now, the OpenPandora is the most expensive of the non Android machines – but is technically also the most advanced. Running a distribution of Linux called Angstrom this console has a varied and mature library of software available. The developer community is still active and the forums are still buzzing, so if your pockets are heavy with cash and you like the idea of a machine for tinkering as well as gaming then this one might be for you.
There are so many of these being manufactured I’d be here all day listing them all, so instead I’ll concentrate on the ones running off the latest quad core SoCs. The machines in this category are all powered by either a RockChip RK3188, MediaTek MT6589, Nvidia Tegra 4 or an AllWinner A31/A31S.
If you want the newest, most powerful, and possibly the ugliest then your decision is already made. The Nvidia Shield began shipping a few weeks ago and sets a new benchmark in portable gaming prowess. Unfortunately if you’re outside of the US then getting hold of one might pose a problem unless you’re happy to use eBay or similar. The Shield is the first device to use Nvidia’s new flagship SoC, the Tegra 4 and compared to the next most powerful chip found in an Android handheld (RK3188), you can see that it beats it into a bloody pulp.
Nvidia just released the full source code for this device allowing for hackers and tinkerers to do pretty much anything with it that they want. Check this article over on Liliputing for more info. JXD, are you listening?
I’ve already covered JXD’s latest 7 incher in a few other posts, and Willgoo are currently accepting pre-orders for both the Model A and the Model B. The Model B is the one everyone will be going for as it is slightly more powerful than the Model A and houses a chip recently made favourable to modders. RockChip recently made available some Linux source code for this SoC and so it is not beyond the realms of possibility that we’ll be seeing some serious improvements over the stock software supplied by JXD, if the right developers can be pursuaded to get on board. Due to begin shipping in September, Willgoo are the ones supplying us westerners with this machine.
As usual, if you use the links I provided to make your purchase then I get a few pennies to put towards my unhealthy gadget obsession.
Unfortunately still in the rumour mill phase, it’s not yet known if this device will ever see the light of day. Essentially it’s a scaled down version of the S7800 featuring an 800×480 5″ screen and will be powered by the RK3188. JXD have renders of the machine, but it’s not yet visible on their website. There are a lot of people hoping this device makes it to market, me included. Let’s wait and see.
Manufacturer website (not featured on the website yet)
Not currently available for pre-order
iReadyGo Much i5
Is the brand name iReadyGo or is it Much? Who knows, but what we do know is that if the S5800 never makes it then all is not lost for gamers clamouring for a 5 inch handheld. Recently announced by Willgoo staff on the dingoonity forums, the i5 could be the first handheld to be powered by the MT6589. MediaTek chips are usually only found in China brand smartphones, and there’s a reason it features in this handheld – this 1.2Ghz quad core machine also works as a fully featured smartphone. The MT6589 won’t be as powerful as the RK3188, but should still be capable of emulating anything available in the Play Store and playing most of the high end games available there too. I’ve never used Android on a MediaTek powered device but I have read that the Android port is very fast and stable, as long as the i5 manufacturers don’t mess it up!
If you check the Chinese website and translate the text from this page, it looks as though something will be happening with regards pre-orders on the 13th of August. I also get the impression from Google’s less than perfect translation that this thing will not be cheap!
Recently brought to our attention is this monstrosity from GPD. If comfortable gaming is your thing then it doesn’t look like you could do much better than an elongated Playstation pad with a screen stuck in the middle. It might look a tad unusual but only as much as the Shield from Nvidia! This one is powered by the RK3188 too, but looks to be a little way away from release date yet as there is still no mention of it on the manufacturer website.
Manufacturer website (not featured on the website yet)
Not currently available for pre-order
If 7 inches is your thing and you’re not sold on JXD’s latest, maybe take a look at this AllWinner A31 powered machine from Iben. The L1 been available for a little while now and the consensus is that it’s pretty decent. I’ve covered it briefly before and there are some reviews doing the rounds as well, so head to dingoonity to check out hailrazer’s first impressions and over to the manguiro blog to check out a full featured review (albeit in Spanish, use translate). If you follow the link to the manufacturer website you’ll notice that they have their own forum dedicated to this device too, which is a nice touch.
And that’s that for now I think. I hope I covered everything relevant but if I forgot something please let me know.
Here they are folks, two new quad core devices from JXD confirmed and ready for pre-order. The s7800 comes in two flavours and with a small difference in price. Model A contains the AllWinner A31S and is available for $159.99 whereas Model B contains RockChip’s current flagship RK3188 and will set you back $169.99.
The general consensus is that while the SGX544 MP2 inside the A31S performs better than the quad core Mali400 in the RockChip, the RK3188 is all round a faster solution. Added to this is the fact that the Linux source is now available for this chip, which could mean for some interesting developments for the Model B in the future.
If you’re interested then head over to Willgoo to get your pre-order in, otherwise hang tight and see if the five inch version ever arrives!