A $10 Open Source Handheld? Hmmmm.

Robert Pelloni, the author of Bob’s Game (read the video description for more info if you’re wondering what the hell it is) is leading a team of ambitious individuals to launch an Open Source handheld that will supposedly retail for as little as $10. The theory is that they’ll sell them at cost price. The spirit behind this device is a heart warming one: An Open Source handheld whose games will be lovingly made and sold by indie developers via an appstore of some sort. Anyone can sell software for the machine. Premium titles might even come bundled with a free console, that’s how cheaply they are hoping to manufacture these things. The name of the machine is the ‘nD’ (read: inDie) and they reckon it’ll be ready either Q4 2011 or Q1 2012. Developers are said to have working prototypes for their own use currently, and they say they’ll have some to show us soon.

Truly, I think this is an excellent idea, but I am sceptical not only of the price but also whether it’ll ever actually show itself to consumers. I’ll shove my pessimism to one side for the time being though. The somewhat vague specs are below:

2.4″ 320×240 LCD
400Mhz ARM CPU (Though they say they haven’t finalised this yet, so who knows)
16 or 32MB of RAM
2GB Internal Memory (No expansion)
Li Ion battery (No predicted run time yet)

It really sounds like they haven’t come ever so far along with the idea yet, even the shell isn’t finalised. I’m sure I’ll be overcome with optimism once some real units are photographed for us all to see.

Check the promotional videos below.

And the official site can be found here.

10 thoughts on “A $10 Open Source Handheld? Hmmmm.”

  1. I would really really love to have what amounts to a GBA with an app store. However, everything about this project looks really insane and cobbled together by madmen so I don’t see how it will ever pan out.

  2. I don’t see a $10-$20 price point happening.
    There’s a reason the chinese knockoffs are $70+, and it’s not branding.

  3. In 2, video price is 19.99 $. All of this look like some kind of personal revenge to NDS. You reject my game, and I will ruin you. Pure dream and fantasy.

  4. I doubt they’ll be able to raise the capitol needed to get this project off the ground. The Gizmondo was much more well thought out than this and look what happened there. You have to factor in that cheap used Sony and Nintendo consoles are everywhere and you can buy inexpensive content already. The only opening in the market that I can see is for an open handheld is one that’s powerful enough to take on more serious emulation such as N64. Anything less and Gemei and GPH have the bases covered.

  5. Well the manufacturer would certainly take a share from store sales. The scheme where the manufacturer subsidizes the hardware and profits from third party software sales is almost as old as the video game industry. So this could work, although I’m skeptical of the $10 price tag goal, too.
    As for the problem with credit cards and kids, that could be handled with a prepaid model, i.e. parents could pay 10 or 20 bucks onto the account to get 1000 “nD coins” that their kids can then spend on games.
    I’m doubtful about the envisioned price, but such a business model might work quite well IF they manage to make it an attractive platform for game developers.

  6. I also think the idea will not work. First, the price/cost is not achievable. the TFT + Tpuch panel alone will cost more than USD $5 if B-grade Panel is used. A-grade panel will double. Not to mention the Wifi module is also expensive. I would recommend them taking the hardware clone GBA to be their platform, although there already existed tons of GBA games.

    • They said they were aiming for $10, but will charge at cost, so there isn’t really an “unachieveable” point. The SoC would have WiFi included, and the GBA is a pain to program for. This thing is going to be running primarily SDL-based software, which is relatively simple.

  7. I can see some crucial flaws about their idea.

    1) Console is aimed at children. Problem is that children don’t have credit cards to buy stuff. They usually get their toys and games from parents. These parents would often times rather buy something more expensive or just different then to fiddle with credit card and some kind of appstore… besides kids always prefer something physical over 1s and 0s.
    2) It won’t be appealing to anyone who is 12-16 years old.
    3) As sad as it may seem most really poor families find paying for living and food much more difficult then buying electronics. Used or older gaming consoles are really, really cheap and can do MUCH more.

    Overall I think that it would be much wiser to aim at retro fans and even gamers in general with 30-50$ device.
    Aiming at kids with cheap, trow-away, ugly looking, APPSTORE driven gaming device can’t work.
    Kids don’t give a damn about 16-bit and parents couldn’t care less ether.
    There is untapped market for these retro games and all it requires is good marketing, sleek promotion and design and above average execution.

    • Keep in mind, indie devs will determine who it is aimed at, not the makers, since the indie devs are making the actual games. I expect this thing to have at least 6 emulators for the NES out 6 months from its release.

      Also, the idea is that the devs will market the console, once again making them the sole determiners of the console’s aim.


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