(I own a GP32, and was an active developer back in 2003 or so, but then I never jumped on the GP2X, so I kind of lost touch with the community), so perhaps much of the things I am about to ask has been covered. However, I have not seen this answered in the FAQ.
In essence, my question is - how is this project possible,?
At work I was involved with a project where we developed our own ARM-based hardware, running Linux. Now this was an embedded device aimed at the industrial market, so no screen, no user input etc. Still, I think I have a bit of insight on the amount of work that goes into the development process, with prototype PCBs, case manufacturing, getting drivers up and running under Linux etc. etc.
What I wonder is how the guys behind this are going to (or rather, are in the process of!) pulling this off, both from a financial and development perspective.
Is the project financially backed by some company? VC? Are the members of the dev team working fulltime, or is just a hobby?
I see that you have made good progress in the PCB-department, but then there are such things as casing and assembly, I wonder how far they have gone into this?
I mean you would have to CAD the case, then get some (probably Chinese) firm to manufacture them. Then you have assembly, putting it all together mechanically, considering the rather advanced layout with keyboard, analog buttons etc. I can only imagine this being quite labor-intensive.
What about the Linux low-level stuff, device drivers etc. this stuff can be really hard to get debugged and stable!
Price - the announced price seems like it could barely cover the costs of the parts, considering that for the
first runs you are probably buying components in 1000 (or perhaps even 100?) batches. Then you have startup costs for PCB-manufacturing, startup costs for fabbing the casing etc. But I guess you are calculating with not turning a profit right away?
Finally the timeframe, I have seen summer this year for the first non-prototype batch. This seems way, WAY optimistic! There must be literally THOUSANDS of things left to do, not to mention all testing, not only of software, but also hardware like pure mechanical things (if the user flips open/closes his system 10.000 times, is the LCD ribbon cable still OK for example).
It might sound like I am negative, but this is such a major undertaking that it boggles the mind. I mean, we are talking about a project that is on the same level as a PSP or DS (or PDA) in hardware capability, but instead of having a development team of perhaps hundreds of individuals working for years, you have a four (right?) man team attempting to do the same.
If the guys can pull it off, it will be one of the most amazing displays of commitment ever.
Edited by Sdw, 14 April 2008 - 11:29 AM.