Posted 07 July 2011 - 10:02 AM
Last week I finally got my pandora. I'm a classic first batcher with an order date from 2008, don't know my order#.
First look: very impressive device, given that a bunch of clever enthusiasts made this possible using a next to nothing funding. Please don't stab me on "1 mio. eur is not nothing", but some people seem to forget that the initial funding was not for research but for production of their devices.
The case feels a bit cheap, but not cheaper than a samsung notebook I just bought last month. But way cheaper than the macbook, but to be fair: it is way cheaper than the macbook!
First boot was a bit discouraging as the installed software covers all aspects of linux (in tons of small apps) but I missed a bit of preinstalled fun. To be fair again: I had the same feeling with the first hours of my ipod touch before I found "plants vs zombies" :-)
But once connected to my wlan and using the pndshop, the sd card (2gb) was filled quickly with very impressive apps and emus; by that the pandora finally became really mine.
Most impressive was xbmc, which gave me a very good interface to grooveshark, which the native grooveshark app didn't. But the streaming of music through grooveshark was interrupted too often due to wifi bandwidth, a problem that I don't have using my macbook. But for organizing local music and videos, xbmc seems the most advanced platform to me with a very good connection to further information on your mp3 collection. On the other hand, the performance of pandora at 700mhz seems just a bit too slow for a slick xbmc-ui performance, some times I was stuck because I'm not familiar with all the shortcuts xbmc uses.
A bug in the file manager that refuses to dive into the second directory level when using detailed view was very irritating at first, but is not pandora-specific but angstrom-specific. Switching to list or icon view helps a lot...
A "open ipod" menu entry in mplayer gave me hope for connecting my ipod touch to it, but there seems to be a huge difference in connecting ios4 devices via usb compares to ipod nano/classic etc. No jailbreak, no ipod touch -> pandora connectivity(correct me if i'm wrong).
Emulators are fun once the roms are in place, I like n64 supermario64 and mariokart64; but also classic psx roms like tekken 2, croc and spyro. Mame is a must have in order to impress your friends "look, an original pacman", the same goes for quake + descent in all its flavours.
As a newbie, I needed some time to get used to when the psx control buttons are used (psx, n64) and when the keyboard layout is needed (descent, quake). I still try to figure out the most suitable control config for me, but the performance of the native apps is really really impressive.
Connecting usb memory sticks and usb hdd made to problems, by this I had the whole rom collection available at once.
Given what I expected at order date 2008, the pandora is way better than I expected. Given what is available today, pandora has a hard time being of use for casual gamers favoring ipad&co. But compared to "atari classics" on ipad/iphone, the pandora is definitely the better suited machine for retro gaming. Finding the critical mass of users to be attractive for developers seems to be quite impossible as of today, but as the best mobile device for cross compiling linux games and apps it can find its users, which I really really hope!