Gameshell - Modular, "open", gaming handheld (kickstarter)

Chip

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This is an interesting take on the whole gameboy-zero modding thing. Instead of hacking up an old gameboy, this is a complete system (roughly the size and shape of an original gameboy) that can be assembled without tools. The case, display, motherboard, battery, controller, and speakers are all self-contained components, and can theoretically be upgraded in the future. They even indicate the components can be used separately or in different combinations.



Specs are nothing mind-blowing, but should be sufficient for the sort of games you'd want to play on this type of system:

  • Allwinner R16 quad core cortex A7 (unknown clockspeed) CPU
  • Mali 400 GPU
  • 512MB DDR2 RAM
  • 2.7" 320x240 LCD
  • MicroSD storage
  • Wifi
  • Exposed serial & GPIO points (on a ribbon connector, I think)
  • 1050mAH battery (3hrs est. runtime)
  • Stereo speakers & headphone jack
The "openness" of the system is limited to the OS (linux) and physical design. As with virtually all ARM-based devices these days, don't expect anything besides binary blobs for drivers. I'm very skeptical of the control-feel from a tool-less, modular system like this. I expect a lot of creakiness, and either binding or slop in the buttons and Dpad.

Still, not bad for $90 if you snag one of the super-early-bird units. A little less impressive at the full price of $140, I think.

Kickstarter link.


 
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WizardStan

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You forgot the link to the kickstarter: Personally, if I weren't already heavily anticipating the Pyra, I might jump on this. Really the only sticking point is that screen: in all the videos it looks absolutely dreadful, high saturation, completely washed out.
 

rygD

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Where do I put my GB carts in it? :p

Looks kinda nice. Battery life seems meh. Due to all the aftermarket GB cases and such on the market I might prefer to use those, especially since I have a bunch on hand and know of parts designed to work with original style cases for projects like this. Still, for someone that doesn't have a bunch of stuff sitting around, this seems like a decent starter kit (maybe get a better display down the road...and battery?).
 

JDTAY

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I was gonna get one, but that battery is nuts weak. I shouldn't have taken my eyes off the path of Pyra for even a second.
 

Chip

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I think the one thing that would have pushed me over the edge to backing this would have been a landscape/GBA option. All you would need is a new case and a two-piece controller, and the rest of the pieces could be rearranged to fit. It would also allow for shoulder buttons, which are kinda necessary. You're locked out of most SNES titles with only 4 buttons.
 

red

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Looks nice but wish it was a bit bigger. Such a small screen makes it a bit of a novelty for me.
 

elwing

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You can get there and respond to the poll to have him make a compute3 module based console to fit a gba shell... Now that would be truly great...
 

Chip

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compute3 module based console to fit a gba shell...
Those are already available, for preorder at least.

I'd already have ordered one if it weren't for the crappy microswitches on the X and Y buttons. I realize the layout doesn't give much choice, but I really hate those things - especially when you're mix and matching with membrane buttons.
 

fusion_power

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Wow, never heared of that before but looks neat. And it's modular, even better. :)
Somehow it feels like everyone can pop out such devices nowadays within a felt short time. No clue how long they developed that Handheld but it was for sure shorter than the Pyra development.
 

ZXDunny

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We've certainly come a long way since the GP32, haven't we? I ordered a RetroStone, but as I have a 7 year old, I may get this one too.
 

EvilDragon

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Wow, never heared of that before but looks neat. And it's modular, even better. :)
Somehow it feels like everyone can pop out such devices nowadays within a felt short time. No clue how long they developed that Handheld but it was for sure shorter than the Pyra development.
Just compare the features and you know what's taking so long ;)
Hardware, screen and shell are probably about 5 times simpler and easier than the Pyra.
 

levi

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Yeah, that design was probably made around that size of screen being found, whereas the pyra was designed around the keyboard and it's modularity, then a screen was found to fit the hole made. I'm not sure the shell is that much simpler, with them needing to make little boxes for the battery and the motherboard and the screen and so on, but the Pyra does have a lot more buttons and connectors needing precise holes made, which took a few revisions. And having a full keyboard keymat taking up almost half of the board space does make the Pyra routing and manufacturing a mite more challenging, I guess.

I think it just goes to show, with the Pandora still being used by a few of us after around 8 years, how many of these will still be being used by their original owners after that long? I fully expect the Pyra to have as long a lifespace, if not even longer thanks to it's extra features and it's modularity (which then brings Trigger's broom into the equation - Trigger had one broom all his life, but it had ten new heads and twenty new handles over the years).
 

fusion_power

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Just compare the features and you know what's taking so long ;)
Hardware, screen and shell are probably about 5 times simpler and easier than the Pyra.
I know, that's why I don't compare both devices directly. ;) I just wanted to point out that people can actualy make such devices nowadays without being a big company.
I guess the modular aspect of the Gameshell indeed took alot of the development time, compared if you would make such a device non-modular.
 
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