a problem with a lot of these things is that the controls kinda suck. A lot. Buttons aren’t an afterthought on these kinds of tools, people!
Also kinda wish that people would stop putting things that can run linux into some of these machines. You could probably go so much further by stripping stuff down, and it would be a funner device to program (maybe?)
I’m whining but this is still a cool list and I didn’t know about some of these (pokitto looks really cool)
I have the ODROID-GO. While not stellar, I find the controls pretty decent for a 32 USD device.
The plastic shell is fairly rigid, it comes with the battery and it’s only missing the SD card.
I have one of these too; it’s one of the only ones on the list that doesn’t run Linux.
Other odroid platforms do run linux, so I wonder how difficult it would be to port it.
The Odroid go uses an ESP32 CPU that has 520kb of RAM, so I don’t think that’s realistic.
I see. Yea, that’s quite different than their other ARM devices.
The spec on Odroid wiki mentions that it has 4MB of PSRAM. But still a far cry from running Linux.
I am in love with my Gameshell. The controls are just great for the kind of games that work well in a handheld format IMO.
Possibly not good for massive precision fighting or whatever.
Also, I am REALLY enjoying playing PICO-8 games on it :)
This article is missing the big daddy of handheld for developers the Open Pandora
and its upcoming successor the Pyra
It’s worth noting that the pocket chip is in a limited and final production run. The new company behind it got a hold of some of the few remaining processors. When they run out of this batch, the machine will again be unavailable.
I once bought a Sharp Zaurus SL-C1000 to polish source code en route. The screen was good enough, but the keyboard wasn’t.
I miss my Zaurus a lot. What a great little device.
Doesn’t even mention the Freeplay CM3, which I have and really enjoy! It uses a GBA shell, which are cheaply available everywhere, rather than designing a new form factor. I’m currently working my way through some of the classics on it!
Edit: On second thought, maybe it’s a different category of machine, because it’s just a RPi running Linux and not a native gaming platform.
Wow! I had no idea there were so many of these platforms out there.
While it’s pretty obvious why they have them, I’m a little disappointed that the screen resolutions haven’t improved on this class of device. Around 2009 I picked up a Dingoo a320, a similar type of device that sported the same 320×240 screen many of these still have. While sufficient for emulating retro games, it really limits these device’s possibilities especially when displaying just text.
Going back to my 2009 device, it wasn’t far off from high-end devices such as the Blackberry Tour’s 2.4” 480×360 screen, released the same year. Even such a screen today would more than double the pixel count over 320x240 and I’d expect it to be dirt cheap these days.
I know a lot of these are riding on the manufacturing capability of existing mass-market devices. The screen on the pocketchip, for instance, is the exact same screen used by the PSP, which means it’s super cheap and easily available since Sony optimized the hell out of that supply chain.
As a matter of fact I am investigating ways to make devices like these practical for development.
Startiing out from the concept of writing with a gamepad. Something which I’ve had some success with. Theoretically and in tests beating moving a cursor on a virtual keyboard. This is without any of the more advanced features that I have in mind.
Initialy I’d thought about targeting a device such as the GpdWin which has two thumbsticks. But anything with a gamepad setup would work.
Theoretically you could get 14 bits per second from a selection movement i.e. moving a stick. If that data is feed into a model that is trained onwhat you are doing you end up with comression and higher through put.
From my studies I’ve found that human hands are not equal. So one hand is doing supportive action and the other more advanced stuff. So in terms of tennis one hand throws up the ball for a serve and the other one hits it.
As such I’d say that the two thumbs could be used like this. One providing likely input and the other one doing autocomleption or whatever.
As a vim and terminal user I’d say that if the commands available there where presented in a similar tree based format a really powerful concept could be made.
Basically we are talking about tying each finger to a huffman tee like structure of most probable/recent events and voila a practical mode of developing on the move.
I’d say that a PS/3 controller for instance should capture most of the output capabiilities that you get from a keyboard. What you loose in keys you gain in not having the delay of moving the fingers. The length of the movement increaases the odds of errors as well so it’s not only time. With a gamepad you have analog and 2d input as well so there’s more data there.
A very useful rundown, thanks!
They remind me so much of the Atari Lynx.