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Dingoo A320 & Its Open Handheld Competitors


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#1 openxdkman

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 07:06 PM

I've just purchased a Dingoo A320
It's very small, light and cheap (think about it as a smaller ds with only one screen and no touch screen).
But homebrew is allowed on it by its chinese manufacturer and it has some minimal 3D capabilities (no gpu, no hw acceleration, just 1 mips 32 bits processor named JZ4732 from Ingenics running at 400Mhz, 32Mb of Ram).
You even receive with it a video cable to connect it to tv, which works perfectly... (renders 320x240 in pal or ntsc)
Best looking game offered with it, '7 days salvation', looks like a clone of the first resident evil on ps1 (you even have to save by typing on an old mechanical typewritter). But the main interest is probably old handhelds emulators coming with it (useless to say improved ones you may compile yourself...).

For such low price (below $90), low dimensions and low weight, it's quite... impressive.

Sdk is free (named s2dsdk, but some site explain how to compile without it)

EDIT:
It seems that an 'open handheld console war' is about to start.
Their manufacturers allow hombrew dev and supply free linux based sdk/drivers/samples.
Here are the protagonits (from the cheapest to the most expensive) :

Dingoo A320 (Chinese)
$80
400Mhz JZ4732 CPU running proprietary small OS (Linux can be installed *)
No Coprocessor
No OpenGL ES compliant 3D hardware (no accelerated 3D hw)
32Mb Ram
320x240 2.9" 16.7 million colours LCD
TV out (PAL/NTSC) (TV cable included in package)
Around 7 Hours battery life
4 Gb internal storage (box refers to alternate 2Gb/8Gb models)
USB 2.0
SDHC card slot
Digital gaming controls
Compatible Flash 6

(*) Check first if your Dingoo is compatible or you may get a black screen!
(see below)

Gemei x760+ (Chinese)
(Not really open handeld, not officially dev-friendly, but since it's a close
clone of Dingoo A320 -same price, probably same CPU, everything similar:
price, package, features, except FM Radio abilities 76-108Mhz, 1 yr old, it
seems that we will be able to install Linux on this one too soon thru hack)

GP2X Wiz (Korean)
$180
533Mhz ARM9 CPU running Linux
No Coprocessor
OpenGL 1.1 ES compliant 3D hardware
64Mb Ram
320x240 2.8" 16.7 million colours touchscreen Oled
No TV out (Announced, but considered crappy, then dropped)
Around 5 Hours battery life
1Gb internal storage
USB 2.0
SDHC card slot
Digital gaming controls
Compatible Flash 8 according to manufacturer
Compatible Flash 7 or less, according to testers

Chumby (Western devs piloting a chinese factory)
$200
350Mhz ARM Freescale iMX21 MC94MX21DVKN3 CPU running Linux
No Coprocessor
No OpenGL ES compliant 3D hardware
64Mb Ram
320x240 3.5" 65536 colours touchscreen LCD
No TV out
Around 3 Hours battery life ($50 ER-PHOTO battery -optional-)
64Mb internal storage
Dual USB 2.0 (+1 internal)
No card slot
No digital gaming controls (3-axis & squeeze motion sensors instead)
Wifi 802.11b/g
TTL Serial port 38400 8N1

Pandora (Western devs piloting a chinese factory)
$330
600Mhz ARM OMAP3530 Cortex-A8 CPU running Linux
430Mhz TMS320C64x DSP Core
110Mhz PowerVR SGX 530 OpenGL 2.0 ES compliant 3D hardware
256Mb Ram
800x480 4.3" 16.7 million colours touchscreen LCD
TV out thru SVideo cable
Around 10+ Hours battery life
512Mb internal storage
USB 2.0
Dual SDHC card slots
Dual Analog and Digital gaming controls
Wifi 802.11b/g
Bluetooth
43 buttons QWERTY keyboard

Dingoo started well (some homebrew flooding immediately started). GP2X Wiz is just starting. Chumby is out for a few years now but seems to aim more towards internet browsing than gaming (no game controls beside touch screen and 3-axis & squeeze motion sensors). Pandora (a dev's dream) has sold off the first batch of 4000 units (Grats and good luck to them! Craig, Cpasjuste & co).

For people not interested in 3D but just 2D emulators, I think Dingoo will win (perfect cheap stuff for kids).

About 3D I don't know what to say... yet. The higher OpenGL ES version, the better, probably. But at high price point, I think people will turn toward standard devices such as standard laptop, iPhone, etc...

Wait & See...
(Look for Craigix's comparisons video on YouTube. Ex: Dingoo/Wiz one)

IMPORTANT EDIT:
(*) About black screen on Dingoo. Linux booting code on Dingoo is made by homebrewers, after analysis of existing tools (unbricking tools especially).
Recent Dingoos have a different LCD controller and thus if you use an older Linux 'distro' you may fail Linux installation. Also in order to unbrick you will need a recent unbricking tool version. You can detect what is your model in the System Setup=>About screen. An hidden white screen full of model details appears if you press : up, right, down, up, right, down. B to exit screen but sometimes you may need to insert a pin in the reset hole. First LCD model was ILI9325, new one is ILI9331. This string appears in the hidden white screen (I have new one). So before touching booting sequence, be sure the code you are using has been tested on your hardware model.

Edited by openxdkman, 11 June 2009 - 06:41 PM.


#2 Mikesshunk

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 02:50 AM

Wow. I am seriously considering buying one of those. I've been looking to replace my mp3 player for a while and this looks pretty good. Emulation, music and video playback, games, av out. Wow. that sounds like a steal for $90

#3 openxdkman

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 03:31 PM

I've updated first post with an important notice :
If you try some Linux installation method on Dingoo without checking if hardware model is compatible, you may end up with a bricked Dingoo (but tools exist to unbrick it). So read a lot before jumping!

(Personally I love the 2 seconds boot of original firmware, so I'll see if I can avoid Linux myself...)

Edited by openxdkman, 04 June 2009 - 03:33 PM.





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