Accessories/ultimate Docking Station Thread


MWeston

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Chip gave me a good idea in regards to the constant onslaught of feature requests from new/exisiting users.

We all "should" know that more hardware will not be added to the system other than what has been decided on now. This has established the price point. More stuff can only make it go up from here.

How about a topic where everyone can discuss what you would add to Pandora as an optional accessory (ie. attachement)? You can call this the ultimate docking station thread.

You could list anything you want but also say what you would pay for it. I look forward to "I want a 160GB hard drive and I will pay $10 for it", but seriously put thought to it! :)

This is just for fun, but something could come out of it someday if the system sells well.
 
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MWeston said:
Chip gave me a good idea in regards to the constant onslaught of feature requests from new/exisiting users.

We all "should" know that more hardware will not be added to the system other than what has been decided on now. This has established the price point. More stuff can only make it go up from here.

How about a topic where everyone can discuss what you would add to Pandora as an optional accessory (ie. attachement)? You can call this the ultimate docking station thread.

You could list anything you want but also say what you would pay for it. I look forward to "I want a 160GB hard drive and I will pay $10 for it", but seriously put thought to it! :)

This is just for fun, but something could come out of it someday if the system sells well.
Bluetooth adapter for my headset so when I emulate ventrilo I can talk on there wirelessly since I'm lazy and hate wires. I'd pay $50, don't care if its just a usb adapter.
 
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plopperz

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Everything I really need will come in the box. So I don't think I'll buy any accessories. Except maybe $20 TV-Out cables
 

Holokauston

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Well are we talking a docking station or a "addon" ??

If its a docking station then a backup system, battery charger (given), more usb connections, ethernet cable connection, a DVI port, 5.1 sound, DVD/CD player/recorder and a coffee cup, all I can think of now, would probably pay like say 100-150€ ??

if it's a addon to just carry with you? then extra battery, usb hub that's it -- 40€??
 

greendots

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IR receiver for remote control
TV-out HD and regular
surround sound audio
parallel port for using original game controllers
ac port for charging
usb hub (4 ports)
 

MWeston

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Holokauston said:
Well are we talking a docking station or a "addon" ??
It can be whatever you want. I thought it might be nice to focus in one topic for anything not inside the case. An attachment suggestion might affect hole placement on the final case if it sounds like a great idea, but this topic remains purely brainstorms for now ;)
 
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Holokauston

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MWeston said:
Holokauston said:
Well are we talking a docking station or a "addon" ??
It can be whatever you want. I thought it might be nice to focus in one topic for anything not inside the case. An attachment suggestion might affect hole placement on the final case if it sounds like a great idea, but this topic remains purely brainstorms for now ;)


As long as you pack it with a coffee mug I'm happy, specially a cup from TAMS in England, Ericsson uses or at least used them for their cups and better cups are hard to find :)
 
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icurafu

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Just a quick bit on a Dock (or BoB, if you may)

Think about it in terms of the audiance. Pandora is not a business devices, so it will not act as a typical dock. Users will be primarily gamers and secondly, Multimedia geeks. The Multimedia geeks will be more likely to use it while the gamers will think games on the TV sounds cool and get bored with it after a few rounds, only using it rarely afterwards. (In most cases)

So from this perspective, the Dock should have:
-Atleast Four USB Ports at the front.
-TV-Out options. S-video, composite and component.
-Audio-out via R and L plug and optical.
-If possible, atleast one USB port at the back to hide ugly dongle(s).
-Infrared receiver with a remote control. (Can be the cheap trashy ones, as long as it is compatible with standards so I can use my TV remote instead. I can go into detail if required)
-Do not support unpowered mode. It just makes things too confusing. Do not use different power adaptor to the Pandora.
-Dock should have an ethernet adaptor which could be a USB to ethernet adaptor included to save costs. (WIFI should also be left available and not disabled)
-As the volumn slider is close to the Dock port, the dock needs to be able to control volumn via the remote.

I would pay $50 US dollars for this straight away. $60, I'll think about it and get it. $70, I'll buy if I read lots of good reviews. $80, only if it ios praised and not until I break down crying while entering my credit card details.

Thanks, I expect to see my dream Dock within 6 months. ;)
 

icurafu

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infrared requires less power to send to. It works with current remotes that don't cost more than a buck to produce.

I don't know anyone who uses a bluetooth remote. I don't know any Mediaplayer or TV that uses it, and I've seen a lot of media players.

Well, there is the WiiMote, but as much as people get excited about it, very few people actually use it outside of the Wii Console. (Yes, I would love to play Quake3 at 720P on my Pandora with a WiiMote on my TV.)
 

Kings

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All I can really see would be adding component out. If there are more people interested, I wouldn't mind a MIDI output (amazing drivers for existing USB dongles make this pointless).
 

Holokauston

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icurafu said:
infrared requires less power to send to. It works with current remotes that don't cost more than a buck to produce.

I don't know anyone who uses a bluetooth remote. I don't know any Mediaplayer or TV that uses it, and I've seen a lot of media players.

Well, there is the WiiMote, but as much as people get excited about it, very few people actually use it outside of the Wii Console. (Yes, I would love to play Quake3 at 720P on my Pandora with a WiiMote on my TV.)

Every singel mobile today releases with built in bluetooth remote and HIDs?
you can control mouse and give simple commands even to the desktop :)

also there is remotes like
http://www.shopbot.com.au/p-86766.html
but not very common since mobiles have it, but the are really easy, just as any mouse/keyboard via bluetooth :)
 
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icurafu

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I've tried to use my mobile before as a remote for my MP3 player on my laptop. Total disaster. But hey, maybe you've got a better phone.

Aynway, when I was studying, I had to unlock my phone to skip a song, but since the application was running, it didn't go to standby, so the batteries were being drained in a few hours. A cheap infrared remote will last years on terrible batteries without replacement.

I guess it depends who you are, but I think the majority of user will be comfitable with infrared. The rest can install $5 bluetooth dongles and use their phones.
 

Chip

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Most of the commonly requested stuff is available already from third parties: Bluetooth, USB hubs, battery chargers, webcams, etc. I propose you resell existing products in these categories instead of manufacturing Pandora-specific versions. Since most USB or SDIO accessories will need drivers to make them work, who better to write them than the guys who built Pandora in the first place? Pick one model of each device (preferably the smallest one that is easily available), write drivers for it, and sell it as an official Pandora accessory.

End users will get the benefit of knowing that it will work out-of-the-box with no problems. They will also get the satisfaction of knowing that their purchase is furthering the cause of Pandora hardware development. You guys will get to make a reasonable markup without actually having to manufacture anything.


Although, if you do want to manufacture a Pandora accessory that we could really use, I have a suggestion for that too. According to TI's OMAP3530 stats, it is capable of 30fps 720p MPEG4 playback. As it stands, we don't have any way to get HD video off of the system. I've seen a few USB-to-VGA and USB-to-HDMI boxes available online, but they're expensive and who knows what the driver situation is for them.

Back in one of the many "What, no component video out!?!?" threads, you mentioned that the main reasons you couldn't add a DVI chip were cost and board space. Well, now that we're entertaining the possibility of external accessories, neither of those are really a concern :D I guess the question now is whether the USB 2.0 bus has the bandwidth for it.

There have been many requests for HD video out, and making a Pandora-specific converter is probably the cheapest (and possibly only) way to do it. Heck, I'd definitely buy one if it were in the $50 range.
 
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Tobriand

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Well, a docking station is probably going to have one of three purposes:

1) Turning Pandora into a desktop
2) Acting as a booster to making Pandora a media center.
3) Boosting functionality in general terms.

In the first instance, the obvious things that a dock should have are:
- Bluetooth
- VGA-out (this could be accomplished by transforming on the normal TV-out signals - yes it would look bad, but it would *work* on a normal monitor, which is the important thing)
- More USB ports
- An Ethernet port
- A Webcam; possibly a higher quality microphone.
- High quality speakers. Or at least higher than in the actual unit.
- Possibly a WiFi signal booster (if that's even possible)
- Possibly additional storage (say an 80gb drive or something)

This doesn't really give you any advantages over, say, an external HD, a USB hub, and various USB pieces of kit, except that it's all packaged into one nice err... package. But it would mean you could treat the pandora as effectively a desktop machine - just one that you could carry around in diminished form pretty easily.

The second possibility requires slightly different features, and certainly, different priorities:
- Lots of storage, (at least 250gb, possibly 500gb, depending on HDD prices at the time) such that everything can be kept on the device.
- Bluetooth for headset compatibility
- Four USB host ports to enable decent numbers for multiplayer.
- Infra-red to make it compatible with your TV-remote. Especially, programmable for those buttons which are designed to control a same-brand-as-this DVD/TV/STB which, inevitably, you don't have.
- Break out terminals for TV-out as standard SVHS connector and composite respectively, along with standard audio connectors to aid ease of connection to TVs.

This would let you store whatever you wanted on the PandoraBox - preferably absolutely everything - and control it using any method that's likely to be lying around your living room, and of course, display on anything it could already, just more conveniently. Mostly it's a subset of the desktop requirements, except for the required increase of storage capacity.

Finally, the general feature boost (which I suspect would be most lightweight as they go):
- Bluetooth
- Webcam
- Standard outputs
- High quality mic and mic inputs
- VGA out (again, presumably by a TV-out signal transform)
- Extra USB ports

And, if the final one is designed to be portable as opposed to stationary:
- Accelerometer/Tachometer
- Ambient light sensor
- Any other input method we can come up with that Pandora doesn't already have!

Price-wise? No idea... though I'd prefer £40 or so regardless of the featureset. This is, of course, horribly unreaslistic... the only way to achieve it would be not to include hard disk storage, just room for one, which the user then gets later in their chosen size.

NB also that I'm unsure at present whether I'd actually want such a cradle - Pandora does seem to do all I believe it'll ever need to out of the box, or with trivial modification, so I'll probably just stick with the main machine :).
 
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