Burning Pyra Questions Ahead of Preorders


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tigerroast

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Hello!

I've been keeping track of Pyra development for well over a year now (seriously, you guys have something magical here), and a lot of my questions have been answered by either waiting for the news or doing a bit of extra research (whether within the boards or quick internet searches). There's just a few questions that have gone unanswered over this stretch of time.

I could probably wait until the Pyra drops to get the answers, but since the community is so accommodating (from what I've seen anyway), I figure there's no harm in just asking.

-Is there a remote chance of Dragonbox offering some kind of "Pyra insurance" or even some sort of "extended warranty?" What I'd want is some form of coverage in case of incidental damage or in case Wentworth Miller swipes my Pyra for use in escaping prison again. Sure, I could just pay for repair costs+shipping, but buying warranty or insurance would be easier on the wallet in the short term. Worst case scenario, nothing happens and Dragonbox gets a l'il sumthin' extra.

-Would there be some sort of payment plan when the Pyra drops? I know this is a type of question that would be answered when we get there, and I know that I have all this time to save money until then. I'd just like to know if that might be an option down the road. I don't know about you, but ~$800+ is one hell of a dime to drop on a handheld. Perhaps a preorder+paying forward is the way to go right now, but that won't be an option after the Pyra is released.

-Would newer kernel versions be officially supported for the Pyra? The OMAP5 got atomic mode-setting support merged into kernel 4.2, but Jessie (presumably what PyraOS will be based on) uses the 3.16 kernel. There's also power management improvements, audio cleanups, and EXT4 encryption in the newer kernels which may or may not be of use to the Pyra. I could probably just use a different OS and go from there, but I'd prefer to use the OS with the most support for the platform for obvious reasons. That, and I'm not very good at building my own kernels.

-A premature, preliminary question, but what kind of hardware may be expected in future CPU boards? I know people were talking up Intel Bay Trail and Allwinner A80 in the past, but isn't open-source the mantra in this burg? Personally, I don't care, but the developers do. It will probably be a long while before any officially-supported upgrades or "sidegrades" get proposed (Nikolaus is a damn scientist, but I doubt his ability to work on 3 boards at once since he's also human). I'd just like to know what's realistic and, therefore, what to expect. Maybe something capable of OpenGL ES 3.1+ to be used with Vulkan. Or a Freescale processor to use the Etnaviv driver.

-Any update on bringing the docking station to reality? I haven't seen any mention of it in a while, so it's probably shelved for the time being (not being a concern during active development).

-Another premature question, but is there the possibility of a "game mode" or official "gaming-only OS" for the Pyra? As powerful as it may be, there's only so much the OMAP5 can do, and running a desktop and heavy emulator at the same time puts it between a knife and a wall. Perhaps something akin to what RetroPie is at its core could free up some CPU+GPU time.
 

TrashyMG

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-Would newer kernel versions be officially supported for the Pyra? The OMAP5 got atomic mode-setting support merged into kernel 4.2, but Jessie (presumably what PyraOS will be based on) uses the 3.16 kernel. There's also power management improvements, audio cleanups, and EXT4 encryption in the newer kernels which may or may not be of use to the Pyra. I could probably just use a different OS and go from there, but I'd prefer to use the OS with the most support for the platform for obvious reasons. That, and I'm not very good at building my own kernels.
on ARM flavor of Debian there typically is no bundled kernel, it's typically provided by the people making the device. last I knew aTc was working with Kernel 4.5 on the devboard.

-A premature, preliminary question, but what kind of hardware may be expected in future CPU boards? I know people were talking up Intel Bay Trail and Allwinner A80 in the past, but isn't open-source the mantra in this burg? Personally, I don't care, but the developers do. It will probably be a long while before any officially-supported upgrades or "sidegrades" get proposed (Nikolaus is a damn scientist, but I doubt his ability to work on 3 boards at once since he's also human). I'd just like to know what's realistic and, therefore, what to expect. Maybe something capable of OpenGL ES 3.1+ to be used with Vulkan. Or a Freescale processor to use the Etnaviv driver.
Well if there isn't enough interest in the current OMAP5 flavor of Pyra, we may never get an updated SoC board... EvilDragon will need to fully answer this.



-Another premature question, but is there the possibility of a "game mode" or official "gaming-only OS" for the Pyra? As powerful as it may be, there's only so much the OMAP5 can do, and running a desktop and heavy emulator at the same time puts it between a knife and a wall. Perhaps something akin to what RetroPie is at its core could free up some CPU+GPU time.
Well on the Pandora we had mini-menu which was just that... Not sure if the author of that is planning a pyra version... Knowing the people working on the OS, they will try and make it as light weight as possible. Before my devboard died, at idle, I was consuming less than 100MBs and the CPU loading was really light when using XFCE4.
 
T

tigerroast

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on ARM flavor of Debian there typically is no bundled kernel, it's typically provided by the people making the device. last I knew aTc was working with Kernel 4.5 on the devboard.
Ah, noted. Thanks for clearing that up. I'm not too familiar with Debian ARM.

Well if there isn't enough interest in the current OMAP5 flavor of Pyra, we may never get an updated SoC board... EvilDragon will need to fully answer this.
I see. I'll wait until the real preorders start getting offered, but based on the pre-preorders and $1000+ offers being bought, I don't think this will be a problem. You never know, I guess.

Well on the Pandora we had mini-menu which was just that... Not sure if the author of that is planning a pyra version... Knowing the people working on the OS, they will try and make it as light weight as possible. Before my devboard died, at idle, I was consuming less than 100MBs and the CPU loading was really light when using XFCE4.
That's...almost nothing, actually. Thinking about it, I doubt any emulator would be strapped for resources when there's another 1500MB+ of RAM available. When the overhead's that low, the main advantage of a "mini-menu"-esque setup would be dumping all of the other cruft in order to jump straight into the games. Kind of like Lutris, minus the desktop.
 

rygD

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I think you will probably need to go to an outside source for insurance for accident and theft stuff, but it is worth asking. ED seems to be really good about repairs (I skipped sending my Pandora in since the possible display issue doesn't usually bother me, but, based on what I see here, they repair manufacturing issues without charge within the warranty period or whatever it is that lasts 2 years or so (I may be wrong about all of that, so hopefully he will speak up to confirm or deny it)).

Not sure where you live. Within Germany you can pay using some company I forgot the name of, and you make regular payments on that. It sucks for the rest of us, as we have to pay it all at once or use a credit card.

I am also curious about the docking station, even if I never end up buying one.
 

WizardStan

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I doubt any emulator would be strapped for resources when there's another 1500MB+ of RAM available.
I seem to recall one of EvilDragon's earliest videos with the devboard running two PSX emulators (at 100%), a web browser with a bunch of tabs, and editing an image in GIMP, with plenty of room to spare.
 

levi

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I think you will probably need to go to an outside source for insurance for accident and theft stuff, but it is worth asking.
I would expect your home insurance people, or people like that to give you a better rate than ED ever could. ED would have to guard against a significant portion of people trying to scam him, while a big insurer will have millions of accounts, so a few hundred scammers aren't as big of a problem.
 
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tigerroast

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I think you will probably need to go to an outside source for insurance for accident and theft stuff, but it is worth asking. ED seems to be really good about repairs [...]

Not sure where you live. Within Germany you can pay using some company I forgot the name of, and you make regular payments on that. It sucks for the rest of us, as we have to pay it all at once or use a credit card.
Well, I haven't seen any posts about him being a total nutjob when it comes to repairs. That alone puts ED many levels above the neanderthals in my area that normally do service and repair. It's like you have to go through the minions, guardians, and final boss just to get a laptop LCD screen replaced. Send help.

I live in USA, so I guess that company's out of the question for me then. Man, I hope ED offers a payment plan...

I seem to recall one of EvilDragon's earliest videos with the devboard running two PSX emulators (at 100%), a web browser with a bunch of tabs, and editing an image in GIMP, with plenty of room to spare.
I reckon you're referring to one of the Gamescom videos form last year. I could be wrong though. I seem to recall it being a bunch of Genesis emulators, KDE, Firefox and GIMP. And something else. Either way, optimization is the greatest tool for Pyra/Pandora apps.

I would expect your home insurance people, or people like that to give you a better rate than ED ever could. ED would have to guard against a significant portion of people trying to scam him, while a big insurer will have millions of accounts, so a few hundred scammers aren't as big of a problem.
This is true. An "easier said than done" situation. I suppose buying extended warranty wouldn't hurt either.
 

Askarus

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I seem to recall one of EvilDragon's earliest videos with the devboard running two PSX emulators (at 100%), a web browser with a bunch of tabs, and editing an image in GIMP, with plenty of room to spare.
You forgot the + 1 Megadrive Emulator.
2xPSX + 2xMD was a little too much. For the CPU.
We had Firefox with some Tabs, Gimp with a picture on a KDE Desktop in the background.

It didn't even use half of the RAM.
 
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tigerroast

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I've also proved it's really difficult to consume all 2GB of ram with typical and abnormal usage..
"Let's bring up CNN...heavy stuff..." Enjoyed that line more than I should have. As I did with the rest of the video. I don't know how people can stand that dark Gmail theme, and the Diablo II-Starcraft-Blood trio sounded very trippy. Almost like if one played a game while off their face on something and becomes one with the universe during the final boss.

Quite a capable machine the Pyra will be, running out of CPU time before RAM. Not even sure if setting up swap space would be necessary. That, along with how smoothly PCSX ReARMed ran, makes me wonder if PS2 emulation (regardless of Android overhead) is within the ballpark.
 

Wally

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-Would there be some sort of payment plan when the Pyra drops? I know this is a type of question that would be answered when we get there, and I know that I have all this time to save money until then. I'd just like to know if that might be an option down the road. I don't know about you, but ~$800+ is one hell of a dime to drop on a handheld. Perhaps a preorder+paying forward is the way to go right now, but that won't be an option after the Pyra is released.
I hardly doubt EvilDragon has the time or money to enable a payment plan option, it'd be more expensive to maintain has he'd have to utilise an accountant and perhaps if things go wrong, a creditor (that is if the Pyra came to you first before payments were completed) to collect remaining debts. You'd probably have to pay interest and it'd be likely 40 - 80% more expensive.
 
T

tigerroast

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I hardly doubt EvilDragon has the time or money to enable a payment plan option, it'd be more expensive to maintain has he'd have to utilise an accountant and perhaps if things go wrong, a creditor (that is if the Pyra came to you first before payments were completed) to collect remaining debts. You'd probably have to pay interest and it'd be likely 40 - 80% more expensive.
This is a likely scenario. I'm mainly asking about a payment plan in case my highly-liberal guess on the price is correct (or in the ballpark). Looking at the "How To Calculate the Price of the Pyra" thread (and being entertained by the critics and detractors getting policed to death by ED & Co.), ~$650 is the common upper limit. I don't think I have to worry, but I won't be crossing my fingers.
 

Wally

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This is a likely scenario. I'm mainly asking about a payment plan in case my highly-liberal guess on the price is correct (or in the ballpark). Looking at the "How To Calculate the Price of the Pyra" thread (and being entertained by the critics and detractors getting policed to death by ED & Co.), ~$650 is the common upper limit. I don't think I have to worry, but I won't be crossing my fingers.
It'll probably be out by the time you get your cash gathered anyway :)
 
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tigerroast

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The Pandora+Pebble thread seems to be making some progress, albeit a lot of problems with trying to port Sailfish's Pebble support have marred any said progress, unfortunately. Also, just remembered this as a method of connecting to a Pebble smartwatch via Linux as opposed to connecting via Android. It does make sense to fork Sailfish's repo and try to rebuild it for Pandora/Pyra rather than starting from scratch, but all of the problems with doing so might make a simple Python front-end seem attractive.

I don't really care about smartwatches very much (especially those cursed watch phones), Pebble being the notable exception, although their early models look juvenile to me and the Steel is ugly. However, after seeing the Pebble Time Steel and Pebble Time Round, having a watch to interface with the Pyra quickly became an item on my Checklist for Pyra Ownership (tm) (an expensive one, but an item nonetheless). Think about it: we're already too first-world to do the simple action of pulling a phone out of a pocket to check notifications (bla bla bla mountain biking bla bla bla), but the Pyra, with its comparatively large size and clamshell design, gives owners a 100% valid reason to have a quicker way to accept calls/view SMS/check notifications while on the move.
 
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