What Do You Think The Pandora Should Feature First?

What's it the Pandora should feature first?

  • A good GUI and menu system

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Fullspeed emulators

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters

Esn said:
One thing I don't quite understand... so will things like audio & video playback, ebooks, and so on be integrated into the firmware? What if somebody later writes a better audio player than the "official" one, will it be easy to replace the one with the other?
Most of that type of thing will not be included, both because of licensing restrictions and to save space in the internal NAND flash.
You shouldn't need to replace any software on the NAND yourself, although you can if you want to. The NAND will contain the OS and basic interface only. Anything else will be available from the file archives here on this site.
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This really seems to be an extension of the "UMPC vs Emul-machine" debate. As far as I can see, the GUI argument also factors in decent (efficient) audio/video playing system. Not many people have been discussing this so far, and its pretty important.

Emulators are awesome, and I'm excited about them as the most hardcore people you would expect to find here, bue I'm also excited about the multimedia playback.

It's really a tough choice between the two. I guess it would boil down to your sales plan. Anybody who bought and enjoyed a GP2X (myself included) would go crazy over the Pandora. Generally marketing it as a UMPC seems to be a bit more of a gamble (Try to imagine selling the GP2X as a portable movie player!).

As for making the GUI perfect out of the gate, screw that. Everybody improves the interface after release. There is such a thing as "good enough"

As long as is isn't just a CLI :)
I would choose a GREAT UI. Here's why.

1. The UI will ship with the console, meaning it will be stored on the NAND flash. Emulators will not ship with the console, and they will be downloaded AT THE USERS CHOOSING onto removable SD cards. The fact that the UI is stored on the NAND definitely makes it sound more permanent and thats how it should be, permanent.

2. Selling Points! In order for this thing to fly off the shelfs (errr.. internet) we need to get people interested.

Right now on openpandora.org, the first thing you see is a small but important spec sheet. This is our current Selling point, its what gets people interested. Although these selling points are more oriented to Tech Savys who know what they mean, it's great because that is our current target audience. We don't want to many average schmoes right now, we want tech savy people who can help finish the console and provide good input to make it that much better (just like where doing now). However, when the console releases this will no Longer be a good Selling point because it means nothing to a lot of people. Heres somewhat how I see it if we go with the emulator driven development.

Pandora Features (Currently working)
-Emulates All of the following consoles
Adventure Vision
Atari 2600/7800
Fairchild Channel F
Gameboy & Gameboy Color
Sega Master System & Game Gear
Sega SG-1000
Apple II
Apple IIGS
Atari 800/XL/XE/5200
BBC Micro (possible zx-81 port, not confirmed)
Commodore 64
Commodore PET
Commodore Plus/4
Commodore VIC-20
Dragon 32/64
Oric 1
Sam Coupé
Sinclair QL
Sinclair Spectrum
Sinclair ZX-80/81
Tandy Color Computer
Tandy TRS-80
Thompson TO7-70
Atari Lynx
NeoGeo CD
NeoGeo Pocket/Color
Philips CDI
286 DOS PC (& 386)
Atari ST
TI 99/4A
TI-92 Calculator
Atari Jaguar
Gameboy Advance
Virtual Boy
386 DOS PC (& 286)
-All the other crap that we know/asume

Most people are going to look at that and go "Cool! Thats a long list...but I only know 5 of them. Still impressive". Which is far enough, but lets say we go with a great UI, that would give us a selling point

Pandora Features (Currently working)
-Emulates all of the following consoles
Gameboy & Gameboy Color
Gameboy Advance
-Commemorated and Award winning UI that has caused apple to give up on leading the market in design.
-All the other crap that we know/asume

Okay maybe that last part was a little to over the top but you get the idea :p I think to this your going to get more of a "Hey Look! It emulates all the systems I wanted, and its got that really nice UI! Its got everything I could ask for!"

3. GP2x software will most likely be quickly ported to Pandora. I could easily see most of that emulator list getting done withing the first few weeks after release. That emulator list is essentially a list of many small projects. The GUI is a big project. You cannot have an entire community work on a big project. However you can have many smaller projects distributed across the entire community and expect to get them done. The emulators will come very quickly after release.

4. To have a GUI that lacks in some kind of way promotes for someone to do it better. Although their will be people making spin offs of their own GUIs and what not, if the GUI is amazing people might just not even bother trying to compete and we will have less spin offs. THIS IS GOOD IF WE HAVE A GREAT GUI TO START WITH! Less spin offs, means less to choose from, means less confusion and incompatibility's between software.

Thank you for actually reading this entire wall of text :D just my.... $3
Well, if we've learned anything from the GP2X and their constant shuffle for updates, releasing very unstable firmwares, and having (even in v4.0) a long string of incomplete basic functions that make navigating and working with/around the system a big pain, fixing and getting the firmware/OS side of things seems to be of utmost importance.

People are already frothing to take a hack at this thing to see what they can do with it, I doubt there will be any lack of software, ever for the Pandora. Week one will probably be a big week for apps and emulators.

So, having gone through the horror of GPH's involvement with the GP2X scene as being represented by horrible firmware updates, I want to get as far away from that as possible.
Voted for the GUI, for me it has to be quick booting, functional, customisable and easy to skin rather than looking ultra slick at release. I'd be more than happy with something along the lines of GMenu2X.

It is of course difficult and probably a waste of time to give suggestions GUI wise without knowing what stage of the design /creation process you are at now. So at the risk of repeating myself, why not show us what you've got so far?
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If we dont have a good GUI, all emulator need to have a good frontend !

Personnaly I just need a simple clear and fast GUI (lower cpu clock)... with no bug :)
Ideally with a SD/NAND browser.

Remember GP32 firmware ?

With the time some coders will code some GUI with fancy 3D effect, but we need a basic clear and fast by default.

I vote for GUI but not with a vista/compiz syndrome :D
In fact if I dislike the default GUI perhaps i'll code another one :p

You need to add some tools, like mplayer, music player and picture viewer ... for me it's more important than 3D effect in User Interface

Good luck for the choice !
I think it's better to do what makes a great review.
Anything that make a reviewer says WOW!

And usability before looks.
I'm missing two selections in the poll:

3. Fancy unique homebrew games
4. Standard applications

It's very important imho, that when the Pandora starts all 4 fields have a decent level of quality and quantity.

But I voted for GUI because I think the menu system (and the OS) must be 100% ready,functional, good looking and stable before they start selling the console as I think this is a point the devs are claiming for this project...

-A nice aspect GUI
-Customizable and expandable by the use of plugins and widgets
-Fully skinnable using xml skins and css
-A search bar, like the one on Mac OS X. It will search for anything as you type, through all the mounted filesystems. A posible implementation is "Strigi", the search engine used by KDE4
-Information about the mounted filesystems. Remember: a mounted filesystem can be a SD card, a network drive, samba (windows share), an usb storage media device like a flash usb memory, an usb multi-card reader, an usb harddisk. When you click on the SD or mounted device icon, a window will popup showing a radial map of the contents of the device (do a search for "filelight" on google, it's a very nice application for KDE), and also information about the free/used/total space, a button to eject/umount it and another button to launch it using the default file browser.
-A tarkbar, with buttons for curruently runnings applications. It has an icon that brings the GUI to the front. (The icon is the Pandora logo)

Well, all of this are some of the features of the GUI I'm building. I have nice screenshots but I think it's better to keep them hidden for the world.
EvilDragon said:
As some devs already have a Pandora and are developing for it, it's time to find out what's more important for you guys for Pandora release.

I again thinking about it and make the same decision:

EvilDragon said:
Do you want a good menu system superior to the gp2x one featuring a good audio and video player and other stuff OR do you want to have a basic menu system and a lot of fullspeed emulators for the first release? What is more important to you?

Good menu system superior to the gp2x one featuring a good audio and video player and other stuff are definitely more important for me.

EvilDragon said:
(Don't worry, the rest will come with later firmware releases, it's just what you want to have as a start).

Yes, I know it.
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It's really simple: first impressions count

Just read any review of ANY hardware device with a display. The FIRST section is titled something like "first impressions". It will focus on the acctual look of the unit itself, then it will talk about the interface.

Only after those first two hurdels will it go on to describe functionallity of the device.

First impressions count. People who review with the original software may not bother to review updates if they didn't like how the first release looked/worked. Even if they do, a follow-up review will never have the same impact as an initial review.

We are already guarenteed a working PS-One emulator at initial release. Zodd already has his developer board and is working on N64. Where else is there to go? SNES, Megadrive, C64 et all will all work at full speed with no optimizations. Half-day job? What other killer-apps do we really need?

First impressions count. The killer apps are already complete or being developed already. The 'lesser' emulators will come within a few days of release. Concentrate on making the UI the best it can be.
Mr Loon said:
Voted for the GUI, for me it has to be quick booting, functional, customisable and easy to skin rather than looking ultra slick at release.

Agreed. Let the GUI be an extension of the way the Pandora itself was designed; function over style. Some style is good, of course, as long as it doesn't get in the way (and all the functions are already taken care of). :)
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I've voted for GUI simply because when the device is finally released I'll be interested in writing some stuff for it, mainly games - and there will be the usual suspects that'll end up writing emulation based stuff for it so I don't personally see there being any issue getting emulators/applications/games on to the Pandora once it's released. That said, if it would be possible to send some units for the person/people developing the GUI and the rest to other developers I think that would work well.

It's a great idea to try and get the software sorted as much as possible before the hardware release, BUT don't forget, as soon as the hardware comes out quite a few people will start messing around developing for it, the software that ships with the Pandora should just be the tip of the iceberg.

What I (selfishly) as an intended first batch owner want for myself and what I think makes most sense for the long term success of the device are slightly different.

Great emus are fantastic for that initial 'wow' on first use. Most of us on this board whilst not perhaps really happy with launching from bash, could and would if necessary use that or more likely a simple GUI.

However, whilst the first 3000 may be a soft launch (ie not purposely sending to mags / review sites) some no doubt will get out into the wild beyond the nutters enthusiasts who frequent this site. And the first impressions of those 'outsiders' makes a big difference to the long term success of the device.

So I voted for emus as that is what I would be keenest for on day 1. Lets be honest, a lovely GUI but nothing to play is pretty disappointing.

But, given that its not physically possible to keep the first 3000 as 'beta' versions within the community, I think the opportunity to make a great first impression shouldn't be missed. I also think that want to be careful not to sail too close to the wind on the legality front (regarding emulators) - and going live with a GUI that easily allows a wide variety of apps from day 1 helps in that aspect.
Wow, Craig said it is NOT ABOUT THE FIRMWARE, only about the pretty menu system and startup video(probably) that happens the first 40 seconds you turn on the Pandora, yet people are daft and are voting for the fluffy file menu you see at boot. Personally, i'd like the simple menu like on the GP2x at launch and a later skin down the line.

Here's a fun scenario to think about when you finally, after months of waiting, get the Pandora:
Mail deliveryman drops box off, you open box, you plug in AC and turn device with preloaded SD in it, you see a supremely polished GUI at boot and swirling, colorful selections for APPS, MUSIC, VIDEOS, GAMES, and SETUP. You now have a great PMP device with gaming controls that only has a small handful of emulators to play like SNES and PSX(maybe) to start. Certainly nice to have, but not the best use of the device. You then check the Pandora file archive loaded with plenty of placeholders for applications and emulators that do not exist natively for the Pandora yet because devs who would be hard work on them are waiting with the rest of us for them while GUI devs are hard at work making an even more exciting bootup feast for the eyes(all 40 seconds worth, yeah). Anything else like NES, Genesis, Gameboy etc.. will have to wait until the older unoptimized GP2x version of your beloved emulator can be ported over in a week, or month, or many months with all the bugs/issues in tow. :rolleyes:

Now, I am not bashing hard work by the emulator devs here so don't flame me if you misunderstand. I really can't see how anyone would want a Pandora with a beautiful startup and a lackluster selection of games to play initially. What I believe is that Orkie and a few others assumed, as Chip stated, that the firmware would take a back seat to emulators, and thus many read their confused posts and jumped on the wrong voting bandwagon, so in my opinion this poll is now useless for it's inaccuracy.

You also got to love the argument that if the GUI sucks, then sales will be hurt in the long run. If this "poll" skewers who gets a dev Pandora and we end up with the situation I described above, then be watchful of all the nice youtube videos of the spicy Pandora GUI and the following comments and questions of "what else does it do?", followed by the proper response initially to all those prospective buyers of "well not much yet".
That would be a perfect way to stutter the Pandora's anticipated launch after all the work that went into it.

Like a well breed thoroughbred out of the gate without a jockey and his saddle. :lol:
I voted GUI. But this is a function issue for me more than anything. While I like emulation, I'm more interested in the homebrew and UMPC aspects of the Pandora. I do look forward to playing some old PSX games on the Pandora, but it's not a priority for me. I would like to stress that if they are going to be working on the GUI, please, please, please focus on adding function rather than style.

Invariably, if you design a GUI some will love it, some will hate it, and most will replace it as soon as something more functional appears. This is the case with the GP2X, the menu was completely functionless and as soon as Gmenu appeared, everyone jumped ship.

I don't even care if the media player is embedded (I prefer that it isn't so I can choose a favorite). What I want is for it to be super easy to configure, and I want to hand it to my wife or friend and have it easy enough for them to use that they can browse the web, pick out a game to play, or anything else without me having to walk them through it.

What matters to me most, and a question that hasn't been answered yet (that I've seen) is: Is the default GUI system for the Pandora direct render or X based?
rmm21 said:
Wow, Craig said it is NOT ABOUT THE FIRMWARE, only about the pretty menu system...

I'm confused now. EvilDragon (first post) talk about good menu AND "good audio and video player and other stuff" against "basic menu system and a lot of fullspeed emulators".

What I want is an (non polished) Good/Gfx User Interface and "other stuff" which probably is web browser, text editor, etc. I not need super cool menu system for launching applications, but applications itself. Some emulators already is under development, but what about browser, text editor, python, window manager,...?

Maybe some screenshots or videos of GUI and running applications, not just emulators, can help. I don't see any yet.
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