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Official Blog: Comprehensive Status Report

June 12, 2009
Posted by: gruso

EvilDragon brings the noise again. It’s a long one!

Hi there,

forgive me for not posting any updates for a loooong time – first I have been rather busy with shipping out 200 WIZ (and I’m just one single person doing all that), then there’s the typical daily work like managing the File Archives, checking the boards… well, and I have to do all this in my spare time since I (like anybody else in the project) still has to earn some money as we can’t live from the Pandora.

Anyways, I’ve just been able to check up everything that happened and where the status is, and during the last weeks A LOT of good stuff has happened.

Shall we start?

1. The boards
We had to fix one minor fault a few weeks ago and already received and tested five new ones – and the good news is: They’re ALL working fine (no soldering problems, all our hardware tests were sucessful). So we got a 100% rate from those.
We’ll do more testing, but the planned first mass production run (100 boards which will actually be used for final Pandoras) is on July 13th, though it might be a few days earlier or later. Of course we’ll try to get some pictures of the first 100 boards for you.

2. The analogue nubs
You might’ve read that there were some problems with the analogue nubs. Well, they had serious firmware problems and the company went bankrupt… so we had two problems: We need to pay TWICE (the new company we got has to be paid again) and the firmware had to be fixed. Both has happened already. The new firmware is already there (Pickle showed the new nubs in a video) and it is working without an problems. Another issue solved🙂

3. The Keymat
It was pretty perfect already, however, the pressure and gaming controls could be enhanced. So we did that – and the new version is already at the moulding company, so the new mats shall also be finished very soon. As there were some keys misaligned, we used the time to fix that up, too.
If you want to know what exactly happened: wider holes around screw pegs, made game button cups wider to make them softer, slightly more travel to 1mm, keypad buttons raised 0.5mm, a couple of other little guide holes moved.

4. CE and FCC
CE tests will happen as soon as I get a finished board and prototype case, which should happen while the case moulds are being done, so there’s no time problem. I’ve got a few CE testing companies around the corner where I can just drop-by and test everything. We shouldn’t have a problem with FCC either – as we only need FCC if we sell WITHIN the US. We don’t do that yet, we sell from UK and Germany, so FCC is not necessary. It WILL have to be done once there’s a US based reseller, but that’s nothing to worry about for the first batch.

5. The case
That’s our only issue for now, we’re still working on fixing minor issues. It really does take a long time making something near perfect – and that’s what we plan to do. Another problem is that neither CNC nor SLA cases are good enough to check if everything fits perfectly. Don’t worry, there’s already a solution for that.
The only thing we had to fix is the height of the DPad (so it works better) and the hinge. The rest was already pretty good. So we most probably won’t need another CNC case, just another DPad which can be done within a few days. We hope Dave will be ready will all that fixes until next week. Yeah, we know that’s a long time… but because of the financial crisis (once agin…) a lot of guys at Daves work lost their job and he now basically has to do twice the work at his daytime job, leaving him less time to work on the Pandora case. We’re really really grateful he does work on it making it perfect.
Now, onto the solution I mentioned above: The moulding company offered their help. Together with the final model data, they will receive basically a complete Pandora (all parts, LCD, hinge, board, keymat, etc.) and will check before moulding that everything will fit. They are very experienced with stuff like that, so that does help a lot. The downside is that this adds a few more days (moulding now takes approx. 45 days instead of 35) but it will ensure that everything fits and we don’t have to start all over again.
That time frame also does allow us to do CE testing and change some stuff if need be without losing any time.

6. Software
Software and drivers are already VERY advanced. Mostly everything works fine, only WiFi is giving some issues. The hardware is fine, lowlevel tests with WiFi do work, but it doesn’t work yet within the Angström image. If we can’t fix it until the Pandora is ready, it will be fixed with an (automatic) firmware update, don’t worry.

So, I hope I could show you what did happen. Of course, there were a lot more boring things going on (organizing between all the companies, signing NDAs, talking about licenses, etc.) but I think I did post the most interesting parts here.

Basically, to put it in a nutshell:

Board: Finished and working
Keymat: Finished and in production

Analogue Nubs: Issue solved, nubs tested and working fine
CE Testing: Pending (will be done during case moulding)
Case: Last fixes being applied, should go to case mass production company by next week

That’s it for the status report, thanks for reading… and even more thanks for KEEPING with us🙂
Comments like “We will rather wait a few days more but get a perfect device” has been what lead us to all those fixed – we could have gone into mass production with those minor flaws, but it should be a gaming console, so gaming controls shouldn’t only be working but working perfectly. Thanks again!

Source

41 comments

  1. Amazingly detailed update, however, I am sick of this 2 more months crap.


  2. ED clears everything up pretty good. It’s so close now


  3. Yay! Good news all round; glad to get such a comprehensive update. All things going well, I could have my pandora in early august


  4. “however, I am sick of this 2 more months crap.”

    You start to get a feeling you understand EXACTLY what came first. The chicken or the egg?

    Only the Pandora community knows.


  5. And the 2 Months theory is right again, so no problems anymore guys , craig made a miscalculation and the theory is proved again.

    Anyways great blog post.


  6. Yeah, delays are about exponential when trying to achieve perfection. I am glad they are working on it, though I still do not have my last year’s birthday present(the pandora)


  7. If I were to choose between perfection or a month earlier… I guess I want perfection. Doesn’t sound like July is realistic anymore now.


  8. Cool… an actual honest/descriptive update is such a nice change from what certain other people do with their comical string of misleading/unrealistic completion dates/timeframes.


  9. Yay! Just two more months now…


  10. Nice, just waiting😉


  11. (MooThekow)
    Cool… an actual honest/descriptive update is such a nice change from what certain other people do with their comical string of misleading/unrealistic completion dates/timeframes.

    +1.


  12. first hundred boards start on july 13th? so why have they hinted at july for release they shoulkd have kept there mouths shut its never gonna make july.


  13. Hmm Hmm nice report but it wont be july🙂 although im glad with this news! if everything will workout without problems everything van be shiped in about 50 days, am i right?


  14. Someone please explain me how, when taking preorders back in october (was it?), did the team expect to have the pandora ready by the end of december?


  15. They were smoking crack if I recall.


  16. oh, that makes sense. thanks!


  17. so, so bored of these updates…😐


  18. Great update. Disappointing that July is off the table. If the devs will just continue to keep us informed like this, even once a month, I will continue to wait. As it looks like we have at least two months, they should be able to fix the wifi driver prior to shipping. If the devs need us to start barraging the wifi chip manufacturer with emails asking for their support, they need to just let us know. 4000 emails in a day or two ought to encourage them.


  19. Perhaps, in light of the various campaigns to save TV shows, we should be sending bits of ethernet cable to the WiFi company?😉

    July is lost to us – a shame, but not unpredicted. I plan on living with the Pandora for several years, so I’d rather she was as good as is practical🙂


  20. So it looks like for (hopefully) one last time, we’re expected to get it in 2 months? im giddy.


  21. Two months might be too optomistic. That sounds like the minimum at the moment and there is certain to be some delays here and there as things get tweeked. I’m not even sure if those number including shipping time or not as parts get sent around in preperation to mass production. I’m going to assume three months for now if nothing time consuming goes wrong in the mean time. I’m guessing September.


  22. I may be getting a very nice birthday present (September 16th) instead of the Christmas present that I ordered myself.


  23. thanks for the update.
    Glad to see everything is being done proper.
    I hope the first 100 boards go well and have a low failure rate, bringing my order that much closer to done🙂


  24. So at the earliest the case starts MP next week say the 19th, 45 days they now say and everything else can be done within that so they could expect completed units to them w/c 3rd Aug, then final checks and delivery, so we are talking earlist w/c 10th Aug….so yeah about 2 months again lol


  25. cheers for the update.
    Let’s hope for september🙂


  26. August is optimistic, and September more likely – although a lucky few might get that first 100 in August.

    My prediction last November that they were 1 year away from shipping Pandoras is looking scarily accurate right now. Wish I could be smug, but I’m just annoyed instead.


  27. I forgot to say, when trying to ramp-up mass-production, ALL companies (including Microsoft) have to endure high failure rates (the Xbox 360 which initially suffered a 50% failure rate!!) until they can tweak the mass-production process. Hence my September suggestion as “more likely”.


  28. So, I’m going away for a year, starting from August.

    Now, what to do? I can either cancel my order and hopefully get my full 330€ (that’s 460 or something dollars, yes, i’ve paid all that) back or i can pay another round for having it delivered to france out of germany. I’ve been waiting since November last year, paid since February.
    ffffffffuuuuuuuuu~


  29. Or just email the OP sales team and ask them to change your shipping address…


  30. wow!Great update. Yea, september sounds like a real release date. Here in the U.S. I haven’t bought one yet- I research/wait for the best before buying it- but maybe the next time we visit Germany I might buy one, if there’s a supported reseller.
    If I was choosing for right-now delivery, I would get the Dingoo A320 but since the Pandora is such an AMAZING console, I think I’ll hold off on buying anything for a while.
    Us Americans are waiting for you guys!
    NOTE: Here’s a great international sales idea, EBAY.


  31. September’s looking pretty solid now. Can anyone tell me how to get one from the second batch and when?


  32. Sorry Guys, it’s all my fault. Last year I ordered a GP2X only to be told (2 months later, oddly) that they had been discontinued. The sales team pointed me toward the Pandora as an alternative because at the time they were expected to ship very quickly. Since I ordered mine (I paid in full the 1st day they were available) it’s been delay, delay, delay. I’m cursed😉


  33. Appreciate the effort that was taken to make this large update on the whole process.

    Personally I don’t mind the time the project is taking, because I would rather have a quality product instead of some half baked nonsense gadget. Keep up the good work!


  34. Its kind off funny when popping in from time to time to see the updates…

    The OMAP3430, the most advanced thing in a mobile device that size. And now we see the new iPhone, Palm Pre, and some other devices that carry its little brother ( with the same specs😉 ).

    A few months ago i joked that we might see the Pandora being shipped on the same date + a year as the preorders started. Looks like it will become reality.

    rememberthedays:
    [quote]Someone please explain me how, when taking preorders back in october (was it?), did the team expect to have the pandora ready by the end of December?[/quote]

    The first expected shipping was November. After that there have been several expected shipping dates, that always shifted with a month or two. Like bait for a fish. Or a carrot before a donkey.

    I’m not saying that they deliberately misguided people, but they did underestimate the work by a lot.

    The bonus now is because they are stuck waiting for x component to test y component, that gives them the ability to properly test things, and fine tune them more.

    By the time the Pandora ships, TI will probably be ramping up there next die shrink version off the OMAP.

    Lets hope no other component providing company goes under, or the Pandora2008, Pandora 2009 becomes Pandora2010 *lol*😉


  35. so there will be at least another two months to wait…

    1.new case (the fianl one) mould making. (30~45)
    2.massive producing (30)

    omg… thx…


  36. A thorough update. Thanks Evil.

    I am curious though why a month is needed after the five boards were done to start another run of them. This may be nervous speculation but if the next set of boards is 100 in total and they need testing also, then won’t the factory need to be scheduled again for the final BIG 3895 run?

    I suppose this would mean maybe at least another month after the 100 are started and tested which was said to be about July 13th which puts mid to late August at least as the real production time of the Pandora boards.

    My guess is some time in September to do everything and then ship them. This is wholly understandable as they really have to wait for other people(the factories) to complete the project now. Just my two pennies.


  37. How I’ve missed this guy.


  38. So,For us guys in the US (pre-orders) there will be no hold up due to the FCC testing which we thought would be required?

    Thanks for the updates..


  39. Thanks for this detailed news ED.
    But it’s a sad news.. july was short.


  40. Previously, one of the devs had talked about send 100-200 of the units out for user testing for some period of time before building/shipping the rest. Are they still planning on that?


  41. As long as it’s finished for christmas this year I’ll be happy. If it arrives earlier I’ll be super happy🙂



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