Odroid: all the open, none of the contract

The Odroid derives its name from the combination of Open and Android. The hardware is aimed at the portable gaming market and runs Android. The specs are amazing, the device is open and begging you to develop for the platform.

The Samsung S5PC100 System-On-A-Chip provides the device with an ARM Cortex-A8 processor running at 833MHz. The usual suspects are all here, a capacitive touchscreen, accelerometer, SDHC slot, and WiFi. What you usually don’t expect to see is a serial debugger and 720p HD output. But the best part, we get all of this without a 2 year contract or the hardware being locked down as we’re used to with and Android based cell phone.

[Thanks Stillbourne via LinuxDevices]

Comments

  1. temo says:

    This or Pandora?

  2. Doug says:

    I would say the pandora looks nicer, those buttons look cheap and there are no analog sticks

  3. Sammy says:

    Wow. the specs are awesome! I want one

  4. BikeHelmet says:

    Specs look pretty good. Roughly the same as the Pandora, but with more RAM and an HDMI out. No Dual-SDHC though, and probably a heavier OS to offset the faster CPU.

    For me the Pandora is the winner… battery life, gaming controls, clamshell. (protected LCD)

  5. HackJack says:

    The spec is good. Price ($350) is acceptable. But I don’t understand the comment about a 2 year contract. This is not a wireless phone.

  6. Thebes says:

    Specs look nice, and the price isn’t bad.

    I couldn’t tell from their website, does the usb breakout require the serial board? Does it offer usb host on the device – I used to have a clamshell Zaurus that did, that was a really nice feature in a pocketable device. Could be nifty for robotics and embedded devices.

    I like that (it looks like) you can just swap the OS by swapping a micro-sd card, you can have your toy to hack on and then swap the card to go to a stable business like pda, etc. With an onboard ROM I find myself less willing to experiment because reflashing is usually such a pain.

  7. BiOzZ says:

    its good but no keyboard!

  8. Alex says:

    So… can you actually use this as a cell phone?

  9. sarsface says:

    Yeah, there’s no contract because this isn’t a phone. Hey look, PSP with NO CONTRACT!

  10. mrasmus says:

    The no contract commentary was because, when you look at the rest of the market for the Android platform, they’re almost exclusively phones. A developer/hacker wanting to play with the platform would, then, have to purchase a phone out of contract (very expensive), or make it their new phone (locking in a contract, but subsidizing the hardware). Either way, it’s more expensive in the end than this is.

    So yes, if you look at it compared to Pandora or something, as an “Open Source gaming platform”, then yeah, the comparison doesn’t make much sense. However, if you look at it as an Android device that you can use for developing games for the Android platform, and run software built for the Android platform, it should start to make a bit more sense. The Odroid is to, say, the Droid, as the iPod Touch is to the iPhone — no, you’re not getting a cell phone; but you’re getting a platform with most of the features of the cell phone equivalent, without the contract, with the same OS. In the case of the Odroid, it sounds like you’re getting a /better than usual/ hardware platform than most of the other hardware platforms that run this software. It’s a cool idea.

  11. PocketBrain says:

    … I’m in love.

  12. Dakota says:

    So, if it’s truely “open”, why do we have to purchase the product to receive schematics? If it’s “open” then I shouldn’t have to pay $350 to get them.

    Oh, and the G1 can be had for less than that, too, folks – even if it’s via the eBay/third party route.

  13. Paul says:

    @ Dakota

    I’l wait for an open version then :P

    those guys who made the freeduino could hook everyone up!

  14. jeditalian says:

    what happen to my comment:? i will pay 1 cent per megahertz because 1 cent per hertz is too much.add in 1 dollar per meg of ram. thisbetterbefree weebly com and dammit i wish my phone did that. the open part, and the not sticking you with uncustomizable crap

  15. rms says:

    I wouldn’t really call Android open. It’s just the Linux kernel with a JVM. When you can use GNU on your phone, then you are really moving into the open realm. It still won’t be truly free until you can see the Android source.

  16. monkeyslayer56 says:

    @rms
    correct me if im wrong please but i pritty sure theres an open source version of android at
    http://source.android.com/

  17. DanAdamKOF says:

    Wow, that design really looks like Bandai’s Wonderswan handheld.

  18. Dakota,

    Free as in speech, not free as in beer. Many open source licenses don’t require distribution of the source to people that haven’t bought your product.

  19. Drone says:

    Why can’t someone make a GSM phone with Android like this? How hard is it to include the 3G chips? Android phones are just vapor-ware out here in SE Asia.

  20. dylski says:

    What, no camera??
    This platform could have been ideal for augmented reality gaming.

  21. dnm says:

    I paid $265 Canadian including shipping and exchange to my front door for a general mobile dstl1. Android, unlocked, dual sim, arm 700mhz(ish) chip, etc.

  22. djoog says:

    @dnm

    can please please tell me how/where you get dstl1 for 265 including shipping in canada ?

  23. jAMES says:

    this is infinitely better than the open pandora because it actually exists.

    pandora might be a kick butt system on paper, but will i ever get to actually hold one? yes, right after duke nukem forever is released.

    This on the other hand i can have today. awesome post

  24. xoring says:

    My money is (literally) still on Pandora. They’ve starting to actually ship real finished devices this month. (At least a few completed units have gone out to select developers. The rest are waiting on some minor adjustments to the case molds.)

    The Odroid is also a nice platform with a faster processor and capacitive touch screen, but it lacks the keyboard and emulator-friendly controls of the Pandora.

    Besides, the Barnes & Nobel Nook is also an Android device w/ no contract attached.

  25. xoring says:

    @drone: Rumors abound of a “Google Phone” which is an unlocked, unbranded GSM phone running Android.

  26. Peter says:

    There are so few components on the circuit board! The component cost is probably a lot less then 350

  27. eric says:

    @Drone:
    The reason it’s so difficult is the carriers would have to test and approve the device for use on their network which, if I’m not mistaken, costs money.
    Also anything with a “radio” (as in cellular or otherwise) that isn’t a pre-certified module, needs FCC certification, which is also _really_ expensive.
    Furthermore you cannot, as I understand it, distribute the baseband source code (the code that lets the phone talk to the network). If you take a look at OpenMoko you’ll notice the schematics for the cellular radio / baseband, as well as the source for that portion, are completely blacked out. The regulations make it extremely difficult to develop a fully open source phone because the telcos don’t want you to know how their network works — security through obscurity.

  28. eric says:

    @Peter:
    Don’t just look at the component cost, you have to figure in payment to the developers for their time, as well as manufacturing. Assembly costs, especially for low-volume (a few hundred units at a time or less), can be the dominant factor in pricing of a device like this if it’s assembled in the US. If it’s assembled and fabricated in China then the cost is generally an order of a magnitude lower though.
    Not to mention offsetting any injection molding costs for that case and whatnot. The setup fees for injection molding can easily reach into the USD$10k range.
    Generally speaking if they aren’t selling an unfathomable number of units per month (such as something you might see at WalMart), it’s going to cost a lot more than it may seem worth. This is doubly true if the creators don’t have much venture capital, and so they have lots of startup costs to offset.

  29. Nitori says:

    If this thing was a phone and also had a camera I’d be buying one right away.

  30. strider_mt2k says:

    Let me get my Pandora in hand first then wow me with the next next gaming handheld.

    Oh I want, surely. I just want my Pandora FIRST.

    :)

  31. polossatik says:

    To bad the screen is such low rez…

  32. qkek says:

    I’m about to buy an android phone with this “GOOGLE OS”. I’m not impressed that this os another java shit cause I was hoping to code apps to the phone in C++.

    Why the hell are these retards make java oses for phones all the time?

    Is it possible to install good old linux on this which has a fully working gui?

  33. Karl says:

    @qkek
    Android runs atop Linux like GNOME runs atop Linux. Android has many optimizations for mobile hardware, however.

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