Hackaday Retro Edition: Androids And Amigas

Tiny ARM boards are everywhere, and if the Raspberry Pi is any indication, they’re mostly used for emulating old consoles and computers. With only a $30 single board computer, it’s easy to emulate an SNES, Apple II, C64, or any of the other piece of classic 80s or 90s hardware.

Understandably, there will eventually be a few projects and products that hope to capitalize on this retro trend. Few of them will go through the rigamarole of actually licensing the relevant IP. The Armiga is one of these projects. It’s an emulated Amiga 500 with 1MB of RAM packaged in what looks like a 3.5″ external floppy drive.

Inside this tiny little box is a dual core ARM for Amiga emulation. For the most part, this is just a basic Android system, but the real selling point of this system is the Armiga Project software. This is a full emulator and game browser that also includes a legal (!) copy of Kickstart 1.3. The ‘upscale’ version of the Armiga also includes a floppy disk controller and drive, should you ever want to dump all those old floppies sitting around in your attic.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about the Armiga. It was a crowdfunding campaign a year ago that was unsuccessful for reasons we can’t comprehend. The creators of the Armiga have forged on, and now these tiny little boxes of guru meditation have started shipping. The Beta units have sold out and there’s a waiting list for more.

20 thoughts on “Hackaday Retro Edition: Androids And Amigas

  1. Does it provide realistic Guru Meditation errors every five minutes? Glad they included the disk drive. That was part of the experience: swapping umpteen, proprietary Amiga-formatted disks any time you wanted to load something.

    1. It took a 400MHz Intel chip and a Matrox graphics card and 10 years of development for MS Windows to be as responsive as the 8 Mhz 68000 and Jay MIner’s work and Workbench. The ability to name drives something besides kindergarten level letters is something I still miss. I could move a software install anywhere and change only one logical name for it to work.

      1. ?? My windows drives have logical names to them. It’s called ‘labels.’ The letters are just addresses to them, much like media/hdd0 in linux and then providing an alias to the drive. Amiga did the same thing. That name was just a label.

        I am not understanding your gripe.

  2. The Amiga disk format was no more proprietary than any other disk format at the them and was well documented. Commodore also never took anyone to court for using it.
    AKA it was a lot less proprietary than the FAT32 everyone uses today.

    1. The FAT32 that EVERYBODY uses, vs the Amiga format that won’t work read or write without a certain floppy controller chip. People, mostly pirates and demo crews, on the Atari ST, used their own proprietary stuff, squeezing an extra sector or couple of tracks onto a 720K disk to get nearer it’s nominal 800K, but they still read back on PC floppy drives. Not so Amigas. Or gods help us, early Mac 800K drives.

      I believe at one point the Atari ST could emulate a Mac slightly faster than a Mac! Full 640×400 res, and was less than half the price. Good ol’ Apple.

  3. Looks like a 120e/e169 pi running a emulator in a case with a license that might be from the copyright holders but nobody is quite sure which company that should be even now. Wonder why it wasn’t popular enough to get funded…

    People know they can buy a real A500 with trapdoor ram and put a gotek in it for significantly less than that hopefully. Then it’ll be real not retro.

    You can pry my modded A2000, cd32 and A500 1.2 out of my cold dead fingers…

    1. They switched to a Cubieboard for the actual modules. The initial prototype looks to be a Raspberry Pi B rev2 but the later prototype also shown in their kickstarter shows a Cubieboard and the floppyless version has all the sockets in the right locations for a Cubieboard.

      The floppy interface looks more interesting TBH but getting it good enough to run all the copyprotected software will be a difficult task. The interface is a PIC32 based design but the PCB seems to be made specifically for the original Raspberry Pi header. I don’t know if they’re just using an adapter or have redesigned the interface to suit a Cubieboard.

  4. Looks good, they got the style down pretty good, But really for the proper Amiga experience, I’d like to see a reproduction of say a 500 or 1200 model with some fancy innards. I’d love a 1200 with a core I7, SSD and 16gigs of memory without having to gut an existing 1200.

    1. You should keep a eye on the apollo-core project which currently emulates a 68040 and plugs in place of a stock 68000 giving 100% compatibility but insane levels of performance, and in the long term I think they plan to emu the bit blitter and copper inside the fpga, give hdmi output with rtg, onboard memory, sd cards onboard etc at 400Mhz or so I think was the current benchmark. For now the v2 is starting to ramp up for release of the developer test boards for the A600 for early testing, with the 500 etc to follow.
      http://www.apollo-core.com/index.htm

      I am waiting patiently but anticipation is building. I believe there is more to come when they start to add more pipes to the core etc. It will be a amiga inside but a absolute monster…

      There’s also minimig, fpga arcade and other amiga-in-a-fpga projects.

      1. apollo is vaporware because creators still delude themselves someone will buy them out (they got evaluated internally by IBM for something and that made them think moto68K has a future and $$$).
        What got released is non pipelined and buggy 68000

        1. That is the v1, and to call a entire core with the vhdl released under the gpl on majsta’s site vapourware is a bit of a stretch don’t you think? In the closed world of fpga that was a awesome move to do and he is to be applauded for it.

          The v2 is under active development (I have been watching progress closely) and bugfixes happening to the v1 in parallel, but if the pace of fixing the original v1 core isn’t fast enough, you have the option of rolling up your sleeves and getting stuck in.

          And having spoken to some, I think theyre more driven by the desire to put a affordable alternative to jens accelerators to market, the pre-order has gone out at 150e per unit for the v2 a600 vampire. And concequently, there is a lot of vitriol from the “established” amiga crowd who see their potential to bleed enthusiasts for $$$ slipping away from them.

          Watch and monitor, people will see if its vapour or not and they will let the board speak.

          I want my amiga back, but not to run wb and play a video in a window, I never used wb except as a fancy way to keep more than one cli session open when developing, I want the ease of programming it in asm, but with more mhz in the cpu, a faster bit blitter, better able to handle 3d calculations for vectors etc. A gorrilla of a 68040 gives me exactly that, same uncharged arch, same ease of hitting the hardware direct, monster cpu.
          I would *love* to see a demo written to max out all that extra cpu and memory and see what a modern amiga can do, and I would *love* to be one of the hardcore asm coders trying to do just that once again…

      2. I don’t really want a new Amiga. No matter how close to the iron a new machine gets and how fast it is, workbench isn’t up to the task of doing new stuff. I want the enclosure and run Linux or OSX on it. UAE is good enough for the software.

  5. For the trouble they’ve gone to, and for the arsepain that is floppy drives, might’ve been better using SD cards instead, and mounting the whole thing into maybe a joystick base. Have a USB mouse socket. Sure most Amiga stuff was on floppy, but surely they’ve all been scanned in by now.

    For the hassle I’d just emulate it on a PC. If I wanted to use an Amiga, and gods help me if I did.

  6. What’s the point I could just get an old PC or a Raspberry pi and install UAE on it and have the same thing maybe better?
    What to impress me implement an entire Amiga using a FPGA and a cold fire chip and have it run the OS natively.

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