RetroCode UK

Published Date Mar 28, 2021 Reading Time ~3 minutes RSS Feed Pyra Gadgets

Pyra - March 2021

Finally the Pyra has started shipping!

Actually it started shipping last year - the first few units from the early batch of 200 so-called “pre-pre-orders” started on their way to lucky early adopters.

The Pyra timeline:

  • Feb 2014 – Michael gave his first public talk about the Pyra for FOSDEM 2014
  • Oct 2015 – Early pre-pre-orders were opened for 200 early adopters, who each received a signed prototype PCB with their order number written on it
  • May 2016 – Pre-orders were opened to the general public with the promise that at least 1,000 units will be eventually available
  • Apr 2017 – “Test the keymat” - a box with a few sample keymats and case was sent across the world for various forum members to test out
    • I was lucky enough to see the samples as they went on their journey, and as an added bonus, also checked out a Pandora
  • 2017 - 2020 – Loads more news posts (average one per month) with various tidbits. Some highlights include:
    • Keymat revisions and processes (e.g. to avoid bubbles or protect the letters on the keys)
    • Capacitors causing vibration noise (finally fixed)
    • Quite serious issues (finally resolved) around support of 4GB
    • Case revisions, and problems with the first company not delivering (the current company helped make some great enhancements to the case, including improved shoulder buttons with springs)
    • FCC / CE certification
    • Trials of case colours and protective coatings
  • Aug 2020 – First early developer units were sent out (and a couple to platinum supporters who donated larger amounts of money to the project)
  • Dec 2020 – First “final” version units were sent out to a couple of the pre-pre-orderers
  • Mar 2021 – Just over 100 of the 200 pre-pre-orders have now been shipped
    • There are issues reported with cooling which is being worked on
    • Some issues of audio white noise reported in a couple of cases

All of the first 200 pre-pre-orderers committed to purchasing a Pyra, and to support Michael Mrozek’s (EvilDragon) then new successor to the Pandora, and there are at least 800 more with active pre-orders looking forward to the eventual shipment.

Unfortunately, recent circumstances have obviously had their impact on production which has been much slower than it would otherwise have been.

Anyway, the Pandora and Pyra are both a hark to the best of how tech used to be back in the days of portable Psion organisers and the Gameboy; not just in aesthetics, but also extending up on that in terms of hackability and extendability. The Pandora and Pyra both come with an array of I/O ports, and I believe they have the perfect balance of fun and functionality.

One could argue that the Pyra is now dated. However there are plans to upgrade it with a replacement CPU & RAM expansion board possible (although not officially announced), and the 32-bit processor was ahead of its time back when it was released so still has a lot of potential. Actually the processor was developed for the automotive industry, so differs slightly to what you would normally expect in most modern handheld devices.

Hopefully I will be back sometime this year with a review of my Pyra. Until then, there are a few YouTubers starting to post videos.