Many a dollar has been spent by countless DS/PSP owners in the quest to run homebrew code on their portables. Indeed, I’d love to know the number of people who’ve permanently bricked their PSPs in the process. Gamepark Holdings is privy to this, and are about to release the second revision of their GP2X handheld, which supports homebrew out of the box. We got to check one out at IFA, read on for more details.
The main differentiator between the older model is the inclusion of a touch-screen. Of course, it’ll be a while before this functionality makes it into games, as the F-200 hasn’t reached the hands of too many developers yet. There will be a few touch screen games included with the console, however if you’re not into puzzle games, you’ll be left waiting for the developers to catch up. You could always grab the dev kit and have a shot yourself - after all, that is the beauty of a device like this.
Emulators of a myriad classic (and some not so classic) consoles such as Neo Geo, SNES, Genesis/Mega Drive and the PSX are readily available - you can see a full list of them here. And yes, it plays Doom.
The fact that the GP2X uses much faster processors and has significantly more RAM than the Nintendo DS makes me think it won’t be long before we see attempts at a Nintendo DS emulator, although how one would go about implementing the absent second screen, I have no idea.
One of the more common complains we heard regarding the older model F-100 was the analog-looking joystick that wasn’t analog at all - rather, a joystick sitting on top of a digital 8-way directional-pad. This has been replaced by a decidedly PSP-like design, however with a lot more “give” than the PSP pad.
Of course, the new operating system can be driven with a stylus thanks to the new touch-screen, and sports a video player that supports MPEG4, XviD and DivX codecs in the AVI file format, an audio player that supports MP3 and OGG files (and lyric display) and an image viewer that supports JPG, BMP, GIF, PNG and PCX formats. If your digital camera uses an SD card, you can whack it straight into your GP2X for viewing.
There’s also a text viewer that sadly only supports .txt files, however it will allow you to set up to 20 bookmarks - which is far more appropriate than trying to find the point at which you finished reading each time. Even better is the added ability for the operating system to multi-task - you’ll be able to listen to music while looking at photos, or while reading text files - if you’ve got some truly crazy processing power upstairs.
The F-200 runs on two AA batteries, just like the first model - some will no doubt complain about this, but it’s a hell of a lot more convenient for me, as I carry 12 rechargable AA cells around for my lousy point-and-shoot digital camera anyway, and my DS just isn’t capable of going the distance on an 18 hour flight. You’ll get 3.5 hours of video playback or 6 hours of MP3 playback on a set of 2500 mAh batteries.
The GP2X F-200 is due for an October release, with GPH still deciding on the pricing details. If it’s under US $200, I’m in.