A one-man operation startup known as “Rich” (Fugui, or 富贵 in Chinese) has developed a new open-source portable and modular pocket-sized computer for Linux developers. Dubbed “Auspicious Machine”, the device is developed for Linux-based operating systems like CentOS, Debian, Ubuntu, et cetera.
Auspicious Machine is not quite a dedicated handheld gaming device but gaming is part of what it can do thanks to the availability of Linux distributions, including those that are specially developed for gaming, including Batocera
As you can see, the design of the device is kind of a cross between a Blackberry and a Game Boy handheld gaming device. It has a QWERTY keyboard which is backlit, no less, and in between the keyboard and the 3.5-inch 640 by 480 resolution touch display, it has a D-Pad, the A, X, B, Y buttons, and there’s even a mini trackball. I would imagine the trackball is more for the computer function.
The Auspicious Machine is kind of like the GPD Win Max but very much smaller. That said, the keyboard, trackball, and game controller combo means there is the possibility of playing old PC games but I imagine using the WASD will be quite a challenge.
The keyboard is probably most used for computing, like surfing the internet, emailing, or perhaps even text messaging. Apparently, the device will support an X360 standard controller for gaming.
The device measures 137 x 84 x 12.6 mm (about 5.4 x 3.3 x 0.5 inches) and tips the scales at around 300g (0.7 lb or 10.6 oz.). It is small but pretty hefty.
It has an aluminum frame paired with a carbon fiber back cover. The front is presumably plastic.
On the inside, it has a modular system that would allow it to work with a choice of computer-on-a-module solutions based on the Raspberry Pi Compute 4 form factor.
Unlike many mini/pocket computers/retro handheld gaming devices we have seen, the Auspicious Machine is NOT a mainstream device.
It is available on regular e-commerce platforms in China (and yes, it is a China-only product). According to a report by Neon Rabbit [CH], the device is up for pre-order for 1,656 yuan (about US$240), with shipping in June 2023. However, it is clear where or from who customers can pre-order the device.
P.S. We asked Neon Rabbit on Bilibili and we now know that pre-orders are via a chat group on QQ. So it is unlikely that anyone of us is able to buy it.
Images via Bilibili (霓虹兔子).