The promised launch date has fallen behind for a year now, but Playdate handheld gaming system is finally available to pre-order. It looks like not only it has been delayed, it is also more expensive than previously announced. It is now US$179 a pop.
For the uninitiated, Playdate is a handheld gaming system by software developer, Panic. It has a sleek, beautiful, square design, but has no fancy technology – save for WiFi, Bluetooth, USB-C, and a headphone jack.
There’s no touchscreen or eye-watering graphics. Instead, has a 400 x 240 1-bit monochrome screen and a crank for control – in addition to the usual D-pad and A+B buttons.
The crank is a rotating analog controller which some games rely on exclusively. Some games do not use it at all, while some games requires the crank to be used with the D-pad and/or A+B buttons.
The device is powered by a 180 MHz (that’s that Megahertz with a ‘M’) Cortex M7 with 16 MB RAM and 4 GB flash storage. A built-in battery offers up to 14 days standby with clock or 8 hours of active use.
In addition to Bluetooth, wireless 802.11b/g/n (2.4 GHz), and stereo headphone jack, it also has a built-in mono speaker as well as condenser mic + TRRS mic-in. Plus, it has a 3-axis accelerometer built into it too.
Pre-order for the device starts on July 29 at 10AM PDT. Panic promised pre-orders will not “sell-out” which should be a relieve for serious buyers. The first batch of around 20,000 units are expected to ship sometime late 2021 while additional units will ship in 2022.
However, you want want to note that the full payment of US$179 will be required when pre-ordering. It can be cancelled any time for a full refund. Each person is limited to two units.