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$ 199 Analog Pocket promises FPGA accuracy for portable retro games



If you know the name Analog, you know the company's reputation for the expensive but authentic and beautiful HDMI-compatible FPGA (field programmable port arrays) recreations of classic gaming consoles. Today, the company announces that it will expand this line of notebooks next year with an analog pocket, a $ 199 handheld FPGA that is fully compatible with literally thousands of original cartridges for Game Boy, Color Boy Color and Game Boy Advance (and other laptops) such as Lynx, Game Gear, and Neo Geo Pocket Color through planned cartridge adapters).

The 3.5-inch Pocket 3.5-inch 1600 × 1440 resolution, 615 pi LTPS LCD display frankly seems a bit overkill, given that Game Boy Advance exceeds 240 × 160 and about 100 ppi. Christopher Taber of Analogue tells Ars that the analog pocket will have the same Altera Cyclone V FPGA found in its previous Super Nt and Mega Sg, plus a second Cyclone 10 FPGA, "only for developers to develop and transfer their own cores."

This means that hackers must be trivial to add a firmware to their pockets through the system's microSD card slot, as they have for other analog products in the past. So don't be surprised if Pocket gets "unofficial" support for the same NES, Super NES and FPGA Genesis cores built into previous analog products as well as home cores that support classic systems, from Atari 2600 to Sega Master

analog marketing materials and Taber insist that Pocket "does not support ROM playback", the previous home-made, jailbroken Analog firmware was able to load ROMs stored on SD cards and even load ROM files from original cartridges for fully digital play (Taber also said of Ars to expect "other clean functions", e available through the microSD card slot to be announced in the future).

Perhaps by taking a nod from the Nintendo Switch, Analogue is designing Pocket to run on HDTVs via an optional HDMI dock that will support USB cable and wireless Bluetooth controllers (the price for that dock will still be announced). For unlocked gaming, the system will feature sports stereo speakers and a standard 3.5mm headphone jack (eat your heart out, Game Boy Advance SP). Pocket will also come with a rechargeable USB-C lithium-ion battery (Taber tells Ars: "I can assure everyone will be really happy with the battery life") and an "original style connection plug" if you want to Play multiplayer Tetris as it is 1989.

The Analog Pocket will also be pre-loaded with Nanoloop, a popular Game Boy follower / synthesizer that has assisted chipton musicians through original Game Boy hardware and a mobile application for decades.

While there were cheaper and / or more feature-packed Game Boy clones in the past, we look forward to seeing the flawless Analogue design chops apply to the portable retro market when we get our hands on Analogue Portable next year.


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