Analogue, king of FPGA, has, at last, pulled the trigger on a handheld to dominate over all rivals. The Analogue Pocket is, naturally, powered by FPGA (so, no emulation here) and out of the box will play Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance cartridges. The day you receive it, over 2,700 games will be compatible with the handheld.
Old meeting new doesn’t stop with the custom FPGA chip, however, as the Pocket will rock a 3.5” screen that’s 1600×1400 pixels, which translates to 615ppi. This screen will be LCD, utilising LTPS technology (Low-Temperature PolySilicon) which is said to offer higher picture quality than AMOLED or IPS displays.
Additionally, the battery will be charged by USB-C, the 3.5mm headphone port will live for another day and the Pocket even includes an old school Link Cable port. There is also a micro-SD card port, but if judging by other Analogue products, this will likely be for firmware updates only and not for playing ROM’s – legally grey or not. Talking of grey, if the promotional renders are anything to go by, the Pocket will be released in black and “DMG-grey” (my words, not theirs).
Taking a page out of Nintendo’s heavily copyrighted and sue-happy playbook, there will be an additional dock that the Pocket can be inserted into so you can play through a TV. This will charge the handheld as well as output video, and while connected, wired controllers (via USB) and wireless 8BitDo controllers using Bluetooth will be compatible.
But wait, there’s more! The Pocket will include a “digital audio workstation” called Nanoloop (which appears to be an existing product that’s being integrated) which is a sequencer and synthesiser for all you chiptuners out there. As Analogue puts it (who are always poets with sentences) it’s “Designed for music creation and live performance. Shape, stretch and morph sounds. Capture music or play and sculpt live.” Here’s a demo of what that will likely resemble:
Hey, but wait – there’s even more! Not only is there an FPGA for recreation of the retro handhelds, but there will also be an entirely separate second FGPA chip “for developers to develop & port their own cores”. There’s not a lot of information yet on what this will actually entail, but it appears Analogue are aiming for the homebrew market in a huge way.
But… but, hold on. There’s even more! Yes, there are adapters too! While the Pocket will be initially compatible with the entire Game Boy library, with the correct pieces of plastic Atari Lynx, Sega Game Gear and SNK Neo Geo Pocket Color will be playable too.
Woweeeee. What an announcement. While there are no prices yet on the dock or the adapters, the Pocket is slated for release sometime in 2020 for $199. Start saving those pennies.