Auspicious Machine: A Handheld Linux PC with a BlackBerry-Style Keyboard and Gaming Buttons

The Pocket-Sized Computer that Emulates Classic Games and Supports GNU/Linux Software

  • Banana Pi BPI-CM4 (Amlogic A311D + 4GB LPDDR4 RAM and 16GB eMMC storage)
  • Bigtreetech CB1 (Allwiner H616 + 1GB DDR4 RAM)
  • Radxa CM3 (Rockchip RK3566 + up to 4GB LPDDR4 RAM and up to 64GB eMMC storage)
  • Raspberry Pi CM4 (Broadcom BCM2711 + up to 8GB LPDDR4 RAM and up to 32GB eMMC storage)

The Auspicious Machine is a pocket-sized modular Linux PC that bears a striking resemblance to a classic BlackBerry smartphone, complete with a 3.5-inch, 640 x 480 display and a backlit QWERTY keyboard. However, instead of being a phone, the device is a portable computer designed to support GNU/Linux software.

The keyboard and game controller design of the Auspicious Machine makes it an ideal device for emulating classic game consoles or playing old PC games using DOSBox or ScummVM. In addition, users can leverage the keyboard to tap out email or text messages, browse the web, or use the device as a pocket computer.

At 137 x 84 x 12.6mm and 300g, the handheld device is compact and lightweight. It boasts an aluminum frame and a carbon fiber backplate. In between the keyboard and display, there is a mini trackball, a D-Pad, and A, X, B, and Y buttons. Notably, the device lacks analog sticks and shoulder buttons, making it clear that the device is intended for old-school games.

The Auspicious Machine is designed to work with a variety of computer-on-a-module solutions based on the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 form factor. Specifically, the device can work with Banana Pi BPI-CM4, Bigtreetech CB1, Radxa CM3, and Raspberry Pi CM4. The Raspberry Pi CM4 is the most powerful of the options, with support for up to 8GB LPDDR4 RAM and up to 32GB eMMC storage.

The device also includes a microSD card reader, which makes it possible to boot from a removable card. This provides users with additional storage options.

While the device is primarily available for pre-order in China at RMB 1656 (about $240), there is no word yet on whether it will be available outside of China. Despite this, the Auspicious Machine is an exciting new device that offers a unique combination of features in a compact package. The device’s BlackBerry-style keyboard and gaming buttons make it an ideal device for gamers, while the support for GNU/Linux software and modular design make it a versatile pocket computer. As such, the Auspicious Machine is sure to appeal to a wide range of users who are looking for a small, powerful, and customizable device.

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Written by Shahzoor Ali


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