Attn : early PocketCHIP adopters


I took the plunge, preordered PocketCHIP. I saw some YouTube videos on it.Quite interesting device :slight_smile:

I did interested in stuffs like Raspberry Pi, but I tried my friend’s and well it’s Linux. I might use it for daily, light computing needs, but I already got Windows desktop. I liked Pyra (pandora successor) but it’s expensive as hell. I’d better buy a full blown middle class gaming laptop with that kind of money.

The main charm of PocketChip is its portability and full QWERTY keyboard. It also got dedicated dpad I suppose so if emulator runs great on this, I probably can get over Pyra. I’m not a programmer, nor do I do hackings and such. But I’m a linux hobiist. Portability and Pico itself enough to make me take the plunge.

I could buy cheaper Android but I already have 5 Android devices at my disposal, and the apps are definitely intended mainly for consumers. So I figure why not try something new. I didn’t have the resources to experiments with Pi, like making it a portable handheld device like those in YouTube, so PocketCHIP itself is a plus for me. Can’t wait to get my hands on sunvox too. Anyway :

  1. HD(1080p and 720p) videos x264 don’t run well on this thing. Said the desktop don’t have good hardware accelerated driver yet, but pocketchip should run better. Can anyone confirm this? I might use it for client presentation on which I usually use HD videos.
  2. Looked into the forum here SNES emulator don’t seem to be working currently, as I’ve checked some of the threads here. This is kind of dissapointing, as this would be one of the major decision making point. GBA seems run well, but I don’t know any games on it. I grew up only with SNES, the only console I had as a kid. How about mame?
  3. Browsing don’t seem to be on comfortable side on this device, Saw some guy testing IceWeasel on YouTube on PocketCHIP and boy do that guy really having hard time with it. Some suggested Midori. I’ve used it before, and I can live with it. I use Dolphin on my second phone and it’s enough.
  4. How about LibreOffice, will it run comfortably on it? I know it got Abiword and Gnumeric, but I’ve tried those on Ubuntu but didn’t like it. I can live with it for sure, but if it able to run LibreOffice comfortably I’ll be very glad.
  5. Pico seems interesting enough, I bought a Voxatron license (which includes Pico) after I saw the videos. But I suppose currently it’s like virtual machine console where you play other creations within the software, more like GameMaker but you export the project instead of exporting standalone game.
  6. Might do some art on it too. With resistive stylus it will be like drawing on device like Galaxy Note. Will GIMP and inkscape run comfortably on this? Or any other lighter alternative than those?
  7. Doom with QWERTY keyboard seems like a deal. But how about Brutal Doom? Have anyone tried it?

Anyway, other than those please share your experiences on PocketCHIP daily use here? What are you mainly use it for? Thank you.


Hello @exorio, I’ve been playing around with the PocketCHIP for a few weeks now, so I’ll take a stab at answering your questions

  1. The screen resolution on the PocketCHIP is 480x272. It’s not meant for HD videos, and the lack of GPU drivers is the same for CHIP and PocketCHIP. It’s not a great streaming device.
  2. GBA works, but not all roms work, and at it’s still not at full speed last I tried.
  3. Browsing is possible, but not great. Text browsers work well, and there are a few GUI options, but the screen size is an issue for most of them, and they tend to be slow.
  4. I haven’t tried LibreOffice, but it ought to work in theory. Abiword is packaged with 4.4, and runs smoothly, though it’s larger than the screen.
  5. Pico works well, but I haven’t done much with it.
  6. It is not like drawing on the Galaxy Note, as there is no pressure sensitivity–it’s like doing art with a mouse, either clicking or not clicking. Both GIMP and Inkscape are probably too unwieldy, both in processing requirements and screen real estate.
  7. I’ve seen that DOOM works from the forum, but haven’t tried it.

When you’re wondering how a program will look on the PocketCHIP, try resizing it on your computer to fit in a space 4"x2 1/4" That’s pretty much how it’ll look (although you can tweak some things, like font size, to help).

Don’t get me wrong, the PocketCHIP is a neat device, but the community is still working on finding good ways to use it!

edit: Inkscape does run, though it’s half off the screen. It might be usable though.


Just to note, MyPaint works surprisingly well on the PocketCHIP. But yeah, like FireflyII notes, while this is a resistive screen, it sadly isn’t a pressure-sensitive resistive screen. So not the best for artwork.

(It looks like the various components of the PocketCHIP are pretty easy to replace, though. I’m wondering if it would be possible to replace the PocketCHIP’s existing screen with a pressure-sensitive one…)


As a HUGE DOOM fan, I’m looking forward to trying on my Pocket C.H.I.P. when it arrives! Regular DOOM should run fine, but Brutal DOOM is another story. Brutal DOOM take advantage of Open GL for it’s graphical effects in an attempt to update the classic DOOM experience by granting graphic capabilities that were not available in 1993. That being said, the current lack of proper GPL drivers in C.H.I.P. OS will make running Brutal DOOM nearly impossible.
NTC is currently working on a solution to this problem, and they will likely update us as soon as they can. In the mean time there is an excellent tutorial on how to get regular DOOM up and running to hold you over. I plan on trying to get Brutal DOOM running on my Pocket C.H.I.P. after it arrives, if my labors bear fruit, I’ll be sure to post about here.


So basically the slooowww performance of this device is because the GPU don’t have any appropriate driver yet? This don’t sound good. It could mean they rushing things up :confused:

I sense now they’re delaying the shipment too, when I login to the tracking site my email wasn’t recognized and support said I was a few days early. Yet the tracking website said they won’t deliver unless I register on it :worried:

So anyone had any experience on ordering at Or most of the early adopters here get it from the kickstarter campaign?

@Copernicus I don’t think there would be any open sourced pressure sensitive touchscreen that you can obtain easily since even the Note licensed wacom technology for it.

I used mypaint before and quite like it. I suppose grafx2 should be good too.

@FireflyII thanks for the elaborate response! And umm if it’s not too bothersome can you please post a screenshot with InkScape? Wht do you mean it’s “half off the screen”? Thank you.


PrBoom works. It uses GL a tiny bit and it seems to go fine.

Brutal DOOM requires a different ‘DOOM’ engine, so I dunno how well it will work.


Well, if you’re talking about capacitive touchscreens, sure! Since there is no way to detect pressure with a capacitive screen, you’ve gotta do wacky things like set up a dual-digitizer screen, the way Samsung has with Wacom.

But a resistive screen already works by detecting force applied against the screen, not electrical currents nearby it. It doesn’t take much to go from a simple on-off switch to a mechanism that detects the amount of force being applied; I’ve been using an old Nokia N900 for years now, which has such a pressure-sensitive resistive screen.


Here you go, @exorio, this is what Inkscape looks like on the PocketCHIP (running 4.4). This should make it clearer what I meant by “half off the screen.”

And yes, @Copernicus, I didn’t mean to imply that resistive screens can’t do force sensing, just that the one included in the PocketCHIP doesn’t. I’ll give MyPaint a try since you said it works well. Most of what I’ve found in my endeavors to make the screen more usable have turned up examples of touchscreens for Rasperry Pis, and it wouldn’t surprise me if some of them were pressure-sensitive.


Well that’s kinda disappointing.

I guess that’s because the icons won’t scale down? I’ll probably take a
look on Inkscape desktop and see if I can modify the default ui so it’s
usable on pocket chip.


My early-adopted PocketCHIP status:
I got my PocketCHIP with the hope of creating a somewhate secure mobile PIM (personal information manager) with email, texting, and IRC (internet relay chat). If I can get a mic on it, I’ll also install a softphone. So far I am primarily focusing on the user-interface and am still learning how to create a password secured user.

The surf browser works well for me with a few keyboard commands. I think it will be helpful to export my firefox bookmarks to an html file and load that instead of the NTC help-file that currently loads with surf.

On my desktop computer and laptop, I currently use OSMO and EMACS org-mode for PIM, and Xchat for IRC, FBR for ebook reading. I got emacs installed on the PocketCHIP, but haven’t made the large menu bars go away yet, so might install a different version of emacs, but not looking forward to all the multiple key presses I’ll need without an Xwindow version. I’m at the same place with IRC so far. I have not installed an ebook-reader yet.

I will want to read microsoft documents, but won’t edit them on the PocketCHIP. Emacs will render them as some kind of PostScript for reading, so I’ll try that. Sometimes I save them as html files, so I can read them with a browser.

Xournal is working well for reading and marking PDF files and other graphics. I posted a screenshot:

That’s my status update. :slight_smile:


I have used handbrake to convert my 1080 HD videos down and have edited the screen size to where the videos play nicely on my Pocket CHIP. The quality when I do that actually looks pretty good.


Brutal Doom might be able to work with the new update. If Quake can run smoothly on the update then Brutal Doom should


@exorio Lots of games work pretty well on pocketchip including different varients of Doom, Heretic, and a lot of fun Text based games.

And the list of games and how to get them to work will only grow over time.

I think being able to hook up a mouse/ keyboard/ game controller via USB, or even remote in from another computer really opens up what and how you can do things.

I think for the most part I have been using Pocketchip for games at the moment, something to do on the bus on the way to work etc. Although its got some quirks it is fun and enjoyable to use and I think getting things to work has taught me some new tricks. so it’s a win win :thumbsup:


Not thinking of using the pocket chip itself for client presentation.

What I mean is I can bring the VGA dip with me so when I do need to present
to my clients I and use it as a desktop instead.

I did consider a chromecast instead for Android but most of the time my
clients still use VGA projectors. And at least the VGA dip is cheaper.

But then again I would still need to bring a mouse and the PocketCHIP.
Eh… I dunno just a thought that crosses my mind on using this device to
its full potential.

Guess we’ll wait until mine arrived.


@DPrime123 @debianUser thanks for the links

Keep em coming :ear:


Who has quake running?

I mean the special GLES version of Q3 running on an early kernel and the Mali blob runs, but you can’t get that currently on any of the current builds…

I’ve tried quake and it runs at like 10fps…

Have you got a link to quake running otherwise?


No one does minus the Next Thing Co. Team.


Just want to report, I installed Pico (and voxatron) on PC. Such amazing collection of indie games. Playing a game on it such a breeze, and the games are very small in size.

I would say it’s hella worth the PocketCHIP itself, although you won’t get the blockbuster titles out of it and you need to try it out yourself on each titles. Really, PICO is amazing. Hopefully voxatron will be ported as well. Probably a great starting point to learn game programming.

Now after those out of my chest I want an Arduboy lol :grin:

It might have similar collection of games on it, with simplistic gameplay (since it only have a dpad and 2 buttons). But I was amazed on how far indie games can go on PICO. Anyone own an Arduboy? Review plox?


Updates on my various early-adopter PocketCHIP projects:

  1. My biggest accomplishment is running MatchboxWM because now my app windows are so much more readable, especially because it pushes buttons from the bottom of large windows up into the screen view, and allows either fullscreen view or some borders for scrollbars. It also provides a dropdown-menu of currently open apps in the top border.

  2. I found ways to hide some app’s toolbars for better screen space. For example, I hid my Emacs toolbar with a command found under the Options menu, then found a way to “save settings” so I don’t have to do it each time, also under the options menu.

  3. For IRC (the original Internet Relay Chat) I have Xchat running fine and it fits OK in my Matchbox window manager, since various windows are forced into fullscreen view. Though at first I had to find ways to go between those windows.

  4. For phone functions, I pulled together a list of telephony projects on these forums CHIPphone projects, but I have only recently put a combination USB mic/headphone jack on my own PocketCHIP.

  5. Now to move forward on my PIM (personal information manager). Has anyone tried to install the FreedomBox on PocketCHIP or CHIP? They recommend putting it on a fresh installation of Debian, which isn’t really possible with CHIP at this time, so I’ll try first installing it within the existing chip version of the OS. I really like the FreedomBox features. The developers say: “Thanks to a very friendly interface, you will be able to deploy on demand applications focusing on confidentiality such as file sharing, shared calendaring, instant messaging, secure voice conference calling, blog and wiki. FreedomBox is a free software stack, a subset of the Debian universal operating system, that can be installed in many flavors of inexpensive and power-efficient Open Source hardware, called single board computers (SBC). Once installed on the hardware of your choice, the simplicity of setting up and operating a FreedomBox is similar to that of a smart phone.

  6. For fun, I installed interactive fiction games and there are huge numbers to choose from, for example at the Interactive Fiction Database. Most of the commands can be played with single key presses so keyboard limitations aren’t too bad, old classics and new ones are still being written The player I installed is called Gargoyle. The Debian-package description says: “Gargoyle is an Interactive Fiction (text adventure) player that supports all the major interactive fiction formats.

That’s all for now. Happy hacking, (or “tinkering” if you prefer) :slight_smile: .

ChiPirate-BOX: the chipest and cheapest Pirate-BOX ever
Text only games
How to build a FreedomBox with PocketCHIP
Custom IRC client for PocketChip : IRC Support is here!