The Dingoo is a pretty amazing little device. Despite being incredibly tiny, it has the ability to emulate 10 game consoles, play music, view Flash files, and about a million other features. It’s good-looking, it’s cheap, and it’s packed with functionality.
Justin Barwick is the COO of Dingoo-Digital-USA.com. Read on for Justin’s answers to what he uses his Dingoo for, how they plan to support the device’s very own version of Linux, and how they’re working with the community to make the Dingoo even better.
The Dingoo seems to support every filetype known to man. Quickly, what are all the things the Dingoo can do, and do you consider game emulation the primary function of the device?
In my opinion, the emulation is just a bonus, although it’s great to play games on it. If I had to compare it to a product, I would say it’s the poor man or woman’s iPhone/iPod Touch, minus the phone of course, with lots more features. People these days are very cautious with their money, and the way the economy is, you can’t blame them. This product offers a lot of bang for the buck. The Dingoo has 10 gaming console modes: 3D (a 3D engine designed by Dingoo China for games and homebrew), NES, SNES, Sega Game Gear, Sega Genesis, GBC, GBA, Neo-Geo, CPS1, CPS2, plus a video player, audio player, FM radio, an audio recorder, an image viewer,an e-book reader,and a Flash player (for flash files version 3 through 5).
Who developed the games that come with the Dingoo?
Some are actually designed by Dingoo Games, which is a sister company of Dingoo Digital China. When the company started, it was a mobile device application/game developer. As time progressed, they bought hardware rights and design rights and developed the A320. The rest are by third party developers or homebrewers that make up the Indie community and Free Domain/Open Source games community.
Where does the design of the device take most of its inspiration?
It seems to be inspired by several products into one: gaming consoles like the Game Boy Micro, which it looks alot like, the Nintendo DS , and [other] retro gaming portable consoles. Plus of course MP3/MP4 players: the Zune and iPod. It’s the combination of all those items into one great little product.
How wildly does battery life vary depending on what you’re using the Dingoo for?
The most intense use of the battery is during video playback, but for most part, about 6 to 8 hours’ use per charge is what I have run into and my two teenagers have run into. The feedback I get from customers is 4 to 8 hours, but then again, I can’t give a definite on their experience because I don’t know if they charged it completely.
What do you anticipate most consumers to use the device for?
It varies per person; some will use it like an iPod and some of the die hard old retro gaming fans will use it to play retro games. I guess it all varies on what really makes you happy. We sell it as an all-in-one multimedia experience offering more then any other item out there currently offers. It has so many features it’s really hard to guess what people use it for because everyone is different. There is always someone asking for something more and the homebrewers and community surrounding it are stepping up to the plate with new emulators/apps and games. Not to mention Dingux, a new firmware dual boot that allows Linux to be put on the A320.
How substantial the homebrew scene on the Dingoo so far?
So far I have seen quite a few homebrew games for a console that was only released to the public March 15, so 20 homebrew games and just under 22 Dingoo-designed games is not bad. In alot of cases, it’s better then some of the non-portable consoles that have come to market.
Plus there are new frontiers being explored with the dual boot to a Linux form of firmware called Dingux, which is still being tested and revamped. Once they get the bugs out, we will put the ability to boot into Linux firmware and the software ware loads to put it on a SD card. But currently it’s still too buggy. Although there are emulators and games and apps being ported to the new Dingux…
There have been reports of screen “tearing” happening during scrolling screens because of the Dingoo’s use of a 240×320 cellphone screen. Are you guys planning some sort of patch or update to deal with this?
All the emulators are being worked on by the community and already a new version of the Mega Drive emulator has been released that works with the native OS, and for most, screen tearing and other issues have been resolved. It’s just a matter of time for each issue to be resolved. We are supporting the community and hope to eventually sponsor and fund some of the community developers to develop apps and fixes to Dingux and native OS issues. As we are just a vendor, we didn’t design the original emulators but have worked with the community and bring the issues forward to Dingoo Digital China.
Most if not all of the emulators appear to be coded for an older version of the Dingoo and not the A320, which causes less than optimal performance in some emulators. The Genesis emulator in particular suffers from framerate issues, inaccurate audio, and tearing when scrolling is used. Do you have plans to release new versions of old emulators made specifically for the A320?
Actually the emulators we based on cell phone apps or the GP2X or other devices and recoded to work with the Dingoo A320. They are buggy, and the community surrounding the A320 have stepped up with fixes and fresh new emulators like the ColecoVision, etc. Between the community and the homebrewer developers, I just see the Dingoo A320 going on forever and just getting better, both in the native OS and Dingux.
Will any patches/updates issued be translated into English?
These days, most patches and updates are being made by the community homebrewers and developers, so yes, beyond a shadow of a doubt, I would say almost all will be in English or at least have a translation in English. As for anything Dingoo Digital China puts out, I’m unsure if a new firmware or updates to the emulators will come from them. As for the community doing it, yes and yes and yes.
I assume you have one. How often do you use it?
Just about every day I mess with one. After all, I’m a USA distro/seller for them.
What do you most often use it for?
Hmmm… varies on my mood. Sometimes I will use it to read a book. Sometimes I will will use it too catch up on TV shows I missed or watch a movie, listen to music while walking, or plug it into my aux-in at home or car radio and jam. Then there are the days I just want to play an old but goodie game and I will use the emulators and play. Besides the emulators, there are a bunch of homebrew and Dingoo 3D games that are fun to play.
Finally, how much does the Dingoo cost and what’s the easiest way for most people to get one?
The cost varies; I have seen it from $110.00 USD to 82.00 USD which is what we sell it for. As far as I know, we are the cheapest on the market so far. But it is also where you are located; if you’re in North America (Mexico, Canada, or the USA), I would say order your A320 from us at http://www.dingoo-digital-usa.com/.
If you’re in the UK, the best bet would be to buy it from a vendor there or a local vendor in your country… I will say in the UK the best is Dingoo UK, and Jenny that works there they will take care of you guys in the UK.
For $82.00 it’s the best price so far. We are very proud to be the cheapest and very proud of our customer service we provide. We also sell accessories like a carrying case for it. I’m sure we sent you the case and the SD Micro to MiniSD adapter along with the A320; hopefully whoever wins it in your give away will enjoy it very much.
Thanks for talking to us, Justin! Readers: check back this Monday for Anthony’s video review of the Dingoo, as well as your chance to win one of your own!
Dingoo Digital USA: http://www.dingoo-digital-usa.com/