Global supply chain issues strike again! The first units of Panic’s Playdate handheld gaming device were scheduled to ship before the end of the year, but they’ve now been delayed to early 2022, due to hardware issues:
As our first 5,000 finished Playdate units arrived at our warehouse in California for 2021, we began to test a few of them. We quickly became concerned that some of them weren’t giving us the battery life we expected. Playdate’s battery is designed to last a very long time, and always be ready for you, even if not used for a while. But that was not the case: in fact, we found a number of units with batteries so drained, Playdate wouldn’t power on at all — and couldn’t be charged. That’s a battery worst-case scenario.
This quickly turned into a months-long, all-hands-on-deck research stress-ball, and we halted production at the factory.
Moreover, it turns out that the processors the device uses were backed ordered for two years, so Panic decided to make a change for later units that would allow them to use a similar chip that’s more easily available.
At least there is some good news: the public beta of the Playdate’s web-based game development tool will arrive in January 2022, with the full SDK available in February.
I’ve been looking forward to the Playdate since even before I got to try out a test unit a couple years ago at WWDC. It’s a bummer that it won’t arrive until next year at some point, but such is the way of pretty much all hardware at this point.
—Linked by Dan Moren