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Linux game console ready to ship

Apr 2, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 25 views

Envizions announced that it is taking orders for an open-source Linux gaming system, and will start shipping beta units to game developers, resellers, and software partners on April 10. The EVO Smart Console is based on a 2.4GHz Athlon, and includes a Fedora-based Linux distro.

(Click for larger view of EVO Smart Console)

Announced in October, the open-source EVO Smart Console and Mirrors Evolution distribution offers game play, Internet access, VoIP, and HD video playback, says Alabama-based Envizions Computer Entertainment Corp. The Console is designed to work with the Envizions “cloud” computing service, where it's said users will be able to find Amiga-based games and an Akimbo-based VOD (video on demand) service with over 10,000 titles.

EVO Smart Console main interface

The beta shipment for developers was originally set for November, but has been delayed until next week when Envizions will ship its first 100 units, with more systems available later in the year. The system ships with a fast-boot minimalist open-source Linux operating system (OS) called Mirrors, based on Fedora. Users can upgrade to a “more robust version” called Mirrors Evolution X.

EVO games from Envizions will be distributed on compact secure digital SD cards and be sold via its EVO online store, says Envizions. Most of the initial lineup of nine open-source games, three of which are pre-loaded on the system, cost $20 apiece. Open-source tools are available for third-party game developers, who can set their own prices and sell them at the same online EVO store. The company also says it will donate to open-source communities that contribute EVO games. EVO's open-source games will not require configuration or installation, says the company, and boot-up is typically five seconds.

EVO-Direct games: Tremulous (left) and Alien Arena

The EVO is built around a quad-core Athlon 64×2 5600 clocked at 2.4GHz, clocked down now from the originally intended 2.9GHz frequency. The system is equipped with an ATI HD 3200 graphics chipset and 2GB of DDR2 RAM, and is said to support 1080p video resolution. The console is equipped with dual Ethernet and six USB ports, up from the two USB ports originally described. Other features include a game controller, a 120GB hard disk drive (the previous 250GB HDD appears to have been excised), plus “virtual unlimited online cloud storage.”

Additional EVO Smart Console features include remote access, voice recognition, DVR, Internet television, HD video, social networking, streaming content, VoIP, and automatic backup storage, says the company. More unusual features include a liquid cooling system and a biometrics security system that supports facial, voice, and fingerprint scans. The system is also is said to offer a voice-enabled Media Center Communicator function for playing music and controlling other media functions.

EVO Smart Console

Newly revised specifications for the EVO Smart Console include:

  • Processor — AMD Athlon 64×2 5600 clocked at 2.4GHz
  • Graphics processor — ATI HD 3200
  • Memory — 2GB DDR2
  • Display — supports 1080i and 1080p/HDCP resolution
  • Video codecs — H.264 VC1; MPEG2
  • Video output — DVI; HDMI
  • Storage — 120GB hard drive, plus online cloud storage (10GB free)
  • Peripherals — CD/DVD ROM; biometric scanner
  • Networking — 2 x 10/100 Ethernet
  • USB — 6 x USB 2.0
  • Dimensions — 11.8 x 2.6 x 10,7 inches (300 x 65 x 273mm)
  • Operating system — Mirrors minimalist system pre-installed, with option to convert to more feature-rich Mirrors Evolution distro; virtualized Windows install optional

EVO Smart Console

Stated Derrick Samuels CEO and Founder, “EVO is for customers that want more value from their entertainment hardware and reduced space around the TV from other devices that do one function.”


The EVO Smart console is now available for pre-orders, with shipments beginning April 10, says Envizions. Potential OEM/resellers, distributors, and earlier adopters may buy the beta versions of the consoles for $280-$350 per unit, and as of April 17, the official retail price will be $380. The beta program will last until June 17. For more on EVO, please see our previous coverage, here.

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