Unveiled last fall, Analogue's new Pocket device still looks like it's poised to become the gold standard of unofficial retro handhelds, but its release has now been pushed a bit further off. Today, Analogue announced that it will start taking pre-orders for the Pocket next week, with a release targeted for May of next year.
On Monday, August 3, Analogue will open up pre-orders for the Pocket at 8 a.m. PT. That's also when Analogue will open up pre-orders for a variety of Pocket accessories, including a dock, hard case, and an adapter that lets it play Game Gear titles in addition to its native support for all Game Boy family titles. Pre-orders will be limited to two Pockets, which come in either white or black.
The delay to May comes down to "the unfortunate global state of affairs and supply chain challenges outside of our control," Analogue says in its press release. Analogue has been in the no-emulation, FGPA-powered device game for a while, but for smaller boutique manufacturers like it, the sorts of COVID-19 related manufacturing issues that have plagued giants like Nintendo and Sony are probably harder to overcome.
That said, Analogue has also been busy since the Pocket's reveal in October with slight redesigns and the addition of new features. The start, select, and home buttons on the Pocket have been moved "for optimal comfort" and the dock now features a groove the Pocket sits in. On Twitter, Analogue lists out a number of new details on the Pocket: it supports up to four-player multiplayer across via cable, it has a speedy sleep mode, it'll be released alongside special audio cables for the on-board Nanoloop synthesizer, and the dock supports four controllers via bluetooth, 2.4G, or USB.
The Pocket will primarily be a place for folks to play their old handheld games, but Analogue is also opening it up further to new development. In partnership with the makers of the programming-lite creation tool GB Studio, devs will be able to make new ".pocket" format games which will run on Analogue's handheld.
The most intriguing new feature shown off today is the collection of "Original Display Modes." The high-resolution display will let the Pocket display Game Boy, Game Boy Color, or Game Boy Advance games in ways that try to recreate the "original hardware display characteristic," from the chunky greens of the original Game Boy to the bright 32-bit pixels of a Game Boy Advance SP.
A Pocket by itself will still set you back $199.99 once pre-orders go live, but the cost of additional accessories will add up quickly. Also, only the Game Gear adapter is listed with a pre-order notice and an expected ship window of May 2021. Those looking forward to plugging their Neo Geo Pocket Color or Atari Lynx cartridges into a Pocket may need to wait a bit longer, as those adapters are still listed only as "coming soon."