Playdate handheld release delayed to ‘early 2022’

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Panic has postponed the release of its Playdate handheld until “early 2022.” The company writes that in an update. According to the manufacturer, the battery underperformed in the first 5000 models produced and a battery from another supplier was chosen.

Panic said it made the discovery after it started testing some Playdate devices from an initial batch of 5000 units. It came to light that the battery life of some handhelds was so disappointing that some handhelds could not even be started after that battery had run down. Charging did not help, according to the manufacturer.

According to Panic, that was the starting signal for months of testing, after which it was decided to stop the production process and use a battery from another supplier. According to Panic, all batteries of the first Playdate devices are now being exchanged and all customers will therefore receive a Playdate handheld with a different battery than initially planned. According to Panic, that battery would meet expectations.

At the time of writing, the company is communicating “early 2022” as a release date for its first handhelds, but reports that it is feeling the effects of global chip shortages. Through adjustments to the motherboard of the Playdate handheld, it hopes to be able to use a different, more readily available CPU for the Playdate and to avoid further delays in 2022.

The Playdate was first announced in 2019 by Panic, the software developer of the game Firewatch. The device was originally supposed to be released in 2020, but development was delayed. The handheld has been available for pre-order since July and costs $179.

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