Cobra Black Fin announce price discount, lite version, and upcoming updates
The Cobra team just announced a few updates for their P2P piracy dongle, the Black Fin. A Lite version at a lower price, a discount on the full bundle, Android compatibility to make the system more portable (use on your phone instead of your PC). Furthermore, they hinted at things they might be doing now that HENkaku has been released.
Team Cobra’s piracy dongle just took a serious hit with the release of HENkaku: HENkaku brings homebrew support to the latest PS Vita firmware 3.60, while the Cobra BlackFin is only compatible up to firmwares 3.5x. The release of HENkaku motivated more Vita users to jump to firmware 3.60, lowering even further the potential user base of Cobra black fin.
It’s in that context that their update comes, and is probably what explains a price drop, and the introduction of a “lite” version of the Cobra black fin. The lite version will be priced at $69.99, while the “full” one is now dropped at $89.99. (it was more than $100 before). The lite version doesn’t include a card reader or a usb cable, things that you can get for very cheap pretty much everywhere, and that most of us already own, so I guess that’s good news for those who were interested in the device.
Nevertheless, with the shrinking potential userbase, this gives a feeling of “too little, too late”.
Team Cobra is also promising software updates, the most promising of which is support of Android bluetooth, meaning the Cobra Black Fin could now work “on the go”, through their (upcoming?) Android app. That honestly sounds like a cool feature, but they have not provided a date for that.
The press release also mentions improvements in the cartridge dumping stability, support for Chinese/Japanese character encoding, and a better user interface.
To motivate people to get the device, The Cobra team also delivered an impressive list of games that can already be played (read: “pirated”) on their asian servers. The list contains approximately 80 high profile PS Vita games, and the team promises 20 more games will be added in the next two weeks.
Last but not least, the Cobra team mentions they are following the HENkaku release and intend to leverage it:
Cobra Team will continue to innovate and support BlackFin with many new enhancements.
The Vita scene has only truly just begun, and with the dawn of homebew [sic] loaders on Vita many new possibilities can be explored! We will be at the forefront of scene development and bring great features to our users, as you would expect from Team Cobra.
(You can find the full press release on the Cobra Black fin site here.)
What does HENkaku bring to the table for Cobra Black Fin?
That statement from Cobra team about HENkaku sounds a lot like wishful thinking, with no concrete promise to actually deliver anything or no specific schedule. Nevertheless here’s a few things I think Team Cobra could be doing with HENkaku and the Black Fin:
Port HENkaku to firmwares 3.xx, use it to bring homebrew to Black Fin users. The Black Fin system could become an all-in-one CFW solution for these users, providing emulators with roms available from their P2P servers, in addition to Vita piracy. These people have no concerns about copyright infringement so it wouldn’t be a problem for them to condone hosting and sharing of thousands of games from multiple platforms. I can see how a good software solution here could actually be very enticing for their users.
Make Black Fin compatible with firmware 3.60. It is likely that HENkaku is opening doors to hacking groups such as Team Cobra, which these teams could leverage to find new ways to make their system compatible with the latest firmware. I am actually not sure what the blocker has been for them so far on firmware 3.60, but it is possible HENkaku has given them the keys to the latest vita firmware.
Find new hacks or piracy enabling mechanisms to make Cobra black Fin a more user friendly solution for pirates. Kind of an extension of the paragraph above, maybe Cobra will be one of the teams looking into making piracy easier for their users. Right now Sony is protected from Black Fin because it is not available on the latest firmware, but also because its process to pirate is complicated. If Cobra manage to find new information in the latest firmware, they might be able to crack open the doors to piracy, which would be bad news for Sony and the PS Vita.
It goes without saying, we do not condone piracy here at wololo.net, and I’m personally not a big fan of DRM-protected dongles. Piracy in itself is a matter of personal conscience, but to me, paying people to pirate is like combining 2 sins. with that being said, feel free to comment, but comments promoting piracy or sharing copyright infringing files will be moderated, as they always are.
Note: we still haven’t received the Black Fin bundle we were promised by team Cobra for a review. Early independent reviews of the device however are slightly negative due to the price and overall instability of the device. At least this announcement is trying to fix those issues.