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This 5G smartphone comes with Android, Linux - and a keyboard. Back to the future with the Astro Slide

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London-based Planet Computers is on a mission to reinvent the iconic Psion Series 5 PDA for the smartphone age. Although mobile professionals -- especially those old enough to remember the 1997 Series 5 with affection -- are often open to the idea, the company's previous efforts, the Gemini PDA and Cosmo Communicator, have had their drawbacks.

The Gemini PDA, for example, is a landscape-mode clamshell device that, despite a great keyboard, is difficult to make and take calls on and only has one camera -- a front-facing unit for video calling. The Cosmo Communicator adds a small external touch screen for notifications and some basic functions plus a rear-facing camera, but you still have to open the clamshell to do anything productive.

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Astro Slide 5G Transformer Smartphone Comes with a Slide-out Key

  • Astro Slide 5G Transformer Smartphone Comes with a Slide-out Keyboard, MediaTek Dimensity 1000 SoC (Crowdfunding)

    Planet Computers has introduced several smartphones with physical keyboards over the last few years including Gemini PDA and Cosmo Communicator with the later recently received its promised Debian Linux images besides just running Android 9.0.

    The company is now back with the new model. Powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 1000 processor, Astro Slide 5G Transformer supports 5G connectivity and comes with a slide-out keyboard following on the steps of the company’s previous smartphones.

Planet Computers' Astro Slide features a physical keyboard...

The Astro Slide is a 5G PDA that runs Android 10 and Linux

  • The Astro Slide is a 5G PDA that runs Android 10 and Linux

    First of all, the new Pocket Computers device rocks 5G out of the box, thanks to MediaTek’s latest flagship processor, the Dimensity 1000. The Astro Slide also comes with Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, and NFC connectivity.

    Secondly, the full QWERTY keyboard has a novel “RockUp” hinge mechanism. You slide-out the backlit-keyboard entirely from underneath the screen to create a tiny laptop. If you’re into adding physical keyboards to smartphones, this is possibly the best compromise.

Astro Slide is Part Smartphone, Part PDA with Support for Linux

  • Astro Slide is Part Smartphone, Part PDA with Support for Linux

    Now, i’m generally wary of mentioning anything that is crowdfunded — and that goes double when it’s hawked on the oasis of overpromise that is IndieGoGo.

    But Planet Computers, the company angling to animate this ode to early 00s technology, have a track record in this area. Not only have they run successful crowdfunding campaigns before, but they’ve also nailed the hard bit: actually shipping products to backers.

This 5G Phone Runs Linux and Doubles as a Tiny Laptop

  • This 5G Phone Runs Linux and Doubles as a Tiny Laptop with a Physical Keyboard

    The so-called Astro Slide looks retro but feels modern. Despite the PDA-like appearance, the device is essentially a 5G smartphone that can double as a laptop thanks to a small physical keyboard.

    In terms of hardware, the Astro Slide comes with the essential feature package to let you stay productive on the go. It’s powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 1000 octa-core SoC and obviously comes with a 5G chip specifically optimized for what the parent company says improved signal with reduced power consumption.

Is it a Smartphone? Is it a PDA? It’s Bot

  • Is it a Smartphone? Is it a PDA? It’s Both – and It Supports Linux

    The Astro Slide is an Android-based smartphone with sliding physical keyboard currently crowdfunding its way into existence — but with the added lure of Linux support.

    Now, i’m generally wary of mentioning anything that is crowdfunded. That goes double when it’s a) technology being hawked on Cool the oasis of overpromise that is IndieGoGo.

    But Planet Computers, the company angling to animate this ode to early 00s technology, has a track record in this area. Not only have they run successful crowdfunding campaigns before but they’ve also nailed the hard bit: actually shipping products to backers.

Astro Slide is a Smartphone/Pocket-Computer that Support...

  • Astro Slide is a Smartphone/Pocket-Computer that Supports Android and Linux

    Back in CES 2018, Planet Computers took us back to the ’90s with the Planet Gemini PDA. Now, the company is back with another unique device – the Astro Slide 5G Transformer. The “transformer” part in the name represents the pocket-computer form-factor of the device as the screen of the device slides out to reveal a physical backlit keyboard.

Astro Slide is a Smartphone/Pocket-Computer...

  • Astro Slide is a Smartphone/Pocket-Computer that Supports Android and Linux

    Unlike the clamshell design of the Gemini PDA, the Astro Slide uses a slide-out mechanism to reveal the company’s signature keyboard. This keyboard is present in their previous devices like the aforementioned Gemini PDA and the Cosmo Communicator. These keyboards reflect the design of Psion devices from the 1990s and it is not surprising as Planet Computers has some Psion designers working with them.

    Now, the slide-out mechanism is unlike any mechanism out there in the market right now. When the 6.53-inch FHD+ screen slides out horizontally, the hinge forms a tilted stand-like structure to support the screen at an optimal viewing angle. The company is calling the hinge the “Rock-up” design that “transforms” your smartphone into a pocket computer.

Planet Computers' Astro Slide features a physical keyboard, 5G

  • Planet Computers' Astro Slide features a physical keyboard, 5G, Android, and Linux

    Something to look forward to: Are you tired of modern flagship smartphones that follow a similar design? Nostalgic for the days of BlackBerry PDAs? Then Planet Computers’ Astro Slide could be for you. The device is a 5G phone that runs Android 10, but it also features a sliding physical keyboard and will support Linux in the future.

    According to its Indiegogo campaign page, the Astro Slide is the first 5G phone with a keyboard, and the fastest 5G device announced to date. It uses the company’s RockUp slider hinge to turn the 6.5-inch smartphone into a PDA. The screen flips up so the Astro Slide can be used as a tiny laptop.

    [...]

    Like its previous devices, the Astro Slide is being crowdfunded. At the time of writing, it’s almost reached $179,000—89 percent of $200,242 target—with 40 days left, so it appears funding won’t be a problem. There are still early bird specials available for $546, while the full retail price will be “anything between $799 and $999.” The devices are expected to be shown off at CES next year, with delivery scheduled for March 2021.

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