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Crowdfunding Astro Slide 5G smartphone ships in June, has a physical keyboard, and promises Linux support

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Gadgets

The Astro Slide is a 5G smartphone with a 6.5 inch display and a physical keyboard that slides out from behind the screen, allowing you to use the phone like a tiny laptop computer. It will ship with Android, but the plan is to also make GNU/Linux distributions including Debian and Ubuntu Touch available for download.

First announced by Planet Computers in March, 2020, the phone went up for pre-order through an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign that raised more than $1.6 million in hopes of shipping the Astro Slide to customers by March, 2021.

Now the makers of the phone are providing an update – because of pandemic-related delays it will likely ship in June instead. And the specs have changed (the phone has more RAM than initially planned, but a less powerful processor and smaller battery).

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Pine64 mailbag – PinePhone postmarketOS Edition, PineCone BL602

  • Pine64 mailbag – PinePhone postmarketOS Edition, PineCone BL602 board, and Pinecil soldering iron

    Once we’re done we can use the phone. I did not install a SIM card, so I just used my PinePhone with Firefox and the terminal for now. Browsing the web is not super smooth, but not quite as slow as I would have expected on an Allwinner A64 processor, and works without major bugs. I did notice the Thai language is not supported, and can’t be configured from the user interface, but it should not be too hard to install from the terminal once I learn more about Alpine Linux/postmarketOS. I plan to do so by checking out the Wiki.

    As you can see from the photo above there are very few apps right now, and the software app store is almost empty. At this stage, the battery will deplete quite fast. I charge it in the evening, before switching to charge to my Android phone, and the battery was depleted in the morning.

    As a development tool and for people caring about privacy it looks promising. PinePhone shown here with 2GB RAM, 16GB storage is sold for $149.99 with KDE Plasma Mobile. The exact version with postmarketOS is not available anymore, as currently, the Pine64 community works in batch with a different OS for each production run. This will change in the future however.

Planet's Astro Slide Phone Adds Keyboard, Deletes Google

  • Planet's Astro Slide Phone Adds Keyboard, Deletes Google

    The keyboard lives! While we wait for the upcoming 2021 BlackBerry smartphone, the keyboard aficionados at Planet Computers in the UK just showed us its first 5G entry, the Astro Slide 5G.

    Once dominant, keyboarded smartphones kick around the edges of the industry now. Planet, formed from Psion PDA die-hards, has made a few. There's also FxTec's Pro1 and upcoming Pro1 X. Onward Mobility, which bought the license to the BlackBerry name, promises a keyboarded BlackBerry smartphone this year.

    [...]

    "We've seen quite a few people interested in a small, Linux-based device, primarily for security reasons," says Planet Computers CEO Janko Mrsic-Flogel.

    The Astro Slide uses a MediaTek Dimensity 800 chipset. It has 8GB RAM, 128GB storage, a 3,500mAh battery, and Wi-Fi 5. I asked Mrsic-Flogel why Planet didn't use the Dimensity 1000, Mediatek's higher-end part, and he said MediaTek wouldn't "allow" it. That's weird wording, but I think the issue is that MediaTek has a minimum order for the 1000 that a small OEM like Planet couldn't fulfill.

Astro Slide

  • Lilbits: Color E Ink, Huawei’s new laptops, more trouble for Huawei, and Linux phones

    The upcoming Astro Slide 5G from Planet Computers is a smartphone with a 6.5 inch touchscreen display and a slide-out keyboard that lets you use it like a little laptop. First announced last year, the phone has been available for pre-order through crowdfunding and we learned last week that it’s now expected to ship in June.

    We also learned that it’ll also have a less powerful processor than anticipated, but the folks at Planet Computer reached out this morning to let me know that the phone will at least have a 4,000 mAh battery rather than the downgraded 3,500 mAh battery. The company also provided Liliputing with some of the first images showing the phone running a pre-release version of Ubuntu Touch for the Astro Slide 5G.

  • Planet Computers Astro Slide 5G smartphone coming in June (following a spec change and pandemic-related delay)

    Planet Computers has been making smartphones with physical keyboards, unlocked bootloaders and support for Android or Linux software for a few years. I went hands-on with the Gemini PDA at CES 2018 and the Cosmo Communicator at CES 2019.

    Now the company is getting ready to ship its third phone. Planet Computer introduced the Astro Slide in March, 2020 and began taking pre-orders through an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign that’s raised nearly $1.7 million so far.

Astro Slide 5G slider phone specs and shipping date

  • Astro Slide 5G slider phone specs and shipping date get finalized - SlashGear

    Phones are designed to cater to the general public as much as possible but there really is no such thing as a "one size fits all" phone. From the earliest days

    [...]

    Right from the start, the Astro Slide 5G is intended to be, well, a 5G phone. That hasn’t changed but it will now instead be powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 800 instead of a 1000. That still makes it the first and probably only 5G phone to sport an attached physical keyboard. The final specs also upgraded RAM from 6GB to 8GB, elevating its status a bit higher on the smartphone ladder and allowing power users to multi-task more confidently.

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