back to article Planet Computers has really let things slide: Firm's third real-keyboard gizmo boasts 5G, Android 10, Linux support

Planet Computers has announced the Astro Slide, a 5G smartphone with a slide-out physical keyboard. It will run Android 10 but with the ability to support Linux in future. This is the third gadget from Planet Computers, following the Gemini PDA and the Cosmo Communicator. The distinctive feature of all models is the inclusion …

  1. werdsmith Silver badge

    Still very happy with the Gemini running Sailfish as I can get rid of the Android. Was never happy with the Cosmo linux install not being fully functional so I held back from that. I expect this Slide thing to be the same, focused on Android. If I could be assured it could be fully functional with a proper linux or Sailfish then I would back it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I've been waiting for the cosmo to get proper Linux support before I order one. It's unfortunate that it hasn't happened yet (or at least it hadn't last time I checked), I'd love to give the my money.

      this looks even more interesting, if the Linux support is there.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        They need to go with a chipset that is already well supported. But these are more expensive than MediaTek.

        1. Philip Lewis

          Will Linux still be a problem then because of the chipset?

          I don't really understand the issue ... it's a curiosity, I could use a simple explanation of the issue

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Astro Slide

    Other Lubes are available.

  3. Flak

    Marmite

    Meh...

    Not for me, but perhaps for a small niche market.

    1. jeffdyer

      Re: Marmite

      I don't think Marmite is niche...

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Marmite

        It is as a lube.

        Except in public schools, where it is de rigeur.

        1. WolfFan Silver badge

          Re: Marmite

          BoJo used Marmite as a lube when he was at Eton? This explains so much...

        2. ICL1900-G3 Bronze badge

          Re: Marmite

          Nutella in my day.

        3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Marmite

          Isn't lube always de rigeur? If you don't have the rigor, the lube won't help.

  4. Steve Todd

    CEO Dr Janko Mrsic-Flogel

    Hmm, he was part responsible for the VEGA+ fiasco, do you really want to trust him with a pre-order?

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: CEO Dr Janko Mrsic-Flogel

      They have actually delivered the devices but they have really failed on the software side. My Gemini has had two software updates since release and still has lots of really unnecessary bugs: such as icons in the dock disappearing after every app update. Unfortunately, as might be expected from a company that is so dependent upon cashflow from sales, after-sales service is more or less non-existent.

      So, much as I like my Gemini, I won't be buying another device from Planet and wouldn't advise anyone else to. I've since bought a kickstand cover and a Bluetooth keyboard for my S10.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: CEO Dr Janko Mrsic-Flogel

        Sailfish on Gemini has had regular updates, though the last one was in December.

        Planet raised £2 million on Gemini and £1.7 million on Cosmo, and delivered two very nice devices. Flogel was not responsible for the Spectrum Vega thing, though he was a bit silly joining that organisation after it had already become a disaster.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: CEO Dr Janko Mrsic-Flogel

          The Gemini also got an update in December but since then nada. Planet is presumably largely dependent upon Mediatek providing the updates for the SoCs. They've wasted their own resources on things like a crap version of K9 and a database that no one needs-

          Not sure why you quote the money raised, but if you know anything about the device business you'll realise this kind of turnover is not sufficient for a hardware company.

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: CEO Dr Janko Mrsic-Flogel

            Not sure why you quote the money raised, but if you know anything about the device business you'll realise this kind of turnover is not sufficient for a hardware company.

            That's why they are a crowdsource outfit.

            I quoted the money raised to illustrate the decline in crowdsource revenue between the first and second products.

            1. steelpillow Silver badge

              Re: CEO Dr Janko Mrsic-Flogel

              That was largely because so many in the niche had already bought Geminis. I was truly impressed how the Cosmo still rang bells.

              1. werdsmith Silver badge

                Re: CEO Dr Janko Mrsic-Flogel

                The Cosmo was a move towards more phone functionality, where the Gemini was PDA with connectivity.

          2. Crypto Monad

            Re: CEO Dr Janko Mrsic-Flogel

            > The Gemini also got an update in December but since then nada

            Whereas Android for the Gemini got an update in December 2018, and nothing since then. Why abandon what is surely the most important platform?

        2. Steve Todd

          Re: CEO Dr Janko Mrsic-Flogel

          He was responsible for the VEGA+ software (or at least one of his companies were). They took circa £100k for it, and it’s known to be bug-ridden and flakey also.

      2. Chris King

        It's not just the Gemini that has bugs...

        I went for a Cosmo - the hardware is fantastic, but the software has been pretty ropey. Lots of irritating little bugs in Android and the occasional show-stopper have prevented me from making much use of mine.

        The last Cover Display (CODI) update took me TWENTY-FIVE attempts to install, despite taking all the usual precautions (Notifications off, Airplane Mode On, DuraSpeed Off etc), and the latest firmware update had to be pulled and reissued because it caused so many problems - including the loss of fingerprint data. The latest version requires you to back everyting up, hard reset the Cosmo and restore from backup. A previous version included a dodgy OTA updater that had to be replaced - no way I could trust this thing with access to my Google account details until it was fixed.

        Linux functionality is incomplete (forget using it as an actual phone) and Sailfish is still some way away - even if it does turn up, it will almost certainly be a community version without Android emulation and predictive text, just like the Gemini.

        So no, I won't be buying the shiny new toy they're dangling in front of me. I've gone back to using my previous "daily driver", a Nokia 5.

        1. Dr_N Silver badge

          Re: It's not just the Gemini that has bugs...

          Chris King> I went for a Cosmo - the hardware is fantastic, but the software has been pretty ropey

          And there's the rub. I've been after something like this ever since my '5 stopped being a realistic everyday use gadget. But I've yet to see anything with fully functional and integrate suite of software optimised for the formfactor and keyboard.

        2. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: It's not just the Gemini that has bugs...

          Sailfish is still some way away - even if it does turn up, it will almost certainly be a community version without Android emulation and predictive text, just like the Gemini.

          Paid version of Sailfish is available for Gemini, including exchange mail, OTA updates and support.

          It doesn't have the Android app support (like most devices that get Sailfish running, Android apps are Sony XPeria only) but for me that's a real positive.

    2. Anomalous Cowshed

      Re: CEO Dr Janko Mrsic-Flogel

      This guy was a legend on the Sinclair QL. I used to dream of equalling his programming powers...

      1. Mozzie

        Re: CEO Dr Janko Mrsic-Flogel

        Please don't equal his business or ethical powers, one lot of RCL is enough in the retro/reboot industry.

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "the hinge is a complex affair"

    Translation : it is a point of failure and will be prone to breaking/blocking. Physical complexity is trouble when you're making something that will be put into the bumbling hands of thousands of idiots.

    And it weighs 300 grams. Out of curiosity, I just weighed my Galaxy A3 : 135 grams. And after talking on the phone for ten minutes, I change hand because the other one needs a rest. I like the keyboard, but that thing is going to be deforming shirt pockets.

    1. Jan 0

      Re: "deforming shirt pockets"

      Try a thigh pocket. They can often hold a 10" tablet. 8", no sweat. Bonus: your 'phone doesn't fall out when you want to pick something up from the floor.

      1. Zolko Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: "deforming shirt pockets"

        "Bonus: your 'phone doesn't fall out when you want to pick something up from the floor..."

        ...or when you clean the toilet after you've finished your affair.

        1. Glen 1
          Thumb Up

          Re: "deforming shirt pockets"

          Good morning, that's a nice TNETENNBA.

      2. 2+2=5 Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: "deforming shirt pockets"

        > Bonus: your 'phone doesn't fall out when you want to pick something up from the floor.

        That's because it's so massive, things on the floor fall up to the phone ;-)

      3. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        Re: "deforming shirt pockets"

        Those are big pants!

    2. steelpillow Silver badge

      Re: "the hinge is a complex affair"

      The designer, David Riddiford, was burned by that on the original Psion Series 5, for which his classic keyboard provided the prototype for Planet. This slider is his fourth iteration - if anybody can make it work, he can. I certainly would not trust Apple any more - butterflies or butterfingers, I'll take Riddiford's bling any day.

    3. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: "the hinge is a complex affair"

      I loved my P5 and it was fine in my shirt pocket - but then I'm one of those people you can put in a tailor made suit and it looks like sackcloth after 3 minutes!

      It was not fine in my shirt pocket when pulling pants up after a crap though and didnt bounce well! I am still waiting for my old phone to pack up so I have an excuse to upgrade to one of these. I just hope enough people like them enough to start bug fixing the Linux versions as I have no interest in Android any more.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The slide-out keyboard design is reminiscent of the Psixpda from about ten years ago. https://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/01/15/review_pc_psixpda_pocket_computer/

    I believe that was also a project that Dr Mrsic-Flogel had a hand in.

    1. ColinTheFish

      Hi. I think you'll find that was founder of Psion, Paul Pinnock but well spotted.

      1. Liam Proven Bronze badge

        Paul Pinnock ran Pinnock Organizer Services, the main aftermarket repair company for many years.

        But while he worked for Psion, he was not a founder or even cofounder, AFAIK.

        I suspect you are thinking of David Potter, whose company was Potter Scientific Instruments: P.S.I. and later PSION.

    2. Sandtitz Silver badge

      Reminds me of Nokia E75

      1. macjules Silver badge

        Me too - my first reaction to it, but the Nokia E7 more than the E75

  7. Chris G Silver badge
    Alien

    Head office?

    Planet computers, Astro glide, Cosmo, and the boss's name Janko Mrsic-Flogel all lead me to believe this is a small business run by dodgy aliens from another galaxy just to take advantage of the rubes on a backward planet on the edge of the Milky Way.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Head office?

      Registered in Bromley, but they maintain their main offices in Sloane Square SW1. Belgravia premises cannot be cheap.

      1. steelpillow Silver badge

        Re: Head office?

        That Central London thing will surely be an accommodation address for correspondence. Lots of businesses do that.

        1. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: Head office?

          Which is why the City claims to pay its fair share of tax in the economy. Given the two nationwide companies that I've worked for and had a hand in doing tax returns offered no regional breakdown of where the tax was earned and all paid via the head office I still have my doubts on that one.

        2. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Head office?

          No, it's rented office space. 38.1 Sq.m of it. With staff in. Rateable value: £22,750.

          There are Youtube videos of them being interviewed in the office and you can clearly see Sloane Square through the windows. I presume this prestige address offers them some value in credibility terms or access to brain power. Because they would save a fortune by going into a provincial office suite where people are desperate to fill them.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Head office?

            "Access to brain power" surely comes from being in or around Cambridge or similar?

            Not from being in or near the Smoke.

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: Head office?

              Have you not heard of the “Silicon Roundabout”?

              London has a major tech hub.

        3. Simon Rockman

          Re: Head office?

          No, it's the real office they work from. I've visited a few times. Love my Gemini, very tempted by this.

    2. Wayland

      Re: Head office?

      Why does he have "DO NOT DEVELOP MY APP"

      tattooed on his forehead?

  8. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

    Finally!

    A true successor to my trusty old HTC Desire Z. Loved that phone, and it was great shame that the form was never repeated.

    That said going off the comments above, it seems a shame that they'd have beautiful hardware but crap software.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Finally!

      I'd still call Android crap software. Having used a Psion5 for a while I really want a proper keyboard on my phone and I'm hoping enough people start using it to get the linux debugged - or possibly the phone shit taken out of it and put in another linux version as this has the potential to be a really useful machine and getting us away from the utter crap that the android cesspit seems filled with.

    2. vilemeister

      Re: Finally!

      I bought an Fxtec pro1 - they are out now (ish) - they had supply issues but I think finally getting there. Might be worth a look - I loved my desire Z too. Both of these don't hold the screen flat though...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tandy / Maplin

    That looks like something that Maplin used to sell back in the early 1990s

  10. John Robson Silver badge

    Whilst I loved (and still have) my Psion5mx...

    I can't help but think that bluetooth keyboards for more mainstream portable screens are a better solution to the problem.

    I have a folding bluetooth keyboard which takes a pair of AAA batteries, and folds out sideways (with a sliding hinge in the middle so that the two sides of the hinge are both supported by the 'back' of the device and it doesn't go floppy).

    I have to be honest though, when I expect to need a keyboard, I have an old Apple bluetooth KB (2*AA) with an 'origami' case, which props up a phone or tablet very well, even on my lap, so the folding keyboard doesn't see all that much use any more; it used to be in almost daily use, despite being just a faction smaller than I would have liked.

    If they made a truly compact folding bluetooth keyboard that was reasonable to type on then they'd probably sell a whole lot more. If said keyboard had a case which could prop up a phone/tablet in a case, all the better. Something that folds down to the size of a small glasses case from laptop sized/spaced keys would be nice.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Whilst I loved (and still have) my Psion5mx...

      Planet can't make any money out of the keyboard alone. If you look at the Chinese phones based on the same MediTek chipsets that Planet use, you see that they are budget end models. Planet are managing to shift them for £500, which means they are making a couple of hundred for selling a keyboard integration.

      I doubt they could make that for just a Bluetooth keyboard, however good it is (and it is good).

    2. Dr_N Silver badge

      Re: Whilst I loved (and still have) my Psion5mx...

      I use this for the Intel ComputeStick:

      https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bluetooth-Keyboard-Jelly-Comb-Rechargeable/dp/B07BN9P71K/

      Added bonus of a mousepad, microUSB rechargeable and can be used as a wired USB keyboard when innevitably Windows boots and refuses to connect to the bluetooth keyboard.

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: Whilst I loved (and still have) my Psion5mx...

        That looks quite - nice, how does the fold get supported in use?

        I note that they do a semi ergo ones as well:

        https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07TXMCJQF

        and someone is doing one that should be quite rigid across the deck:

        https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01MTO8Q8J

      2. ColinTheFish

        Re: Whilst I loved (and still have) my Psion5mx...

        I've got an older similar one for my iPhone Plus. There are still two challenges though 1. It's about the same size as another phone. 2. The software is not designed for it in many cases.

    3. steelpillow Silver badge

      Re: Whilst I loved (and still have) my Psion5mx...

      "I can't help but think that bluetooth keyboards for more mainstream portable screens are a better solution"

      Back a few years my S5 became unusable. The first generation of Linux netbooks had just come and gone (Thanks, Microshaft), so I got a Nexus 7 tablet, Bluetooth keyboard and leatherette wallet. When folded up it looked for all the world just like the standard 80's Filofax. Used it routinely, never once took either out of the wallet.

      But the keybaord was so-so. You can keep your Bluetooth to yourself, thank you - especially as the Master of the Keyboard Martin Riddiford has not designed it!

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Whilst I loved (and still have) my Psion5mx...

        What happened with the S5? Both of mine are still fine and in use (with Lineage OS, of course).

    4. Mage Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Whilst I loved (and still have) my Psion5mx...

      BT keyboards sleep and miss characters or randomly unpair and can take ages to setup. Sometimes they work. However proprietary 2.4 GHz wireless mini-keyboards with a USB mini-dongle work better even on an Android phone.

      It's a niche product for someone that wants a nearly real pocket computer, like what a version today of the 2001/2002 Nokia 9210i would be like. Unfortunately by 2003 Nokia Phone division Management had seriously lost the plot on management and GUI choices/development.

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: Whilst I loved (and still have) my Psion5mx...

        My BT keyboards don't sleep or miss characters...

        Don't know what you're doing wrong with yours.

        It's a niche product, a niche that I have reasonable history with (Psion5(s), XDAs to name a couple), as well as having tried palm graffiti and used touchscreen keyboards (which I really dislike) and early netbooks (too bulky by a long shot).

        I still think that the niche is better served by a split device - particularly if the fold was good enough that it could be a genuinely everyday keyboard...

        Although I'd still be sorely tempted by a true Psion5mx remix - with a modern touchscreen and connectivity. But I think it would be better off eschewing the phone in favour of a plain linux OS - even something like raspbian as a default (obviously raspbian has it's own target hardware).

        I spent several years with a candybar nokia phone which allowed my tablet to tether via bluetooth. Was a great combination, I used to plug in a mouse and use the BT keyboard to do various things, including remote admin, and local game play.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Whilst I loved (and still have) my Psion5mx...

      I've been using this sort of bluetooth keyboard for years now (after an initial period of trying out a few designs). No mousepad; but - for around £30 - a very good keyboard for typing on. The act of unfolding it turns it on and connects it to your phone, plus there's more keyboard than it looks like you can fit in the box.

      This prototype looks lovely and quite desirable. Given infinite budget, I'd probably be up for one. As things are though, phone + BT keyboard is a lot more practical financially even if there's 2 boxes to carry (and recharge). You're not limited to the specs of one particular phone, plus if one bit fails you just replace that bit.

    6. Jan 0

      Re: Whilst I loved (and still have) my Psion5mx...

      Is a Jorno too big for you? Properly staggered keys and a rugged case that props up your gizmo.

  11. Ian Entwistle

    I backed/got a cosmo... loved it... till I happened to use it whilst it was raining.. now dead and " water ingress" means no warranty/replacement... I've never had to worry about using a phone outside before but now I'm the owner of a 500 quid paperweight. :(

    1. steelpillow Silver badge

      @Ian Entwistle: have you tried opening it and leaving it on a radiator for a week? I have rescued more than one 'leccy toy that way.

      1. Ian Entwistle

        yes its dry as a bone but still dead as a dead thing.. I suspect the battery is actually duff rather than water damage to anything.

  12. Trygve Henriksen

    Slip sliding away...

    I remember all the smartphones with slide-out keyboards...

    That never really worked. The contacts lost contact, the slide mechanism jammed or broke.

    My Gemini is mostly collecting dust. Sorry, but it's too slow to run the apps I want.

    My Cosmo hasn't shipped yet...

    and now they want to push this disaster-in-waiting onto the market?

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Slip sliding away...

      Has no-one had the wit to make a small BT keyboard with a hinge at the back that the phone slots into so you can use it like the Gemini?

      Have I just given away another fortune? Probably not - because what you really need is a hinge that takes a small BT keyboard and a phone and that should be 3d printable!

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Slip sliding away...

        Yes, they exist. But it just doesn't work as well.

      2. Reg Reader 1

        Re: Slip sliding away...

        I used an "LG Rumor 2" for years. Loved that little phone with its great little slide out keyboard

    2. Simon Rockman

      Re: Slip sliding away...

      Sidekick was hugely sucessful in the US.

  13. steelpillow Silver badge

    letting thngs slide

    Planet have also let support slide. They say they haven't and I know they are working hard on Cosmo's many bugs. But fixes that also apply to Gemini are just not making it across any more. Moreover, their customer communications have always been basically nonexistent and they show no sign they give a shit about that.

    So yes, highly desirable device - when my Gemini eventually dies I will probably replace it with one of these or its successor - but you are buying the moment not a lifecycle.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: letting thngs slide

      I've wanted one of their devices since they first came along. A mobile computing device that can be used for more complex tasks would be fantastic. But unfortunately every time I hear about them, they receive one more shallow cut. First, the keyboard layout on the Gemini was nonstandard--that's a little annoying when I'm running terminal commands or writing code*. Then, the keyboard was stated to be wobbly. Then, Linux support seems to be an afterthought--it's available, just not until we do a bunch of work on it first. Then, flaky updates and bugs in Android too.

      But I still want the concept device. And I'm willing to compromise on quite a bit. I'm willing to do my own fiddling with the UI--a standard Linux desktop GUI won't work great on a tiny screen but I don't feel like the manufacturers have to get it looking beautiful; I can do that work. I'll accept a keyboard that doesn't feel great or one that has a nonstandard layout, but not both. I don't need the device to have a convenient phone screen--if having to open it to answer a message is the price I have to pay for a keyboard, I'm willing to do so. I'm not after perfection, yet it seems like they're still not meeting my expectations.

      *I'm not planning to do a lot of day-to-day work on such a small device, but there are times when I want to calculate a complex result which is easier to do through a programming language than a calculator app. Or sometimes, I might want to run an SQL statement and see the results, which doesn't work great in a graphical view either. In either case, I want convenient access to my punctuation.

  14. TheProf Silver badge

    Ribbon cable failure

    I've had a couple of Psion 5mx and the weak point has been the ribbon cable.

    How are these Planet palmtops connecting the keyboard to the motherboard?

    1. steelpillow Silver badge

      Re: Ribbon cable failure

      It's a much better-quality ribbon cable on Gemini. Also, unlike the S5, there is no sliding action so it is less exercised. Few if any such failures have been reported for the Gemini. I guess The Slider (RIP Marc Bolan) will be an interesting one to watch.

  15. theOtherJT

    They need to either up-staff or slow down.

    I have a cosmo - it's nice, but it feels decidedly... unfinished. The hardware is great, but the software is what I would consider beta quality at best. I was really planning on using it as a daily device, but it's so finnicky that I've kept it strictly for mobile working when I need to do things on-call.

    I don't imagine I'm alone amongst cosmo owners who would like to see them sort out all the bugs in the device they already have on the market (plenty of other posters have enumerated them here, I'm not going to do it again) before they try and get another one out the door.

  16. Bronek Kozicki

    I wish them well

    ... but I will not be pre-ordering, despite propensity for keyboards. Let's see if they deliver first, and then if the thing is any better than my BB KEY2.

    1. Ian Entwistle

      Re: I wish them well

      You will have seen above my cosmo is dead, it replaced a KeyOne and has been replaced by a Key2..

      in terms of device, the cosmo is a different beast to do a different job. Whilst the KB on the 2 is good for most stuff I do the cosmo was capable of far far longer typing sessions than I'd like to do on the 2.

      software wise the cosmo was OK for me, I had the odd quirk but as a techie i sort of guessed I'd be beta tester at best. it was fast enough and generally worked well once we'd sorted an autorotate mechanism for the few apps that prefer it.

      so the q is what do you want it to be, a fancier Key2 or a scaled down laptop. former stay where you are for now to see how the Astro goes, latter jump right in.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: I wish them well

        I can't speak for anyone else, but my desire would be a scaled-down laptop. That means running much of the software I might on a low-end laptop. That means Linux. Or technically BSD, Windows, or Mac OS but not Android. I have Android apps, but few will benefit sufficiently from a keyboard that my work can be done through them. I have, for example, an SSH terminal app on my phone for the possible emergency where that's all I have available, but I don't use it routinely and it's not just the keyboard that makes it that way. For that reason, the later Planet devices that run Android and Sailfish (maybe but some caveats apply) won't work very well for my intentions.

        1. Ian Entwistle

          Re: I wish them well

          Have you looked at Andronix? i have Ubuntu running nicely on my key2 with "reasonable" performance. ( Key2 is not a stunner compared to some other android devices). with a BT keyboard I could see a S10/20/Note10 being a very useful device if you don't mind the two bits aspect.

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: I wish them well

            I can't say I've tried that app. I have used Userland for that, and it works. But it doesn't work well, and not for any faults in the app. It doesn't work as well because I don't have access to as much of the hardware through the abstractions. Userland can, for example, give me SSH or VNC access to the VMs, but it can't handle audio. I don't think one could use the camera, not that I ever have the desire, but it would be good to have in a pinch. Nor does it do Bluetooth--I must have my phone do that part and relay the input to the VM.

            Are any of these things complete dealbreakers? Not really--I don't really need the camera, audio would be useful some of the time but it's not an ultimate requirement, and if I'm debugging or testing a Bluetooth device I can wait until I have my laptop. But I don't want to. That's exactly the point. If I want to use a program that runs on Linux and needs to record and play audio, I want to be able to do that on my scaled-down laptop. It doesn't take much power; a raspberry pi with the appropriate hardware attached can do it easily. When I simulate that on a much more powerful phone, I am constantly reminded that this just isn't designed for that and I should go back to my laptop or write a mobile app to replace it. That's why I want a mobile device that runs a desktop OS natively.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Weight

    It'd be nice if some other phone manufacturers offered a heavyweight version with proper battery capacity.

    There must be a right bunch of pussies that can't cope with 300g for the duration of a phone call, and they could use the exercise.

  18. Slions

    F(x)tec Pro1 weights 243g.

  19. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    I'd consider one

    I'd consider one, if I had the cash. My KeyOne is quite nice (but it's the BBB100-3 that is stuck on Android 7.1.1, because Verizon Wireless choose to ship a phone that claimed Android being kept up to date for 3 years, then got and shipped zero updates but the first couple Android 7 security updates for it.) Having a keyboard is a godsend. I know how to use the Android on screen keyboard, but it's simply awful to type on compared to a real keyboard, even when it's that small.

    You know when I went to the store to find one, before the sales droid finally admitted they had no KeyOnes and no intention of stocking it (despite it being a Verizon retailer, when Verizon was theoretically stocking these phones...) their solution to the keyboard problem was to pay twice as much for some giant like 9" "phone", because the on screen keyboard on it would be bigger! Ha, as if!

    It is kind of funny, the mainstream vendors (Motorola, LG, etc.) will take a look at a recent IPhone or Galaxy phone, make a phone that's the same shape, same types of trim on it, and even throwing on dumb stuff like a screen "notch", running the same version of Android, then whine and whine that they can't make their phones stand out from the competition. Well, that's because they DON'T stand out when you do absolutely nothing to make it stand out!

    These keyboard phones sold reasonably despite the kind of problems that should kill sales -- in the case of the KeyOne running out of stock frequently, I'm sure losing sales; and making deals with the likes of Verizon, who "sold" it as a Verizon phone but didn't stock it in stores. I do think if Motorola or LG (or even Samsung, but they probably sell enough Galaxy phones anyway they don't have to do anything) made a nice keyboard phone or two, I'm not saying they'd break sales records but I do think they'd sell plenty to be a viable market.

  20. Blackjack Silver badge

    The PDA of the year 2020

    Sadly with most people on quarantine, who is gonna buy a device that's for have a phone, a computer and keyboard all in one?

  21. Neill Mitchell

    Pity they don't invest the effort in finishing off the Cosmo. It's so buggy it's barely usable.

    Keeps randomly locking when typing, Dud keys (you would have thought they've sorted this after the Gemini). Keystrokes missed or duplicated and worst of all - appalling battery life, Mainly due to the cover display (the USP of the device) drawing as much power as the main board and wakelocks keeping the CPU alive. Obviously even PC have realised the cover display idea is a dead end.

    I should have learned from my Gemini experience. I'd never buy another Planet device.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      My Gemini has been faultless, and very close to my ideal portable. It only needs decent sunlight visible screen to be ideal. I didn’t get the Cosmo, too much trying to be a daily phone, whereas the Gemini is a portable computer first, phone second, it could not compete with real phones. So, for my needs, the Gemini is the better device than the Cosmo, and better than the slide thing which is even more a phone attempt.

    2. Ian Entwistle

      Neil, whilst the initial firmware did have the lock bug the updates mine had ( before it died, see elsewhere ) resolved it. ditto the cover display issues on release were fixed. ( I know they have just had a bug in a very recent release but i believe that is also fixed now )

  22. Dave559 Silver badge

    PC? VC!

    Planet Computers have successfully shown that there is a demand for this sort of product (and all due credit to them for that), but surely it's now time that they moved beyond the "traditional" British garden shed inventor phase? It isn't 1982 any more, and they need to try to scale up somewhat, not least so that they can provide substantially better software support for their devices and gain a reputation as a properly reliable company for the future, rather than risking being typecast solely as inventors of innovative but essentially beta-version devices?

    If they were in the USA, they'd surely be hunting around after venture capital investors by now, after two reasonably successful product launches, or perhaps even be being actively chased after.

    They should maybe try to get on Dragons' Den on tv to seek funding, or at least seize the publicity opportunity of sending Cosmos to the Dragons to see if that sparks their interest (and, y'know, improving your Wikipedia presence and relevant inter-article linking certainly wouldn't hurt your profile (there isn't even a page for Cosmo!)).

    Also, after the UK Government bailed out various of the banks, aren't those same banks now supposed to be repaying that favour by having various schemes in place to support entrepreneurs and startups? I'm sure there must be the funding out there that Planet need to scale themselves up to the next level of design (ie, no more poorly supported MediaTek chipsets), sales, and overall quality, which, with the best will (and nevertheless there has been enough of that support so far) crowdfunding just isn't likely to be able to properly provide?

  23. ChromAesthetics

    Have you decent earphones that talk?

    Seems to me that if they have Bluetooth then my Bose earphones would obviate bulk as an issue since it can sit ANYwhere i have lap or s desk. Grant you you won't be jogging with it but who should anyway?

    Would love to see this succeed because it stands out and looks like an intelligent effort.

    Haven't experienced planet before so the legion issues noted above fly right past my eyes, greedy for a phone that can really handle linux dual boot.

    And if its powerful enough why not try? Its going to be priced right in there with a TON of look-and-function-like samsung cheap-ass wannabes. If they can make a market my hunch is they'll WORK at the Linux this time and then we can send iOS to its childish overpriced overdue grave.

  24. MrNigel

    Psion theft

    Back in the 90's my office was broken into. It was a pro job, they did the entire office park - cut BT wires, foam in the alarm boxes etc. They forced the lock to my office and the lock on my desk. What did they steal? My Psion Organizer which I replaced with a Palm Pilot..... #GoodOldDays

  25. Christian Berger

    It doesn't protect the screen

    So whenever it is dropped there is a serious chance of cracking the screen. Why on earth did they copy that design flaw from Apple?

  26. ChrisBedford

    A physical keyboard? You've got to be f*(^%in kidding

    What a waste of hardware resources, time, money, and god knows what else, to say nothing of the inflexibility of fixed hardware and requiring hundreds of regionalised variants. I'm a "boomer" and even though this looks like it's aimed at the conservative "older" market I think it's stoopid.

    Don't see it becoming a best-seller, somehow.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: A physical keyboard? You've got to be f*(^%in kidding

      It’s not going to be a best seller, it’s a niche product which is why it is crowdfunded.

      It’s for the few people that want them, enough to enable limited production. Not all about you and your needs.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    I have no idea what I'd ever use this for...

    ...and yet I still want one.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One day into the fundraising and...

    £447,472 GBP from 933 backers

    279% of £159,980 Fixed Goal reached with 39 days left

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pathetic Battery Capacity

    Just looking at the specs and they reckon that the battery is going to be around 4000mAH. You cannot be serious. This is going to be woefully inadequate for a high speed processor and 5G phone! You'll be forever trying to charge it up! Good luck if you want to use it away from the mains or power bank for more than a couple of hours. While I do find the physical keyboard aspect very, very attractive, the almost comedic and pathetic battery capacity is a huge no-no. It will be useless as a mobile phone.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hello Moto

    That Kick Slide mechanism (for that is what it is) looks somewhat borrowed from the Moto Z8/Z10...

    I wonder if they've coughed for the patent? :)

  31. Dave 15 Silver badge

    Love the design

    Hate these touch only phones and so bought myself a blackberry... well frankly that was a mistake, battery is shagged, back fell off the week I started to use it, the charger socket is the only one on all the devices I have ever owned that doesnt have a single plug that fits it because they basically f***d the design so that you have to hold the bloody charger cable in just the right angle, and thats before I get to the software that takes 45 seconds to load my history (about 20 before I get so exasperated I clear it again) of calls, the unexpected hangups part way through the call, the 'can you hear me' experiences whenever someone phones me.

    One thing is for sure... all my friends have learnt to call my old phone number where I answer with an ancient Nokia.. it works, the calls are clear, the battery doesnt die and we can both hear each other... so much for progress

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