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The Astro Slide! (sliding keyboard phone competition from planetcom)


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6 minutes ago, flx said:

At this count I can get out of the carton my good old Nokia E61i 😇

So you are more of a portrait keyboard guy then. E71 was great too. I never understood portait keyboard as they don't bring you much over virtual keyboard since you loose screen real estate anyway, permanently even.

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MediaTek doesn't release any open source code. So custom roms like Lineage etc. are very difficult to make. So you are stuck with stock. And further, given that it's all closed source Chinese code, I'

>MediaTek fucking DROPPED No possibility to boot Maemo-Leste, no buy.

On the other hand, I'm happy someone finally made a keyboard slider for someone with big hands and thumbs like me.  I hated my work issued BBs-- I could never type on them, I also remember rejecting t

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32 minutes ago, Slion said:

So you are more of a portrait keyboard guy then. E71 was great too. I never understood portait keyboard as they don't bring you much over virtual keyboard since you loose screen real estate anyway, permanently even.

Yes, I'm not "against" horizontal keyboards but I find the advantage of one hand typing a big advantage. I'm messaging a lot while doing my shopping, in the bus, carrying things, etc. I like to multitask on my life, I don't like to stop whatever I'm doing to reply a message.

 

Since my 1st Smartphone I owned (longtime) a Nokia e61i, a Nokia e72, a BB Bold 9900, a BB Classic, a BB Priv and a BB Key2.

My preferred layout was the one from the Nokia e72.

My preferred phone as a whole was the Classic, I loved how it fitted in the hand and BBOS10 was really a great OS.
But accentuated letters have always been a pain on BB (what a shame for a company that comes from a French speaking country) and always ended using the auto-correct on low just for it to handle the accentuated letters for me........................

I liked a lot the Priv also but Android is still a pain, all the notifications are at the top where I can't reach one handed... how stupid is this design. On the Priv I even had difficulties reaching the left part of the screen when holding with my right hand without pressing the right side with the palm of my hand -_-

Key2 was a bit better on that because slightly narrower but I disliked the use of the keyboard (because gestures were harder to do properly than on the Priv kb).

 

I am definitely capable to type a lot faster (and a with a lot less typos) on a vertical kb than on a virtual one, and the most important for me with a consistant typing time. With virtual kb, autocorrect and swiping it's always a gamble on how long it will take me...

Since I have been forced to fall back on a slab phone (poor key2 ended drowned) I find myself often giving up a reply a bit too long and waiting to return on my computer to write it...

 

 

So all of that to say, Pro1X it will be (I hope not in too long x)). I will lose one hand typing but I'll survive. The only thing I really fear is if the kb is too wide for me, I tried to mockup the phone size and I have to stretch a bit to reach center keys.

Oh and if the azerty layout is not good enough and doesn't allow direct access to accentuated letters.

 

And yes, I have small hands for a man (8 size glove) but probably not smaller than 90% of women.

Edited by flx
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10 hours ago, EskeRahn said:

Oh indeed let us have variety, the more the merrier. There are no single model that are ideal for everyone.

Just as those seldom using a keyboard should keep on using their slabs.

Different users different usage patterns and needs. 🙂

That is actually the only real innovation that apple brought to the smartphone market (everything else was more or less bought). What they showed the competition is, that variety may be good for customers, but it is much more lucrative to market just ONE device.

Media talked about how innovative the device was, it wasn't, the marketing was. It destroyed years of innovation and prevented future innovation. Imagine having just one car for everybody. Driving Long distance? Well nobody needs that anyway. More than 2 seats? Oh that is a niche, we don't care. It is a sportscabrio for everybody. Need a big boot? Well you can always buy a trailer for it, for the price of a second car.

Edited by Doktor Oswaldo
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13 hours ago, claude0001 said:

In all honesty, I find that the Pro1 is some "in-between" solution that seeks to be compatible with, both, thumb-typing as well as multi-finger operation (when the phone sits on a table). As a result, it fulfils both roles pretty badly (for me at least): I could thumb-type much faster on my (smaller) N900, and I am not really able to use more than two fingers in "desktop-mode" either.

I find the Pro1 pretty good for thumb-typing. The keyboard is approaching the limit of how wide it should be to be comfortable, but for me it's not too wide yet. I don't think it's a "jack of all trades, master of none", to me it seems like they chose to focus on thumb-typing, with desktop-typing being more of an afterthought. And the Astro Slide looks to be significantly worse for thumb-typing. 

They seem like different devices accomplishing different things, and I'm not interested at all in the Astro Slide. I like the keyboard to quickly flip it out and type something, on the Astro Slide it seems like more of a commitment. 

 

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55 minutes ago, EskeRahn said:

Ford T ? 😏

Ford T actually existed in a lot of different body style, Sedan, Coupé, Roadster, Pickup, etc.

I would be happy if a manufacturer used a same technical base to offer us 6 different form factor (like the Nokia e-series in their time).

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1 hour ago, EskeRahn said:

Ford T ? 😏

Well... the Ford T used that method to make something cheaper, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Since there will be high class alternatives more tailored to a specific user. But apple showed that this is not needed, you can just use marketing to sell everybody a high class phone with a huge margin and price... Which makes high class alternatives to a slab useless from a economic standpoint. Apple marketing has already told everyone that they need a slab, so why fight against that marketing, when you can just glue together your own cheap slab and sell it for big bucks?

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15 hours ago, flx said:

I often see people bashing vertical keyboards on this forum but with some training you can type reaaaaally fast on those thanks to the short distance your thumbs travel and when necessary you can even type one handed. Off course horizontal keyboards win on the special keys...

Typing as such was great on the PRIV, but for my most important applications for a hardware keyboard a landsacape-oriented screen is desirable, if not mandatory, too, like working on a Linux terminal or even a remote desktop... Or entering text in a web app that doesn't reflow, otherwise forcing me to scroll back and forth horizontally all the time just to see what I just wrote. Many times I needed to hold the PRIV in landscape orientation while trying to type on a 90° rotated keyboard. That was awkward 😉

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I've decided to get an Astro over the pro1(x) as its not really an upgrade (more ram and storage don't make any difference to my usage)  and I wanted to back them making hardware keyboard phones need all the backing they can get 🙂 but I couldn't afford to be backing 2 phones this year.  I am hoping 2022 will bring a new device to the Fxtec family and I will be getting that 🙂 (fingers crossed a 5.1" device lol)

Be interesting which I find more usable I see it more Astro been for computing tasks (one I would take to work) and Pro1 the phone I would use at other times.

And I have to agree with the portrait keyboards they are more usable for quick messages and emails but the phones are rubbish for games and general tasks I found (based on BB Key One)

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35 minutes ago, _DW_ said:

And I have to agree with the portrait keyboards they are more usable for quick messages and emails but the phones are rubbish for games and general tasks I found (based on BB Key One)

Again different people different needs.


You could say that a portrait keyboard lands in between a fake keyboard and a landscape keyboard. Having some of the pros and cons of each. So for those doing a modest amount of typing it could be an optimal compromise.
Those doing a small amount would be better of with just a fake keyboard to save space and weight, and the few of us that use the devices primarily for texting, we can go for landscape keyboards.

One of the drawbacks of a landscape keyboard is that it is virtually impossible to use one handed, so we have to fall back to use the fake keyboard for one hand operation. And most of us do not have thumbs long and flexible enough to keep a secure grip and have one thumb cover touch interaction with the whole display of the phablets of today....

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3 hours ago, _DW_ said:

I've decided to get an Astro over the pro1(x) as its not really an upgrade (more ram and storage don't make any difference to my usage)  and I wanted to back them making hardware keyboard phones need all the backing they can get 🙂 but I couldn't afford to be backing 2 phones this year.  I am hoping 2022 will bring a new device to the Fxtec family and I will be getting that 🙂 (fingers crossed a 5.1" device lol)

Be interesting which I find more usable I see it more Astro been for computing tasks (one I would take to work) and Pro1 the phone I would use at other times.

And I have to agree with the portrait keyboards they are more usable for quick messages and emails but the phones are rubbish for games and general tasks I found (based on BB Key One)

I do have a cosmo and honestly the keyboard is a LOT better than the pro1 if you want to do some actual work (something like tmux, emacs or vim). I find it very painful to use emacs on the pro1 because I can't touch type. On the planet keyboard this is possible, provided you can put the device somewhere or on your lap. But TBH, at that point you could be using an actual laptop... instead of running planet's shitty OS with 1+ year old security patches on a chipset that's not well documented or supported.

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First of all this is great news. Competition in the sliding keyboard smartphone market means things are picking up and we can expect to have full keyboard sliders to choose from in the mainstream in the future.

What I don't like about astro's slider:

  • Subjectively the design doesn't look good to me: the keyboard looks like the keys have been thrown on there without any symmetry or bezels and the screen placement when open looks ugly. It sort of looks... functional yet cheap and there's a separation between the keyboard part and the screen, like 2 parts stuck together, not a whole device with lines that flow through all its elements giving unity
  • Probably no AMOLED
  • The cumbersome way of opening it

What I like about it:

  • Mechanical keyboard?!!! If it really is a low profile truly mechanical keyboard, that would be unbelievably awesome
  • Full Linux support
  • Dual boot
  • Dual usb-c

I would still stick to my Pro1 or its future incarnations if FXtec keeps their overall design direction as it literally looks as the ideal phone I designed in my head in 2016 (when I was thinking how I would update the hardware of my Nokia E7-00).

Edited by Rud
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12 hours ago, Rud said:

First of all this is great news. Competition in the sliding keyboard smartphone market means things are picking up and we can expect to have full keyboard sliders to choose from in the mainstream in the future.

What I don't like about astro's slider:

  • Subjectively the design doesn't look good to me: the keyboard looks like the keys have been thrown on there without any symmetry or bezels and the screen placement when open looks ugly. It sort of looks... functional yet cheap and there's a separation between the keyboard part and the screen, like 2 parts stuck together, not a whole device with lines that flow through all its elements giving unity
  • Probably no AMOLED
  • The cumbersome way of opening it

What I like about it:

  • Mechanical keyboard?!!! If it really is a low profile truly mechanical keyboard, that would be unbelievably awesome
  • Full Linux support
  • Dual boot
  • Dual usb-c

I would still stick to my Pro1 or its future incarnations if FXtec keeps their overall design direction as it literally looks as the ideal phone I designed in my head in 2016 (when I was thinking how I would update the hardware of my Nokia E7-00).

* Uses the same design as the Psion 5 keyboards which I remember been said somewhere (not planet) been one of the best keyboards around to touch type on for the size of it

* I'm really hoping its not AMOLED hate them

* Yes it looks dodgy but I put the pro1 in that category as well 😄 (even though the N97 mechanism worked really well its just not the same on the Pro1 😞 )

* Don't think its mechanical

I'm personally backing them as its something different and I already have a pro1 and I can see the 2 devices complementing each others not 1 just sat around (which is what would happen with the pro1 if I got a pro1(x)) I also wouldn't be running android on the astro that would be on the pro1.   If I had loads of money to throw around I would get both but that just isn't the case at the moment so made the decision based on new benefits I would get.

 

 

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I too am tempted to support it, just as it is nice to see more keyboard phones out there.

But apart from the mechanism, that I would like to hear actual feedback on first, there is a principle issue with the number of columns of keys making it unsuitable for all the languages using more national letters than A-Z. Not to mention that ordinary punctuation also have to be pushed to unconventional places due to the lack of keys. Of course that is the price to pay for the larger keys, so pros&cons.

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2 hours ago, EskeRahn said:

I too am tempted to support it, just as it is nice to see more keyboard phones out there.

But apart from the mechanism, that I would like to hear actual feedback on first, there is a principle issue with the number of columns of keys making it unsuitable for all the languages using more national letters than A-Z. Not to mention that ordinary punctuation also have to be pushed to unconventional places due to the lack of keys. Of course that is the price to pay for the larger keys, so pros&cons.

There using the same keyboard as the other devices from what I can see and that has 24 layouts? do they have not suitable or not exist for you?

https://planetcom.squarespace.com/device

And yeah I have reservations on the mechanism and will be giving feedback when I have one 😄

Edited by _DW_
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32 minutes ago, _DW_ said:

do they have not suitable or not exist for you?

I would say that most of them are not suited for the languages suggested.... It's not a matter of how they could have made the print, it is more fundamental that most national keyboard layouts expects (at the least) two letter keys right of the L, and one right of the P, and they can not do that with the current keys. They would need to squeeze in an extra column, and cut the current enter into two as the least possible change. And they would need two columns extra to get close to what we are used to. But obviously that would be at the cost of minor keys, so pros&cons.

Even for real and US English they have been forced to move comma down next to the space bar.

Usable, well sort of, we can get used to anything. But they are certainly not conventional layouts.

The clever thing is that the key-tops are removable (saw that somewhere) so it is really easy to change them. That is clearly a plus over the Pro1.

 

BTW what is that thing next to the Q? Storage position for a A USB-port protective plug or?
image.png.17630ac5eaf31b44ff02c96ce0d85069.png

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23 minutes ago, EskeRahn said:

So no one can blame them for not being backwards compatible 😉
But it will obviously be a big plus for (literally) older users, (They have moved a few secondary functions though)

Quite funny was just reading the pine64 December update they are also basing the PinePhone keyboard addon on Psion 5 lol

(About half way down)

https://www.pine64.org/2020/12/15/december-update-the-longest-one-yet/

 

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20 hours ago, Rud said:

[...]

  • Mechanical keyboard?!!! If it really is a low profile truly mechanical keyboard, that would be unbelievably awesome
  • Full Linux support
  • Dual boot

[...]

If it is the same keyboard than on the Cosmo and Gemini, it seems to be as "mechanical" as you can get. The keys are individually supported and seem to have good travel range. This also comes with some disadvantages, though, as there have been reports of "pocket dirt" going under the key caps and being difficult to remove 😄.

It is true that since mid-2020, they seem to be making good progress with their Linux distribution for the Cosmo. However, dual-boot is really not something I would like to have on my device. For the Cosmo this may be acceptable, as it is a quite awkward phone anyway.

But on a real keyboard-phablet (like the Pro1 or the AstroSlide), I want to be able to switch between the desktop Linux environment and some conventional phone OS (Android/Lineage/Sailfish ...) on-the-fly. So for the Astro, some solution like @matf's SailfishOS with jailed desktop-Linux (see this thread) would be much preferred. No idea if they are working on something like that though ...

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17 minutes ago, claude0001 said:

If it is the same keyboard than on the Cosmo and Gemini, it seems to be as "mechanical" as you can get. The keys are individually supported and seem to have good travel range. This also comes with some disadvantages, though, as there have been reports of "pocket dirt" going under the key caps and being difficult to remove 😄.

It is true that since mid-2020, they seem to be making good progress with their Linux distribution for the Cosmo. However, dual-boot is really not something I would like to have on my device. For the Cosmo this may be acceptable, as it is a quite awkward phone anyway.

But on a real keyboard-phablet (like the Pro1 or the AstroSlide), I want to be able to switch between the desktop Linux environment and some conventional phone OS (Android/Lineage/Sailfish ...) on-the-fly. So for the Astro, some solution like @matf's SailfishOS with jailed desktop-Linux (see this thread) would be much preferred. No idea if they are working on something like that though ...

yes guess pocket dirt will be a problem but not sure on the astro as its design makes the top and bottom sealed when in pocket.

android 10 is what you want for switching between phone and desktop when docked

 

 

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27 minutes ago, _DW_ said:

android 10 is what you want for switching between phone and desktop when docked

That's totally not what I, and many others, have in mind.

We want to run a conventional desktop Linux environment (with GNU userland et al. ) in parallel to the phone OS. Please have a look at @matf's demonstration I linked above to get the idea.

We also want to run our desktop environment on-the-go (i.e. on the device's screen). I can imagine very few practical use-cases for these so called "convergence" modes (as in Android 10 and UbuntuTouch): When I am close to a big screen, there is likely already a real PC attached to it anyway, why should I then bother to use my phone as such?

Edited by claude0001
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25 minutes ago, claude0001 said:

That's totally not what I, and many others, have in mind.

We want to run a conventional desktop Linux environment (with GNU userland et al. ) in parallel to the phone OS. Please have a look at @matf's demonstration I linked above to get the idea.

We also want to run our desktop environment on-the-go (i.e. on the device's screen). I can imagine very few practical use-cases for these so called "convergence" modes (as in Android 10 and UbuntuTouch): When I am close to a big screen, there is likely already a real PC attached to it anyway, why should I then bother to use my phone as such?

Convergence mode is because you have everything you need on your device already 🙂

But true multi boot is needed on phones

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12 minutes ago, _DW_ said:

Convergence mode is because you have everything you need on your device already 🙂

Some might have definitions of "everything you need" that differ from yours. 🙂

I'm coming from an N900. When you are used to a full Unix computing environment, there is really no way to fulfil all your needs with Android and Android Apps alone.

Example? Using my Debian chroot, I could compile and install MAD/X [cern.ch] on my Pro1:

image.thumb.png.2feb9941b7e47ffda629e9182f627f90.png

So I am now, literally, able to design f***ing particle accelerators using the Pro1. Now go and try that with Android 😎 .

P.S.: ... OK, OK, this port was just a fun project. I'll probably never actually design an accelerator with the Pro1 (as I have MAD/X running on more powerful workstations) -- but I think you get the point now ...

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