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


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4 hours 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 ...

I'd prefer dual boot so that either active OS can benefit of all the phone's resources. In your example, Sailfish is still running while you're in Linux and would consume some percentage of CPU power and RAM.

I'm not really into hardcore coding, compiling, etc... but I'd like to get the most out of either OS.

Regarding the keyboard, if it has mechanical switches for each key and no membrane, that would indeed be a feat to take note of.

Edited by Rud
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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'

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

I couldn't agree more, I want a mini version of the Pro1 or the Cosmo (or both). I often see people bashing vertical keyboards on this forum but with some training you can type reaaaaally fast on t

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35 minutes ago, Rud said:

I'd prefer dual boot so that either active OS can benefit of all the phone's resources. In your example, Sailfish is still running while you're in Linux.

Well, that's my point: Being able to use phone apps and desktop apps in parallel.

A priori, there is no technical disadvantage of both environments running at the same time on the same (Android) Linux kernel -- apart from somewhat increased RAM usage which is not really a problem on devices like the Pro1(X) that simply have enough of that.

It is true that Chroot or LXC solutions like mine (on Lineage) or @matf's (on Sailfish) do not have direct hardware access to a lot of features (telephony, GPU, GPS, ...). However, this is not a technical problem: it is a consequence of the kernel modules not being open-sourced so that the standard GNU/Linux APIs cannot be implemented. For the same reason you cannot simply install vanilla Debian on a bare-metal Pro1: its drivers are not in the mainline kernel source. In fact, the same is true for the Cosmo.

However, a manufacturer controlling the driver source code could very well make a kernel supporting full HW access from e.g. SailfishOS and a Linux Chroot/LXC running concurrently (on any device, actually).  

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6 hours ago, claude0001 said:

For the Cosmo this may be acceptable, as it is a quite awkward phone anyway.

If I had bought a Planet phone instead of the Pro1X (if they were small enough for my hands to be able to thumbs type on it) I think I would have picked the Cosmo form factor.

I looked to it over and over and in the end (took me some time) I quite liked the concept and functioning of this small outside screen with basic features and notifications. And when I really want to use my phone I can chose to open it and do or watch comfortably whatever I have to. It may also be a way to not fall in the temptation of spending 30 minutes on the phone everytime a notification is received.

I guess I like awkward hardware.

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2 minutes ago, flx said:

I guess I like awkward hardware.

I can see nothing bad in that principle. 🙂

That said, as far as I know (from reading alone) the external display works in tandem with PlanetComputer's Android 9 apps. I wonder if it does anything when the phone is operated with the Linux OS.

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14 minutes ago, claude0001 said:

I can see nothing bad in that principle. 🙂

That said, as far as I know (from reading alone) the external display works in tandem with PlanetComputer's Android 9 apps. I wonder if it does anything when the phone is operated with the Linux OS.

Yes this is exact, actually there are many other issues with the Cosmo even if the size was correct. But I have not investigated to the point to know if I would accept all the other compromises as I already know I can't compromise on the size.

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21 hours ago, claude0001 said:

It is true that Chroot or LXC solutions like mine (on Lineage) or @matf's (on Sailfish) do not have direct hardware access to a lot of features (telephony, GPU, GPS, ...). However, this is not a technical problem: it is a consequence of the kernel modules not being open-sourced so that the standard GNU/Linux APIs cannot be implemented.

F(x)tec is trying to get all the stuff required for the phone to work linux mainlined. Maybe F(x)tec have all the drives open-source at this time?

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5 hours ago, brunoais said:

F(x)tec is trying to get all the stuff required for the phone to work linux mainlined. Maybe F(x)tec have all the drives open-source at this time?

I have read posts by Chen that could be interpreted in that way. But is this really an active and official F(x)tec development goal? I doubt it, as I thought they they do not even have the codes themselves and just license the blobs.

More likely, it could just mean that they support community-driven reverse-engineering of drivers by providing test devices to Linux kernel developers. That would certainly be a good thing. But neither technically nor legally is this the same as open-sourcing the presently-used kernel of the Pro1. It is also a much slower process and there are chances that, this way, some hardware will never work in the end. E.g. fingerprint readers are often a problem if vendors do not provide open-source drivers themselves: as their data streams are designed to be uncrackable, the drivers are often impossible to reverse-engineer (Just an example, I do not use my fingerrint reader at all, but some may think of this as important).

Anyway, having the Pro1 supported by Linux mainline -- even with some feature missing -- would of course be awesome and probably give the device a very, very long lifetime (if the hardware endures) among enthusiasts.

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On 12/15/2020 at 5:10 PM, EskeRahn said:

This is a really hard dilemma. We want the keyboards and keys large, and also the display large, but our hands and pockets are not growing at the same pace....

The only possible solution I see is at totally rethought set of design-guidelines for the OS, so that apps and OS have a larger display area than interactive area. That is the only way we are getting one hand operable devices back, while also having large screens and keyboards.

Actually no, I don't want a large keyboard. It just has to be big enough. Old phones like my Photon Q and G2 (Desire Z) were smaller but had perfectly comfortable keyboards to type on. If you're thumb typing you want keys big enough to press but a device that's still small enough that you're not traveling far for keys.

The pro1 is almost as tall and wide as an iphone Xs Max. Too big in my opinion. I still maintain they should've made the phone smaller, but what do I know?

Edited by npatel1050
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3 hours ago, npatel1050 said:

[...] no, I don't want a large keyboard. It just has to be big enough [...]

I couldn't agree more. The keyboard of the N900 was fine for me and I was able to type much faster on it than on the Pro1.

I do like the fact that the Pro1's screen is larger, though. And here we come to @EskeRahn's point: if you start from the principle that the keys should cover the full width of the (landscape) screen, inevitably, the keyboard ends up too wide for me to use comfortably.

For me, the ideal combination would be a large (landscape) screen together with a narrow(er) keyboard. I'd have quite some ideas how to fill up the resulting empty space: add a dedicaded numerical keypad, a trackpad/trackpoint, or even a gamers directional pad. Not sure if many others would like those options over larger (and more distant) keys though ... 

Edited by claude0001
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Regarding wanting a larger screen, the size of the Pro1 screen suits me fine. Optimally, in future iterations they could increase screen size without increasing phone size by having a bezelless screen with an in-screen invisible camera (we would gain about over 1cm horizontally and 4mm vertically) and upping the resolution to 2K ultra-wide.

The keyboard has just the right size in my opinion.

The Cosmo phone is cool but a bit too large in my point of view.

Edited by Rud
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5 hours ago, claude0001 said:

I couldn't agree more. The keyboard of the N900 was fine for me and I was able to type much faster on it than on the Pro1.

I do like the fact that the Pro1's screen is larger, though. And here we come to @EskeRahn's point: if you start from the principle that the keys should cover the full width of the (landscape) screen, inevitably, the keyboard ends up too wide for me to use comfortably.

For me, the ideal combination would be a large (landscape) screen together with a narrow(er) keyboard. I'd have quite some ideas how to fill up the resulting empty space: add a dedicaded numerical keypad, a trackpad/trackpoint, or even a gamers directional pad. Not sure if many others would like those options over larger (and more distant) keys though ... 

Well even more ideal would be the not a have a base as width as a top. By having the base the same size and just centre the keys you would gain nearly nothing.  What also would have been great, is to add a gap in the middle. Like if you are holding the pro1, where the `G` is, there should be nothing (or some macro key or whatever).

I still stand on my point though, that a 5-5.3" device would have been big enough (regarding screen) and would make typing faster.

However it is not too bad, you get a pretty solid speed on it after a while, and touch typing is possible with ease.

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Another option would be sort of the inverse of the old Nokia having only the centre part slide up as display. We could have only the centre part stay down as a keyboard.

But again different people different needs. I for one would not like a larger keyboard than the Pro1, for others it is too small...

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54 minutes ago, EskeRahn said:

Another option would be sort of the inverse of the old Nokia having only the centre part slide up as display. We could have only the centre part stay down as a keyboard.

That is exactly what I meant.
 

54 minutes ago, EskeRahn said:

 

But again different people different needs. I for one would not like a larger keyboard than the Pro1, for others it is too small...

Well yes, but if there is only one phone in the lineup, it would be wise to make it good for the average hand size. And I believe it is slightly bigger than what would have been the perfect average.

But of course as a small company you have to take what screen size you can fit into your design! And after all I am really happy with the keyboard.

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On 12/22/2020 at 1:49 PM, flx said:

A LG Wing with a keyboard instead of the secondary screen ?

Well, then you'd just have a Priv with a landscape screen while open. 

What I also like about the Pro1 as opposed to the Priv and the Wing is that it doesn't need a stand. 😄

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12 hours ago, Doktor Oswaldo said:

Well even more ideal would be the not a have a base as width as a top. By having the base the same size and just centre the keys you would gain nearly nothing.  What also would have been great, is to add a gap in the middle. Like if you are holding the pro1, where the `G` is, there should be nothing (or some macro key or whatever).

I have a Microsoft sculpt keyboard at the second office and honestly I mostly use it 'cause it looks cool, very ergonomic once you get used to it, but I wouldn't want to type on something like that with only my thumbs. :))

It's already a pain for me that on the Pro1 I haven't got shift and fn lock and I have to track if I should press right or left shift and fn keys depending on what key I want them applied to, further segmenting the right and left hemispheres of the keyboard would almost be a deal-breaker for me, but that's just my personal prefference.

61tvSVmuXvL._AC_SL1000_.jpg

What I would really like to see in future iterations of the Pro1 is a touchpad for a mouse pointer like this old concept render (or a touchpad beneath the whole keyboard like on the Priv).

samsung-oxygen-concept-smartphone-by-mladen-milic-and-michael-muleba3.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

Astro has taken a bit of a hit on last update they have finalised the specs and had to use the mediatek 800 instead of the 1000 as they wouldn't license it to them!  I suspect they are having FAB problems like everyone else though nothing sinister 😄

They have put more RAM in it though and now has a AMOLED display and camera is a Sony 48MP one.

 

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