British smartphone maker F (x) tec revamped its F (x) tec Pro1 device, with a sliding physical keyboard, with more RAM and storage options, and a choice of LineageOS, UbuntuTouch, or Android.
The company launched the Pro1 in early 2019 with starting prices of $ 649 in the US, £ 649 in the UK, and € 649 in Europe. It is now launching the Pro1 X with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage starting at £ 386 in the UK and $ 499 in the US.
However, these prices are part of its Indiegogo campaign, which starts today, and there are only 30 devices available at this price.
The Pro1-X was developed in partnership with XDA developer news site and offers customers the choice of a premium smartphone – but with a Snapdragon 835 processor – running Linux LineageOS, Ubuntu Touch, or Google Android.
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The Pro1 X’s super early bird price is $ 499 for a device with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage; an “early bird” version with 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage is available for $ 649.
F (x) tec has jumped on the bandwagon of Android phones with physical keyboards, after Gemini, Cosmo Communicator and Astro Slide from Planet Computers, all of which paid homage to the Psion 5 flip. There’s also the Blackberry Key2 and BlackBerry Priv. from 2015 for those who want a physical keyboard.
The Pro1 has a sliding screen that sits 155 degrees for viewing and is designed for use primarily in landscape mode, with the five-row backlit QWERTY keyboard.
However, aside from the upgraded RAM and storage, the Pro1 X is essentially the same as the Fx (tec) phone released in 2019, although consumers now have the option of ordering it preinstalled with LineageOS, Ubuntu, or Android.
The choice of LineageOS was based on feedback from XDA users, who wanted more privacy and an alternative to Google Android.
“Want the Google / Android operating system, but not spy? Look no further. Pro1-X gives you the freedom to do whatever you want on your smartphone. No obligation,” says F (x) tec on his Indigogo campaign page.
On the Ubuntu side, Ubuntu Touch allows users to plug the Pro1-X into a monitor to use the phone as a PC.
Users also have the choice of using a soft keyboard or a physical slide-out keyboard, and toggle between apps on a reasonably large 5.99-inch AMOLED display with split-screen support and a resolution of 2160 by 1080 pixels (403ppi).
The Pro1-X also features an 8MP front camera, 12MP and 5MP rear cameras, dedicated camera button, 3.5mm headphone jack, fingerprint scanner digital as well as a USB-C and HDMI output.
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Folding screen phones are at the forefront of smartphone technology now, but Adrian Li Mow Ching, one of the co-founders of F (x) tec, believes there is still room for innovation with physical keyboards.
“We believe that the features and benefits of a physical keyboard are still in demand by so many consumers around the world; we and other brands all have loyal customers,” he told ZDNet via email. .
He also defended the choice to release a new variant of the Pro1 with the same Qualcomm chip.
“For LineageOS and Ubuntu Touch, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 is a high performance chipset that runs both operating systems very smoothly and one of the best performing devices for devices of this type,” t -he declares.