There may still be a market for PDAs, or personal digital assistants, which have largely disappeared since the arrival of the iPhone in 2007.
But British startup Planet Computers will test the scale of this market with the Gemini PDA, an Android-Linux clamshell smartphone with a physical QWERTY keyboard.
The roots of the device’s design date back to the earliest PDAs manufactured by iconic Psion mobile phone company, one of the main contributors to Symbian OS, which was later acquired by Motorola.
The connection to Psion is not just a philosophical one, as Martin Riddiford and his design consultancy, which is called Therefore, were involved in the design of the Gemini PDA. Planet Computers says that Riddiford and co were “instrumental” in the look and feel of the Psion PDAs of the 1990s. His advice lists PDA Series 5, Revo and Series 3a among its credits.
The device is presented this week at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, ââwhich coincides with the launch of the The Gemini crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.
The Gemini has modern components, but its makers wanted to revert to a “full touch keyboard” that doesn’t take up screen space like soft keyboards. While this frees up the screen, users will have to contend with the world’s smallest keyboard.
Planet Computers hopes bloggers, creatives, and professionals who frequently need to write documents and emails on the go will appreciate the keyboard in a palm-sized clamshell device.
According to the startup, the Gemini is 17.13 cm long, 8 cm wide and 1.35 cm thick (6.74 inches, 3.15 inches, 0.53 inches) and weighs 400 g (0.88 lb). It will be available in Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi plus 4G, in gold, black and silver.
The 5.7-inch screen has a resolution of 2880 x 1440 pixels at a density of 564 pixels per inch. It also has a 10-core CPU configuration, with 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of on-board storage, a microSD slot and a large 8000 mAh battery.
Connectivity options include Bluetooth, GPS, NFC, two USB Type-C ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Planet Computers also plans to include stereo speakers, an internal microphone and a fingerprint reader. And although it is designed for Android, it will also support dual boot with another Linux distribution.
The campaign is offering backers the Gemini 4G model for $ 349 as part of the special, while the Wi-Fi-only model will cost $ 299.