F(x) Technology Android phone with a slide-out keyboard

Discussion in 'Offtopic Discussions' started by SAS, Jan 20, 2019.

  1. SAS

    SAS Still Fresh

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    Interesting development of the Moto Mods accessories - Android phone with with a landscape keyboard from F(x) Technology

    Sounds like a possible alternative of Gemini PDA / Cosmo communicator, but still missing too many details ...

    More from Liliputing and xda.
     
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  2. b_o_b

    b_o_b Advanced Member

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  3. elvissteinjr

    elvissteinjr Very Active Member

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    Been looking forward to this after what happened to the keyboard mod. No money lost on my side though, so no tragedy.

    Here's a detail that is buried in the keyboard mod's campaign comments: The device will use a 10nm Snapdragon 8xx SoC, so either the 835, 845 or 850. "And the most power-efficient model, the best balance with performance and power consumption." was said, so I'd gravitate to it being the 835, but Chen only dropped hints so yeah.
    I find this interesting in regards to the Pyra. If I remember correctly, Qualcomm wasn't exactly responsive back in the search for a Pyra SoC, but this phone is also a low quantity project. Maybe Chen can help the Pyra project a little to gain access to a fancy new SoC in the future?
     
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  4. levi

    levi Still fresh, damnit!

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  5. comradekingu

    comradekingu Glowing ember

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    Sadly it features the most prominent reasons why keyboards are now gone from mobile units.
    • No international physical layout
    • Wasted space
    • 10-finger paradigm
     
  6. ClockworkCoder

    ClockworkCoder Chaotic Neutral

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    I'd put cost / complexity above any of those reasons. Aside from targetting a mass target audience of inept, sausage-fingered simians.
     
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  7. comradekingu

    comradekingu Glowing ember

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    Those are drawbacks you incur by default, not a hot mess you put yourself in by own admission.
    Edit: You are right, but in a geek segment, having blank keys, or some leeway on what to do in certain areas means now you don't have to press one keymat for each region and keep track of stock. So there are ways to deal issues at the same time, but a lot of things are non-starters for mass market. Like, not being a good two thumb keyboard.
     
  8. WizardStan

    WizardStan Mega GP Mania

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    Looks like a thumb board to me. Reminds me a lot of my HTC Desire Z. I really miss that phone. It was juuuust starting to die when ED took pre-order money for the Pyra and I was certain I could keep pushing it until the Pyra was ready.
    I'm on my second replacement since then.
    I miss that old phone. I want a phone with a physical keyboard so badly :(
     
  9. Eight Bit

    Eight Bit Advanced Member

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    I'm looking for a replacement phone now too...
    I wonder if it's worth it to buy a 2nd hand Nokia N900... Bit of a shame it doesn't have LTE but I guess it's a nice tinker device. Does anyone have any tips for me? Do? Don't?
    I don't want to spend too much money...
     
  10. klapse

    klapse Central Scrutinizer

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    I'd feel obligated to buy one if they get them produced and tick enough boxes.

    re Eight Bit. Yeah you can do stuff like gstreamer the camera - get yself a portable security cam with inbuilt battery backup, maybe with solar, or on a cable with usb extender. Just make sure the USB port is good - no disconnects when wobbling - then consider EPOXYING that thing down.
     
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  11. SAS

    SAS Still Fresh

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    @Eight Bit

    The choice of a recent smartphone with hardware keyboard currently is limited to Blackberry Key series and Gemini PDA /soon - and the Cosmo/. If phone-centric features are dominant - Blackberrys are probably more straight-forward option - IF one accepts the 'security features' / the inability to have root. Gemini PDA is more 'tinker-friendly', has the possibility for root, even supports official dual-boot with Linux - but probably as a phone will be as convenient as a …… Pyra :) E.g. it is not possible to make a call without opening the device first. Cosmo will probably make it more similar to the classic Nokia communicators and improve the phone features, but it is yet to come. Prices are above mid-range.

    Personally, if the hardware keyboard is a 'must', I'd go with an 'old-but-gold' hw kbd phone in combination with 'latest&greatest' screen-only device. In my case - prepare to smile :) - Treo 680 plus Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (OK - not 'latest', but still works with whatever 'modern' programs / services I need). One can think for 'old' Android model like Motorola Milestone & Droid series, Sony Xperia Pro / MiniPro, etc; WinMob device with hardware keyboard ala HTCs (TyTN I / I, Tilt, TouchPro 2, etc) or Sony Xperia X1 / 2; BlackBerry OS device; Symbian model ala Nokia E-series & communicators, Sony Ericsson P-series, etc; and even some more 'niche' OS models - ala most Treo / Centro - or N900. N900, IMHO, has wonderful build quality, excellent resistive screen, quite adequate camera and is the 'most pocketable computer' I am aware of :D The well-known problem with the microUSB port (that I had on my first device) can be neutralized with a magnetic USB charger. The community is quite nice, very similar to the one here :cool: If it is used as an additional / 'tinker-with' device - N900 can be quite enjoyable.

    So it will be nice to have alternative 'modern' devices - like the F(x) phone - and even better - 'all-in-one'. I dream someone reinvents a model with touch screen & hardware keyboard & stylus & phone functionality that has current / maintained OS and is privacy- supporting. Until then - several devices with several roles ….
     
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  12. levi

    levi Still fresh, damnit!

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    I plumped for one of them bananaphones (nokia-branded hmd 8110 4G) running a firefox os spinoff on top of an android kernel (I recently learned, slightly disappointingly). It hasn't got a keyboard to speak of beyond slightly borked t9, but the killer feature for me is a battery that lasts a week, and LTE support. I can also mount the user data partition of the filesystem from a linux terminal using gio mount (after learning what the device is called, connected via usb and with usb sharing enabled on the phone, using gio mount -li) and copy music and videos to it, which it can mostly see and play back, so it's serving as my podcast playback device while my pandora lies injured. Apparently it uses the aosp keys for app signing, so I may be able to build my own apps for it, but I've not looked into that yet.
     
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  13. Eight Bit

    Eight Bit Advanced Member

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    Thanks for the replies. All things considered I decided to get a cheap android phone for now. Though the n900 seems nice, it's age and older hw and weak usb port made me reconsider.
    It's probably going to be a nokia 3.1 which is around 120 euro..
    Fingers crossed for a swift pyra release... :)
     
  14. klapse

    klapse Central Scrutinizer

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    I don't think people appreciate how big a step-up the Droid 4 is from the N900. The keyboard just wipes the floor with the N900. The additional TWO rows, wider spacing, staggered layout and far better tactile feedback make going back to the N900 even worse than going from the N900 back to the N810 was. OFC I didn't try every landscape-layout keyboard made since that era but I researched em all and never found one besting the Droid 4 (actually XT894 and successor). Surprisingly the Banggood / Gearbest / Qhatever "Q9" bluetooth keyboard feels a lot like the Droid 4 and comes quite close to a 75% PC keyboard layout. Good value and usability on that little thing.

    I never use Android on it (shush, don't be pedantic) - just Sailfish OS - and pretty much everything I want to do just works (only things I currently miss are HDMI screen mirroring and streaming audio to my bluetooth amplifier)

    The camera's video quality easily bests the N900 for me, photos - well meh. I like real cameras for those.

    The 4X physical RAM means a lot more application headroom after you subtract memory required by the OS - and this makes all the difference when browsing the web. In 2019 we can get NOWEB with N900 or MOSTWEB with Droid 4. [ And is this something we want to tolerate? Doesn't the EU have handicapped accessibility laws for at least some classes of online businesses? What about people whose cpus are handicapped?]

    Displaywise, the bump-up from 800x480 to 960x540 nets the user an additional 35% resolution - doesn't sound like much but those extra 60 vertical pixels really nudge the resolution just out of 'painfully low'.

    SoC is omap 4430 which is powerful enough to play a few PSP RPGs (from within the android emulator even). Sailfish UI never hiccups or lags. Websites load and respond many times faster than, say on my Pi3..


    Ending this before it becomes a propaganda pamphlet. Cheers.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2019
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  15. rygD

    rygD Nihilistic Mystic

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    The Photon Q isn't too shabby either.
     
  16. Xcl4m4t10n

    Xcl4m4t10n Advanced Member

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    1.- Launch PyraPhone
    2.- Make an alternative case compatible with Zmods.
    3.- Use this mod

    Mmmm...
     
  17. elvissteinjr

    elvissteinjr Very Active Member

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    Getting back to the actual topic (surprise), there has been another newsletter with more spoonfed information.
    Notable info includes:

    Supported bands:
    GSM: 2, 3, 5, 8
    WCDMA: 1, 2, 4, 5, 8
    CDMA/EVDO: BC0, BC1
    TD-SCDMA: 34/39
    TDD-LTE: 38/39/40/41 (100mhz)
    FDD-LTE: 1, 2/25, 3, 4, 5/26, 7, 8, 12/17, 13, 20, 28

    Dual nano SIM support (slot 2 is either microSD or nanoSIM)
    Stereo speakers
    3.5mm audio jack
    USB-C charging/data port with Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0, OTG enabled and HDMI-out supported
    Fingerprint sensor at the edge of the devices
    NFC
    2-stage camera shutter button

    Processor and memory configuration will be revealed in the next newsletter.
    Release window is still Q1 of this year.

    Gotta say, this is shaping up to be a nice hybrid of a modern phone and something I'd actually want to use.
     
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  18. SAS

    SAS Still Fresh

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    Available for preorder for €649.00. Expected shipping - July 2019.

    And initial review from xda.

    I'll save my money for Android phone with both hardware keyboard and stylus :D
     
  19. elvissteinjr

    elvissteinjr Very Active Member

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    I really want a phone with a keyboard again, but I'm a landscape slider guy. Not a fan of blackberry style portrait keyboard nor did I really like the handling of the Gemini when I tried it out. Those option don't really go much cheaper either way.
    Nothing in the full announcement is a disappointment. Price region was teased at before, SoC was also pretty obvious. Doesn't mean it couldn't be better, but seems like a fine device with unique features.

    Having special demands for hardware sure costs a little extra, but I suppose most of us here know that.
    I'm supposed to get some discount as a backer of the keyboard mod campaign who didn't demand a refund, let's see how this will work out.
     
  20. Gren

    Gren Member

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    I've been following this very closely; I really want a HWKB phone again.
    I massively enjoyed my Xperia Pro, until apps stopped working in the miniscule 512MB RAM on Legaxy Xperia, but that was a good few years ago now. Don't like the form factor of the Key2, and my Priv was a broken bag of spanners (and far too big). Gemini/Cosmo both interesting, but also too big.

    The price is disappointingly high, although not entirely surprising.

    But for me, again, the size of the Pro1 is the biggest problem - like all phones, it appears to be built for ginormo alien hands. 6" screen - it's a goddamn feckin tablet. :mad:
    4-4.5" screen would be perfect for me, so I can't really see anything replacing my XZ1 compact any time soon.

    (I'm not looking at the Pyra as a phone replacement, even though I (pre-pre)ordered the 4G version!)
     
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