Something to look forward to: Are you tired of modern flagship smartphones that follow a similar design? Nostalgic for the days of BlackBerry PDAs? Then Planet Computers’ Astro Slide could be for you. The device is a 5G phone that runs Android 10, but it also features a sliding physical keyboard and will support Linux in the future.
According to its Indiegogo campaign page, the Astro Slide is the first 5G phone with a keyboard, and the fastest 5G device announced to date. It uses the company’s RockUp slider hinge to turn the 6.5-inch smartphone into a PDA. The screen flips up so the Astro Slide can be used as a tiny laptop.
This is the third product from Planet Computers, following the Gemini PDA and Cosmo Communicator, both of which also come with physical keyboards. But unlike the Astro Slide, the previous devices were clamshells.
The Astro Slide features a MediaTek Dimensity 1000 Octa-core SoC, which has built-in 5G offering “twice the performance of other 5G chipsets with significantly reduced power consumption.” There’s also a 2340 x 1080 (395 ppi) display, 6GB of RAM, a 48MP rear camera with a 5MP front snapper, 128GB of storage that’s expandable through the MicroSD slot, an eSIM slot, and two nano SIM slots. It even comes with a 3.5mm audio jack—a rarity on modern phones. A multi-boot option for supporting Linux will arrive later.
Like its previous devices, the Astro Slide is being crowdfunded. At the time of writing, it’s almost reached $179,000—89 percent of $200,242 target—with 40 days left, so it appears funding won’t be a problem. There are still early bird specials available for $546, while the full retail price will be “anything between $799 and $999.” The devices are expected to be shown off at CES next year, with delivery scheduled for March 2021.