Planet Computers has launched its Astro Slide 5G Transformer project on IndieGogo. The UK-based firm calls the new device "the first 5G smartphone with a keyboard." This pocketable hybrid is particularly interesting thanks to the 'RockUp' slider hinge design and OS flexibility (Android 10 or Linux). The Astro Slide is currently listed as an IndieGogo project seeking €180,000 of crowdfunded backing. At the time of writing 128 backers have put up nearly €70,000, and there are still 40 days to go.
You might have already heard of Planet Computers if you are a PDA enthusiast. Over the last two years the firm has delivered the Gemini PDA and Cosmo Communicator devices to over ten thousand backers, which is a decent track record. In January 2018, Planet Computers made the HEXUS news pages for winning a CES Innovation Award for its Gemini PDA ultrathin clamshell device with tactile keyboard.
Key specs of the Astro Slide:
- RockUp slider hinge mechanism
- Tactile backlit keyboard
- 6.53-inch touchscreen display
- MediaTek Dimensity 1000 chipset with 8 CPU cores (4x A77, 4x A55), 9 GPU cores, 6 AI cores
- 48MP camera
- Minimum 6GB LPDD4x RAM and 128GB storage plus microSD card slot
- 5G (2x Nano SIMs and 1x eSIM) and Wi-Fi 6 support
- NFC, BT 5.1, BLE Audio
- Fingerprint sensor in screen
- Power/lock and volume up/down buttons
- 2x USB-C ports and an audio jack
- Stereo speakers, FM radio
- Wireless and fast charging of the 4,000mAh battery
- 16.4(W) x 7.66(D) x 1.5(H)cm, 300g
- Runs Android 10 and supports Linux OSs, with a multi-boot option
Money raised by the crowdfund project is said to be going into helping bring the Astro Slide to market in a number of ways. Planet Computers has already gone a long way towards the finished product but will use the extra money to push through the final design phases, manufacture all the crowdfunded pre-order devices, and fully develop the Android 10 and Linux boot firmware.
Early bird backers can 'buy' an Astro Slide for £439. This is a limited offer of 500 units, with 123 having been claimed at the time of writing. Shipping is estimated to occur about a year from now - which is a considerable wait but you will be getting a "40 per cent discount" for your faith and patience.