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OESF Portables Forum _ Gemini PDA - General Discussion _ Why buy the Gemini?

Posted by: theMrMobile Mar 15 2018, 02:56 PM

Hi all,

I know that might seem an inflammatory topic from a guy with a single post history, but believe me when I say it's a genuine question!

Here's the thing: I've spent some time with the Gemini in the course of preparing a review of said device, and I can come up with many reasons why I might spend money on such a product (not the least of which is that I love unconventional gadgets). But every time I post about Gemini, I'm confronted with a lot of folks asking why they're not better off buying a keyboard like the Jorno for their smartphone instead. And to my mind, it's a very good question.

So I thought the best people to help me answer it would be the folks who've already ponied up the bucks and put their orders in for the Gemini. Why did you choose this device instead of a smartphone + accessory combo?

Thanks in advance!

Posted by: Lyall Pearce Mar 15 2018, 03:37 PM

I am an old time Psion Sienna and Revo user and have missed them since they stopped working/wore out.
I have been through Sony Ericsson p910 (couldn't replace batteries any longer) and Nokia E90 (forget what went wrong with this device) before settling on iPhones.
I am in the process of moving away from my old iPhone 5s.

Ok, the Gemini is larger than my existing phone by quite some margin, that I have to go through a learning curve to transition away from IOS.
I use Linux at home, I may even setup Linux on my Gemini, if I feel motivated enough, the fact that I can and it's supported is awesome.

It's early days at this stage, some things I would add/change from the current hardware version include (given my order was < #60, I guess I have the lesser CPU installed)
1. External camera, it's awkward taking pics using the internal camera
2. External volume/play/skip control buttons
3. Smallish External display to show incoming calls, current music, etc such that I don't have to open the Gemini.

Software, I expect things will firm up as time goes on. smile.gif

QUOTE(theMrMobile @ Mar 16 2018, 08:26 AM) *
So I thought the best people to help me answer it would be the folks who've already ponied up the bucks and put their orders in for the Gemini. Why did you choose this device instead of a smartphone + accessory combo?


Posted by: bogomips Mar 15 2018, 03:38 PM

Are you the Mr Mobile?

For me, unconventional gadget, yes, but a big factor was the promised linux dual boot (and the hope that it would come with telephony support).
As you prob know linux support is still work in progress, and who knows if it'll ever really run or have telephone.

At time of backing this project, that was not a question yet.

Appeal of a non-Android phone was privacy and security, and again the unconventional platform, and possible flexibility it would give. (Sure, you might not get angry birds on there, but there are a 100 other things you could do...)

If my only concern was keyboard/mobile productivity, then another mobile keyboard probably would have worked.
Having it in one package probably is more convenience, but you would have more features pairing another keyboard to a standard phone - rear camera, NFC, etc. which the Gemini lacks.

Also fond memories of the Psion might be a thing - though not applicable to me.

So Gemini over Jorno, probably:
-Unrealised hopes of pure linux phone
-Uniqueness & geek cred
-Nostalgia
-Convenience
-LEDs (everyone loves LEDs, right?)

I agree - this thing is not for everyone.

Posted by: depscribe Mar 15 2018, 05:58 PM

1. Linux
2. The ability to be free of Google.
3. Linux.
4. Linux. Debian Linux.

Seriously, were it not for Linux (initially offered, now promised, sort of), I wouldn't have given it a second look. The keyboard is (ultimately, we hope) nice, but typing into Android? Indeed, using Android at all?

Posted by: vader Mar 15 2018, 07:24 PM

1. The keyboard. It is always there, you don't have to add/attach another device.
2. The keyboard. I have little hands, and can touch type on it. Replying to emails/sms is a joy compared to onscreen keyboards
3. Sturdy. When shut, it is encased in metal, well almost all of it.
4. It is really like a small laptop. Add linux (sailfish, debian etc) and it is perfectly functional as a micro laptop. Even with Android and termux it is usably for utility work.
5. It is still a fully functional phone - just with no display (unless it is open). Ledison will go a long way to fixing that.
6. Completely open - you can, and are encouraged to try/flash different OS. OK, there are only 2 at the moment, but an official sailfish sounds great.

Bottom line - it is your device, do with it what you want without interference.

PS. I have stopped using my old laptop and phone - I am a "gemini only" user now.

Posted by: Jeffers Mar 15 2018, 07:53 PM

1. Keyboard like on the old PSIONS.
2. Keyboard like on the old PSIONS.
3. Keyboard like on the old PSIONS.

I mean, seriously, I've tried bluetooth keyboards and phones/tablets and I'm always left thinking, congratulations, you've just recreated a form factor we already have - the sub-notebook. Touchscreens are a compromise on another compromise (texting on a keypad). Adding a bluetooth keyboard is yet another compromise. A PDA is the complete solution, not something cobbled together.

Posted by: greguu Mar 15 2018, 08:04 PM

1. Support for an alternative OS (Linux/GNU based derivatives and also official support for Jolla's Sailfish OS 3 with 4G support)
2. Hardware keyboard build in. You can actually do some work and code on the thing. No need to carry a fold-able keyboard, that just silly.
3. Planet Computers released source code for kernel and boot-loader.
4. Being a long time Zaurus PDA user, the Gemini seems to tick all the boxes for me and has even more features.

Posted by: andrewl Mar 15 2018, 11:23 PM

Gemini won't be my phone, I will still carry a phone for communications. I don't believe that Gemini will be optimal for voice calls, quick messages and emails, or even quick web lookups and any other web function that is well served by mobile apps.

Gemini will be my dead-time productivity device. For those times when I am out and about, waiting and travelling I will use the Gemini for writing / authoring and exploration of ideas. I currently use a lightweight chromebook for this task, but it is just too big to be always there. When I am at base I will still be using full size laptop as a primary device.

I've tried the bluetooth detachable keyboard with phone, but it just doesn't cut it. As I was a Psion user I know how much of a difference a properly integrated and effective typing keyboard makes and it is the difference between snapping open the device and getting straight to work, or not bothering with the faff of a BT keyboard.

Many of the people who don't get it are the ones who have only ever known the slab touchscreen form factor. That's great, but it's not optimised to where a Psion is.

Like MANY others I'm also attracted by the hope offered by Sailfish and any other eventually nicely supported linux OS. I will never understand why people are satisfied with the awful cruft-OS that is Android and if it is at all possible I will be wiping Android from my Gemini forever.

Posted by: Varti Mar 16 2018, 01:54 AM

Hi theMrMobile and thanks for joining us!

I agree with most of what the others have said. I’m also a long time Sharp Zaurus user and I have been looking for a device that can replace both the Zaurus and my phone. I have been evaluating if I should rather buy a new smartphone and a Bluetooth keyboard, but a QWERTY clamshell like the Gemini has some advantages over a smartphone + keyboard setup:

- You only have to carry a single device, so you have to bring with you only one battery and charger; it’s a more practical and lighter setup
- You can also use it by placing it on your lap, if you don’t have any available table
- It offers native Linux support (although it’s still in beta). The only smartphone I’m aware that natively runs Linux is the Librem 5, but on the other side it doesn’t run Android, like the Gemini. There’s also Sailfish OS which runs on some smartphones too, but it uses Wayland instead of X11, and I don’t know if there’s any working X11 wrapper for that OS.

There might be also a lag when pairing the keyboard everytime I want you use it, and latency when pressing the keys, but I have been told that these aren’t an issue at least on some BT keyboards. Besides normal phone and desktop Linux uses I’d like to run on it the occasional open source FPS: Quake 3 and, hopefully, the latest open-source Unreal Tournament, though it remains to be seen if 3d hardware acceleration will be available at all under Linux.

Varti

Posted by: smapmap Mar 16 2018, 02:33 AM

QUOTE(theMrMobile @ Mar 15 2018, 10:56 PM) *
Hi all,

I know that might seem an inflammatory topic from a guy with a single post history, but believe me when I say it's a genuine question!

Here's the thing: I've spent some time with the Gemini in the course of preparing a review of said device, and I can come up with many reasons why I might spend money on such a product (not the least of which is that I love unconventional gadgets). But every time I post about Gemini, I'm confronted with a lot of folks asking why they're not better off buying a keyboard like the Jorno for their smartphone instead. And to my mind, it's a very good question.

So I thought the best people to help me answer it would be the folks who've already ponied up the bucks and put their orders in for the Gemini. Why did you choose this device instead of a smartphone + accessory combo?

Thanks in advance!


I really missed the ability to be productive on the move. The old Psion's in the 90s allowed me to do this - it was quick and efficient. I went through the rigmarole of using bluetooth keyboards and have a number of observations
- it's not 'instant on' with bluetooth - you need to wait for a connection to be established first - this is frustrating if you're in the middle of meeting and want to take a quick note
- bluetooth can be unreliable and flaky
- I don't want to have to lug around another piece of kit - having a clamshell keeps things neat & tidy and also protects the screen and keyboard from damage and accidents
- Aesthetically it looks crap - the keyboards and screens are different sizes and are from different manufacturers
- I don't want to have to charge up a keyboard separately from my screen
- its not very business like pulling out a separate bluetooth keyboard to type into your phone
- you can't use this configuration on the move - or standing up
- the UI sometimes gets confused - throwing up a on screen keyboard - defeating the point of having a physical one
- nothing beats a Psion keyboard
- The integrated keyboard creates a stand and a useful viewing angle - handy for watching videos
- when a device can be made this small - and beautiful - why would you??!! smile.gif


Look forward to the review and hope you're enjoying your Gemini!
thanks
Michael

Posted by: joe Mar 16 2018, 03:03 AM

I've always found typing on a screen difficult. I literally can't get a sentence out first time on a touchscreen. Might be the dyslexic in me. My take on this is that not everyone's brain works the same way, so neither should input methods. If someone says "I can type perfectly fine on a touchscreen" my answer is "you're not everyone".

There's an exiting market sector of phones with keyboards, but it's been shrinking. My own journey over the past decade is Motorola Dext, HTZ Desire Z, Blackberry Passport, Gemini. It be unique, but it has a clear recent lineage beyond PDA nostalgia.

I've carried round a keyboard with an Android device before. It's a real faff. It often got left at home. There's a lot of value in that physical integration.

Posted by: gymbo Mar 16 2018, 03:04 AM

First off I would like to say that I agree with most of the other posts, but one thing is not mentioned yet: It has a user-replaceable battery! The option of changing battery is WAY faster than recharging when you need more power quickly... (That could also help with the "problem" of not getting to charge the Gemini when using the USB-hub, spare battery and external battery-charger. To have that at hand where you use the hub, with external screen, keyboard/mouse and so on, should not be that "difficult".)

I started with a Psion 5mx until the screen-cable broke, since then I have used most of the Nokia "Communicators", and am still using the E7 as my main e-mail-device (and an somewhat older E52 as my main phone... rolleyes.gif )

Posted by: smapmap Mar 16 2018, 03:40 AM

The thing is - when you think about it - since when was typing on a screen a remotely acceptable solution?

We live in a bizarre counter intuitive, topsy turvy marketing driven environment where sub standard user interface designs become the norm.
It's not normal to type on a screen. Try implementing that in the workplace, in an office environment and you'll have an uprising. 🙄

Apple has a lot to answer for. It's design decisions have forced users - whether they like it or not - to become content consumers rather than creators. Kids are brought up using black mirror closed source applicances, which constantly demand their attention, and have no idea what the inners workings are.Creating stuff is someone else's gig. Fixing stuff requires a Genius. They accept what they're given. There is a dumbing down in society. Even mobile phone manufacturers have forgotten how to innovate. Their devices all look the same and they are boring. We're in a rut and it's time for somethng new.

Putting a keyboard on a device is dangerous. It's a potential game changer.

It liberates people to create on the move, program, write, muse, learn. and communicate properly. People think. Share ideas again. Until something bests the keybord it will always be so.

To prove the point I'm writing this, on my beautiful little Gemini in a cafe in Scotland. I couldn't do this on a screen based phone.

Twenty years on, thank God this form factor is back.

cheers
Michael

Posted by: Varti Mar 16 2018, 04:42 AM

QUOTE(smapmap @ Mar 16 2018, 12:40 PM) *
It's not normal to type on a screen.

I'd print that sentence on a t-shirt and I'd wear that t-shirt everyday!

Varti

Posted by: smapmap Mar 16 2018, 04:48 AM

QUOTE(Varti @ Mar 16 2018, 12:42 PM) *
QUOTE(smapmap @ Mar 16 2018, 12:40 PM) *
It's not normal to type on a screen.

I'd print that sentence on a t-shirt and I'd wear that t-shirt everyday!

Varti

laugh.gif

Posted by: gymbo Mar 16 2018, 07:17 AM

QUOTE(Varti @ Mar 16 2018, 01:42 PM) *
QUOTE(smapmap @ Mar 16 2018, 12:40 PM) *
It's not normal to type on a screen.

I'd print that sentence on a t-shirt and I'd wear that t-shirt everyday!

Varti


Agreed! (Well sort of anyway, I certainly wouldn't wear it every day...)

And to amend to my original post on the topic: It has standard mini-jack headphone socket, 2 USB-C ports, and seems to be driven by people who are trying to adhere to standards, and are trying to build the device as open as possible... Which IMHO is the RIGHT way to go, and not the "you don't need access to this or that"/"be content with what you get"-attitude you get from some (most??) other phone companies these days... wacko.gif sad.gif mad.gif

Posted by: jornada720 Mar 16 2018, 08:59 AM

Here are my bullet points:


A lot of times, people who are just used to buying whatever Apple or Samsung poops out have difficulty imagining how restricted their choices are. They mistake their own lack of imagination for savvy.

Posted by: donc Mar 16 2018, 11:30 AM

There was some Psion nostalgia for me but stiffened with multiple benefits that still exist for this type of device in today's world. The keyboard is the big one, once you have had the flexibility that an integrated keyboard brings it is hard to live with the compromises that a phone or tablet forces on you for any kind of content creation (anything from a long email, word processing, etc). I can tap away with the Gemini on my lap, on the table or when stood up. Can't do the last one with a bluetooth keyboard! The ability to run Linux is a further bonus.
The clincher for me is when I travel for business. Working for a large aerospace company my work laptop is heavily locked down (no admin rights, limited browsing including no webmail, USB ports blocked, etc.). If I travel for work I don't want to be lugging around two laptops to cope with the limitations of the work one. Even the GPD pocket was a bit of a pain and it is tiny for a laptop. The Gemini means this is no longer an issue whilst not being compromised by having to use a phone for more than a quick scan of emails and news...

Posted by: depscribe Mar 16 2018, 01:47 PM

QUOTE(Varti @ Mar 16 2018, 04:42 AM) *
QUOTE(smapmap @ Mar 16 2018, 12:40 PM) *
It's not normal to type on a screen.

I'd print that sentence on a t-shirt and I'd wear that t-shirt everyday!

Varti

Speaking of which -- did anybody here get the PC teeshirt perk? (At minimum, I think PC should send them to everybody who got an X25 Gemini.)

Posted by: depscribe Mar 16 2018, 01:54 PM

QUOTE(jornada720 @ Mar 16 2018, 08:59 AM) *
. . .
Finally, I think there are a lot of people who are wary about the growing power and evilness of Google and Apple. These companies do not care about their customers' privacy and governments worldwide are looking to slurp up the cloud data that tech firms have hoarded for decades. With the Gemini, we will be able to have a device that does not impinge on our privacy.


DING DING DING DING DING! Absolutely right. That alone justifies the price of admission.

Posted by: wheel_deal Mar 17 2018, 08:56 AM

QUOTE(theMrMobile @ Mar 15 2018, 06:56 PM) *
[E]very time I post about Gemini, I'm confronted with a lot of folks asking why they're not better off buying a keyboard like the Jorno for their smartphone instead. And to my mind, it's a very good question. . . . Why did you choose this device instead of a smartphone + accessory combo?

I have cerebral palsy. As a person with limited dexterity, I find a good keyboard extremely important, as is a single, unified device that's readily accessible. I have an 11.6" Macbook Air in the bag behind my wheelchair, but I can't access it without assistance. By contrast, I should be able to keep the Gemini in my front pouch, allowing me to save information in a way that able-bodied folks might take for granted.

That said, I haven't yet ordered a Gemini; I'm waiting to assess its commercial viability.

Kind regards,
Brian

Posted by: theMrMobile Mar 20 2018, 05:21 AM

Hi all,

OP here. Just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to provide such in-depth feedback! So often I find that communities built around a new or nascent product turn out to be some of the most vocal and helpful; glad to see that's the case here.

My review will land in a few days, but I thought I'd share a brief version of my own experience with the 4G LTE build of the Gemini (running Android) here. Maybe it will spawn some additional conversation.

The Good


The Bad

Misc

On the whole I think this is a good product for people who've wanted to see the return of a device like this, but the Gemini does suffer from a few more teething issues than I expected. It's hard to have faith in this keyboard when I never know if the spacebar or enter keys are going to stick, and it's tough to un-see that lifting strip of silicone too. Personally, I think I'd strongly consider buying a version 2 with a more consistent keyboard and tighter hardware on the whole, because this thing really does come in handy for writing where laptops fail to fit!


Posted by: smapmap Mar 20 2018, 09:10 AM

QUOTE(theMrMobile @ Mar 20 2018, 01:21 PM) *
Hi all,

OP here. Just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to provide such in-depth feedback! So often I find that communities built around a new or nascent product turn out to be some of the most vocal and helpful; glad to see that's the case here.

My review will land in a few days, but I thought I'd share a brief version of my own experience with the 4G LTE build of the Gemini (running Android) here. Maybe it will spawn some additional conversation.

The Good
  • Faithful recreation of Psion Series 5 keyboard
  • Hardware size strikes the perfect balance between tiny laptop and oversized smartphone, ideal for airplane seat trays
  • Big bright display
  • Handy keyboard shortcuts
  • Phone calls clear and loud, and reception seems up to speed
  • Despite X25/X27 mixup, Android runs swiftly
  • Satisfying mechanical action on open and close
  • LEDs have promise
  • Smart button allows Google Assistant access even when closed (for voice dialing and minor queries)
The Bad
  • Multiple keyboard issues as also reported here: sticky spacebar, misaligned keys, prematurely fading key labels
  • No keyboard backlight (a huge handicap when on a darkened plane or train – sure, touch typing is great but there's a lot of key doubling and special toggles on Gemini)
  • Thin black silicone strip near hinge is loose and lifting off already
  • Mini SIM slot (necessitates adapter if you use a modern nano SIM)
  • Some apps don't display all available softkeys/UI elements in landscape, necessitating portrait use
  • Front-facing camera delivers some pretty rough photos/video
  • Speakers loud but very tinny, lacking in bass even for a mobile device
  • More screen "bounce" than I expected when typing
  • No way that I can find to assign LED light patterns to system events or notifications
  • No guarantee of Android updates to version 8 and beyond due to SoC
Misc
  • Using it as a primary smartphone is greatly helped by two things: Android Wear smartwatch (for Call ID, quick messaging, media controls) and a Bluetooth headset
  • Battery life is adequate for all-day use but given its size I expected to be able to squeeze two days out of the thing, even with heavy use
  • Planet's record on providing timely Android security updates is as-yet unproven
On the whole I think this is a good product for people who've wanted to see the return of a device like this, but the Gemini does suffer from a few more teething issues than I expected. It's hard to have faith in this keyboard when I never know if the spacebar or enter keys are going to stick, and it's tough to un-see that lifting strip of silicone too. Personally, I think I'd strongly consider buying a version 2 with a more consistent keyboard and tighter hardware on the whole, because this thing really does come in handy for writing where laptops fail to fit!


Thanks for posting back MrMobile - such a shame some people - you included - are experiencing QA issues. It must spoil the experience. I guess - as it's literally the first batch - this might be expected to some extent but I really hope the factory get their act together and improve the quality. Your review is very fair and I'm glad you have used it for a few days - as you need time with the device to get used to the new form factor and appreciate it's strengths - and weaknesses.

Posted by: Grench Mar 20 2018, 11:37 AM

QUOTE(theMrMobile @ Mar 15 2018, 05:56 PM) *
So I thought the best people to help me answer it would be the folks who've already ponied up the bucks and put their orders in for the Gemini. Why did you choose this device instead of a smartphone + accessory combo?

Thanks in advance!


Years ago I purchased a bleeding edge smartphone. A Galaxy Note 3. It is still in service. It has a removable back with a user replaceable battery. I'm running a 200GB microSDXC card to supplement the onboard 32GB of RAM. I fairly regularly use the USB 3.0 OTG to transfer data on/off the device. I have yet to find anything I want to do with a standard smartphone that it won't do. It is quick, user serviceable (replaced the charge port myself), etc. I have to retire it because it is forever stuck on Android 5.0 as Samsung will not unlock the bootloader. This policy of orphaning phones from updates at 2 years and refusing to release the ownership of updates to the consumer (bootloader) has forever put me off of purchasing any major manufacturers smartphone. I have work related software that requires a non-rooted phone and will soon stop allowing operation Android 5. So, I have to get a new phone. Not because my phone is hardware outdated - it isn't. But because my $800 phone is no longer supported by it's manufacturer.

I have several bluetooth portable keyboards. I even have one that quad-folds and fits in a pocket. Where they all fall down for mobile use is that I only have two hands and cannot run the keyboard with them while holding the device. Where they all fall down for desktop use is that I have to physically setup/assemble them just to type an email. Having owned a Pandora handheld computer, I can securely state that a clam shell keyboard incorporated design is BETTER.

The device I really -want- is the DragonBox Pyra. I have had one on pre-pre-order for over two years. It will be a great device - some day. Hypothetically a person could put 2.2 terabytes of storage into it and still stick it in a pocket (microSDXC + TWO full sized SDXC + two USB 2.0 ports using microSDXC in-port adapters). The battery is meant to be user-changeable. However, it is 1.3" thick, which makes it 'pocketable', but it's going to print badly in a pant pocket. To become my 'phone' it would also need to run my work Android application. For the Pyra, that last bit might someday happen, but that someday is probably 2 Months to a year or more away. I'll be patient for that one, quirks and all.

So, I ran across the Gemini on Indiegogo. It ticks several of the Pyra boxes. Physical keyboard, microSDXC for expansion, though I wish it had more than one. Stock Android will hopefully work for my work applications. What I'm really looking forward to on this one for an OS, though, is Sailfish. The fact that Planet Computers has gone open source on the bootloader for the Gemini should be the biggest news in smartphones. THAT is revolutionary in the world of Android/iOS smartphones. To have a manufacturer hand us the keys and say, "Run whatever OS you want"... finally. A manufacturer that hasn't ingrained and automated obsolescence into their device support. One of my latent fears with the Gemini is actually the battery. None of the user reports have yet to figure out how to remove the one it ships with. User serviceability might not be as good as many of us had hoped for.

I like mechanical keyboards. The interface between human and computer is a real thing that needs to be made as seamlessly as possible. On a good keyboard, I can touch type at nearly the speed of thought. I won't be nearly that fast on the Gemini. But, on-screen keyboards have always been an exercise in frustration. They are far too slow and, by definition, require looking at your fingers. You can never truly touch type on an on-screen keyboard. (The closest to being able to do so is the Samsung Galaxy Note 12.2 - but that is simply that in landscape mode it's on-screen keyboard nearly matches the per-key size of a physical desk keyboard). Frankly, I wish Planet Computers had gone -further- on the keyboard and put in a scissors stabilization type setup akin to the original IBM Thinkpad keyboards. Yes, even if that would have added 3-4 mm of thickness to the end device.

So many of the phone reviewers get the Gemini wrong. They try to categorize it as a wonky phone with a keyboard. That isn't how we're all planning to use it though. What it REALLY is, is a multi-purpose, general-function, portable computer that also has the ability to take a call or two when needed. Clock your time with your 'smartphone'. What percentage of that time is spent actually talking on the phone? For many of us it is nearly zero. I can go months without a single voice call. I can't seem to go 20 minutes without reading and responding to a text or email though.

If you were to place 'current devices that can use mobile phone towers' on a continuum or scale from phone to computer from most phone-like to most computer-like:

Wall phone (do they still make these?)
Any 'normal' smartphone - iPhone or Galaxy series or LG or ... (any of them)
Galaxy Note series (gets one step up for having multi-application split screen multi-tasking)
Gemini 4G on Android
Gemini 4G on Sailfish
Gemini 4G on Debian (not much for voice call support - work in progress)
Pyra 4G on Debian (not much for voice call support - work in progress)
Any manufacturer's Notebook with 4G networking (no voice call support)

The Gemini not just another 'smart' phone. The Gemini is a pocket computer with mobile data and voice capabilities.

So, is that enough reasons to buy a Gemini?

Posted by: drand Mar 20 2018, 11:50 AM

Superb post Grench and closely matches my thinking.

I hope the Gemini can drive a clamshell shaped wedge into the smartphone / portables market to the benefit of consumer choice. While I think the market for the Gemini will remain niche it could be expanded tenfold if more people thought about buying what they really needed rather than what the big manufacturers and OS makers are trying to sell them.

Posted by: andrewl Mar 20 2018, 11:23 PM

For me the Gemini is not a phone. It's a portable creation device with phone capabilities. I expect it to be very good at the on-the-hoof creation stuff, but really not very good at being a phone. Devices that are made to be consumption devices and communication devices and have become very popular as such, have had media designed for their form factor and will always be better at it. I will still be carrying my phone.

I'm not too bothered about user-replaceable batteries, because a so-called non-replaceable one takes me 5 minutes to replace. I have a powerbank for occasions that I might need it, about 1% of the time.

What I like from a phone type device:

1. Screen readable in all conditions - including direct sunlight (something Psion was good at).
2. Should be able to survive a fall onto concrete from head height. A slip of the fingers should not cause a $150 repair bill.
3. Should have be able to hear and hold a good connection in fringe cell coverage areas.
4. No-slurp OS would be nice. I actively avoid Android for obvious ethical reason and I will be hoping that eventually Gemini can be totally Android free.

What I don't need:

1. More pixels crammed into a small screen. These are pointless and unusable and waste battery.

Posted by: MonkeyControl May 19 2019, 10:31 PM

I've just reread this topic, 'Why buy the Gemini', just over a year on from the question being originally asked by that nice MrMobile off the internet, and every answer in it is still valid today. I wasn't around at the time, but I would have probably answered something like 'came for the Sailfish, stayed for the keyboard'. The thing that strikes me though, on rereading all the comments, is that for what is often described as an apparently niche product, (and please don't get me started on the retro tag), there are quite a variety of reasons why people are here.
The Gemini, (and now the Cosmo), don't just answer one functional question, they seem to, (sort of), answer all the questions, whereas the dull slabs featuring android and crapple seem to collectively answer none. When I look at the Gemini & Cosmo features, and I look at the competition, (is there any?), the absolute brazen nerve of their existence just blows me away.
Long live Planet, keep doing what you're doing, can't wait for my little Cosmo.
p.s. Sorry to be so gushing and lovey, but credit where it's due

Posted by: Varti May 19 2019, 11:15 PM

QUOTE(MonkeyControl @ May 20 2019, 08:31 AM) *
I've just reread this topic, 'Why buy the Gemini', just over a year on from the question being originally asked by that nice MrMobile off the internet, and every answer in it is still valid today.

I totally agree with what you wrote smile.gif I couldn't even imagine going back to a smartphone with no keyboard, and having to type again on the screen every time. And having to bring my laptop with me every time I'd need to do an SSH session.

Varti

Posted by: Dixit May 22 2019, 03:18 AM

Indeed, I entirely miss the concept of "keyboardless smartphone."

Happy to say that I went straight from the Nokia 9300i to the Gemini.

Now people ask me: "Did you buy the Cosmo ?"

Euhm... no... I wasn't ready to change my concept "One phone per 12 years" either, so let's see what will be around in the year 2030.
I do hope it shall be a Planet.

Posted by: Daniel W May 22 2019, 11:08 AM

QUOTE(Dixit @ May 22 2019, 12:18 PM) *
2030
A Gemini might be a reasonable choice for that. While current OLEDs are unlikely to last that long, LED backlit LCD might. When MediaTek stops supporting the SoC, Linux can probably carry you on. USB-C and 4G will likely remain in use and something like Opera Mini can hopefully make late 2020's web sites workable. But current flash drives are less resilient than ten years ago. You may want to look out for a cheap "for parts" Gemini and find a way to swap the chip one day. While the first battery swap should be easy, when Planet STOPS (the haven't begun yet) making replacements, you may want to get two from the last batch and store them well. By 2030, I hope consumer electronics will have evolved such that keeping your next device until 2042 and the one after that until 2064, will be trivial, as we really need such life spans to seriously cut down on e-waste. Best of luck.

QUOTE(theMrMobile @ Mar 15 2018, 11:56 PM) *
why they're not better off buying a keyboard like the Jorno for their smartphone instead.
Had external mobile keyboards been a nice experience, laptops would largely be powerful tablets by now, which they, notably, mostly, are not.

While good pocket portable touch-typeable external phone keyboards exists, very few are available with my localized layout, while Planet Computers offered many layouts. I use my mobile device on the go, and in a typical car passenger seat, commuter bus or subway, a keyboard with a separate phone stand won't work well. A keyboard with an integrated phone holder would work better, but mechanics to securely grab a phone tends to be bulkier, heavier, less reliable and more delicate than having the keyboard permanently attached, so, to me, that would really only make sense if the keyboard MUST be full size and/or removable. Finding one with my localized layout would probably be even harder.

In either case, such keyboards must somehow be connected, often needs their own batteries and sometimes their own software. If I have a few minutes between bus stops, I neither want to spend time unfolding and connecting, nor having to fall back to tap-on-glass inside a busy commuter vehicle. Sometimes, I need to stand up and perhaps even walk, while typing on my physical keyboard, so, for me, a somewhat smaller (thus also thumb-typable) and simplified integrated keyboard, protected when inside the closed device, immediately connected and matched to the software, is much more available, convenient, compact and, well, elegant. While a Gemini can't be my only phone, I voted with my wallet for further development, and I am now looking forward to the Cosmo.

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