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> Why buy the Gemini?
theMrMobile
post Mar 15 2018, 02:56 PM
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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!
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Lyall Pearce
post Mar 15 2018, 03:37 PM
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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?

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bogomips
post Mar 15 2018, 03:38 PM
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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.
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depscribe
post Mar 15 2018, 05:58 PM
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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?
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vader
post Mar 15 2018, 07:24 PM
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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.
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Jeffers
post Mar 15 2018, 07:53 PM
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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.
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greguu
post Mar 15 2018, 08:04 PM
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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.

This post has been edited by greguu: Mar 15 2018, 08:05 PM
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andrewl
post Mar 15 2018, 11:23 PM
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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.
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Varti
post Mar 16 2018, 01:54 AM
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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
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smapmap
post Mar 16 2018, 02:33 AM
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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
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joe
post Mar 16 2018, 03:03 AM
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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.
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gymbo
post Mar 16 2018, 03:04 AM
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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 )
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smapmap
post Mar 16 2018, 03:40 AM
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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
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Varti
post Mar 16 2018, 04:42 AM
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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
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smapmap
post Mar 16 2018, 04:48 AM
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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
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