Author Topic: Has anyone here seen any signs of life from Planet lately?  (Read 1961 times)

Daniel W

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Has anyone here seen any signs of life from Planet lately?
« on: February 12, 2024, 01:16:13 pm »
Hi all.

From a personal point of view, they got my Astro for reflashing in early October -23 (the V07 update disabled my screen). When asking in late November, I was told they had it, and would get back to me. Then, nothing... One week apart, I recently made two attempts, to get an estimate of when I may get it back fixed. The auto-replies came quickly, but no actual responses. Yes, I checked my spam folder.

Their web site is up, with some things in stock, but also "Pre-order for Xmas 23 delivery"... Their planetembedded.com shop has a few dozen articles, but mostly looks like a template. No stock status on anything, no terms, conditions, shipping, warranty or contact information, not even article numbers... The support site hasn't been touched since 2021.

I did find these articles from 2024
https://kalkinemedia.com/news/world-news/planet-computers-announces-the-general-availability-of-planetpc-xr-series-of-linux-mini-desktops
https://www.businesslondonpress.com/technology/planet-computers-partners-with-hyperappliance-paving-way-for-1-billion-in-ai-hardware-manufacturing/

Both seems to suggest they are doing something... though fixing devices botched by their own software updates doesn't appear to be one of them.

So I wonder: Has anyone here seen any actual signs of life from Planet lately? I'm not into social media much. Are they posting anything there, with any regularity?

Varti

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Re: Has anyone here seen any signs of life from Planet lately?
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2024, 04:38:49 am »
No signs of life on their Facebook page either, their last post is dated 10th April 2023, for the Spring Special sale offer.

I'm also wondering what's their current status, though their silence is worrisome.

Varti
Planet Gemini PDA WiFi/LTE with Mediatek x27
SL-C1000 running Arch Linux ARM May2017, K30225 Wi-Fi CF Card, 64GB SDXC card
and many other Zauruses!

jakfish

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Re: Has anyone here seen any signs of life from Planet lately?
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2024, 02:23:12 pm »
I'd love to know the actual percentage of Astros delivered to actual backers. 50% delivered? More? Less?

Jake

Daniel W

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Re: Has anyone here seen any signs of life from Planet lately?
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2024, 03:14:02 pm »
According to Astro Update #84 from July 18, 2023, they've fulfilled 1632 Astro perks, out of a 3000 unit production run, that stalled when state owned Yibin Electronics "acquired" their factory partner, which then lost key staff and, as it seems, basically confiscated the remaining produced stock and other parts Planet had already paid for. I doubt any further production has happened anywhere since then.

Though I know the Astro needs "a full project reboot" and the beige XR desktop lookalike in the Business London Press article might be part of that, at the moment, it seems they don't respond to e-mail or even repairs devices they previously requested to have sent in. Mine is in Limbo.

I've made one more e-mail attempt and will report back here when something happens, or not. If they still won't reply, I must probably get another phone. As the performance of a Cosmo is enough for me, it wouldn't have to be that expensive, but I would miss the keyboard.

jakfish

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Re: Has anyone here seen any signs of life from Planet lately?
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2024, 04:50:03 pm »
Daniel, thanks for the careful write-up. Since I didn't back the Astro, I tried using the fxtec pro1x, but its telephony in the US was terrible, callers couldn't hear me, dropped packets, etc.

From there, and successfully daily-driving it since last September, I went with this:

https://www.amazon.com/Unihertz-Pocket-Smartphone-Android-Unlocked/dp/B09J4TPZDD/ref=sr_1_3?crid=1X9ABM12JQBX8&dib=eyJ2IjoiMSJ9.YPyXOG1ZiBz0bsAKHKfoHHczDfU-VGOBBmDh2JxUOXrgfxok5RF8_-OELMLkMy248RjBQgS4IKA2qmpXrhV6MuJxLnFK5v9mWmKByGh9ui4DT3xQ0bC-BMdBKaL3-wyowivwWYqP1VQJXObJ54s7-hWQAfw5wCC7enHjkUq5bI4cl1PISyvmVo1c4Q0QHU-qgQPxBNkM7unhSo2Lz0pJa867MB4bVboPOj6Rm8nSE04.OJmnTOaob9F8AJgNXqXD6hPyceYdyL_4s-S9QBVGJt0&dib_tag=se&keywords=unihertz&qid=1708465357&sprefix=unihe%2Caps%2C172&sr=8-3&ufe=app_do%3Aamzn1.fos.c3015c4a-46bb-44b9-81a4-dc28e6d374b3

A solid BB imitator that has yet to fail me communication-wise. Stuck on Android 11, but fully functional, and over in discord.com, a clever fellow has developed a Lineage for current Android (I don't run it). Unihertz phones have a faithful following with few complaints.

Jake

Daniel W

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Re: Has anyone here seen any signs of life from Planet lately?
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2024, 08:59:47 am »
Thank you for Jake suggesting the Unihertz. Long ago, I had devices in a similar form factor. Sony Ericsson P990, Nokia E70, E71 and E6-00 comes to mind. While useful for brief notes and basic messaging, they wouldn't do for things like taking real time meeting notes or working with larger documents. The longest text I've written on my Cosmo so far, is a bit over 800 000 characters, and it's not done yet.

For such use cases, putting a Gemini, Cosmo or Astro on a table and typing with both hands, is about as small as I can go. Once upon a time I had a Psion Revo, with a keyboard layout similar to the Planet devices, but rather than 14.5mm, the letter keys were about 13mm wide, which was too small for me, so something like a fxtec pro1x would probably just end up being frustrating for me.

I have a reasonably good (non backlit, unfortunately) foldable Bluetooth keyboard, with an integrated phone holder, 15.5mm wide letter keys (and dedicated keys for Å and Ä). It looks like this (Gemini keyboard and a swipe card for scale)
 

While nowhere near as convenient as an integrated keyboard, it at least works with most regular smartphones.

Oh, well, this is sliding off topic. Planet still hasn't replied to my third email in about a month, so I guess it about time to go shopping. Would the Astro ever return, it might be good to have a fully working spare phone, unless I'd find a new home for it. We'll see.

jakfish

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Re: Has anyone here seen any signs of life from Planet lately?
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2024, 09:48:12 am »
I understand your position. While I can use TextMaker on the Unihertz, it's for brief additions to existing chapters, everything temporary until I can return to a computer. The Unihertz does make a large phone, the Titan, but I doubt even that would solve your kb needs. And the Titan is a hefty beast.

I have the ZAAG bt kb, which looks remarkably similar to your Voxicon.

Jake

Daniel W

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Re: Has anyone here seen any signs of life from Planet lately?
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2024, 01:40:51 pm »
Sorry for further derailing this thread, but as "Q:Anything from Planet? A:No!" is kind of exhausted, here goes:

Yes, the ZAGG Pocket foldable bluetooth keyboard (194g and 223.5 x 54.5 x 14.5 mm folded) is pretty similar in design. This Voxicon BT Mini 199B is a wee tad neater (161g and about 202 x 46 x 15 mm folded), which makes the layout a tad cramped, with shrunk, incorrectly staggered number keys, and Ä in the wrong spot, but as it barely fits my relevant pockets, I can't really go bigger and I'm pretty pleased.

The device holder is basic and compact. For beyond 8" tablets, I'd recommend a larger keyboard. It charges via old Micro-USB. AFAIK Voxicon is a store brand for the Nordic web retailer Dustin. The keyboard presents itself as "DK-199B-G" which seems to be their article number. It might be a "B.O.W HB199", with a Nordic layout and a slightly different firmware.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2024, 03:42:41 pm by Daniel W »

Dom (shymega)

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Re: Has anyone here seen any signs of life from Planet lately?
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2024, 06:47:39 pm »
Planet is still alive, and I'm working on negotiating employment with them for Linux on phones.

I can't go into much detail, as I do not wish to set expectations.

However, they are alive and well.

Daniel W

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Re: Has anyone here seen any signs of life from Planet lately?
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2024, 05:55:13 pm »
That's certainly a sign of life. Thank you for sharing that. For the benefit of us all, I wish you the best of luck in your negotiations.

As some kind of follow-up on my own situation: since Planet hasn't yet returned my Astro, doesn't answer email and my Cosmo is crumbling, I have now moved to a cheap regular smartphone (and an external bluetooth keyboard). While less convenient, it's nice to have a device with a somewhat current version of Android again, that I dare to update, and a camera driver written by someone with a hunch about photography.

Until, if ever, Planet gets anything smartphone related going again, I probably don't have much reason to be here, though I guess I'll check in once in a while anyway. It would be really nice if mid-spec productivity-oriented "real keyboard" phones could become a viable, stable "UMPC of Chromebooks" niche, perhaps in cooperation with an established manufacturer, rather than some nebulous "ODM partner" that might be gone tomorrow. Time will tell.

jakfish

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Re: Has anyone here seen any signs of life from Planet lately?
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2024, 06:12:07 pm »
Hmm. I hope you're right, Dom. Since this is the go-to forum for all things Planet, and since the forum posts have dropped precipitously, both from the unavailability/shipment of current devices and a general dearth of PC response, I can't find much promise. But I have fingers crossed for your perspective.

I've cobbled together a $4usd battery and my Gemini to run 3-5 hours on a Gemian install, and that has been great, but not much is going on OESF, which tells me not much is going on with PC :(
« Last Edit: March 05, 2024, 06:19:26 pm by jakfish »