Over a decade ago, physical keyboards on mobile phones were killed by smartphones. The need for us to type on the bulky keypads in order to send an email or text message has been eliminated by the use of smart phones. People had a hard time typing out messages because the keys were too small for their fingers or they had to press the same key multiple times to get the correct letters.
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We used to carry phones with physical keyboards. The Astro Slide 5G is a laptop/smartphone hybrid that is being worked on by a passionate community of retro technology nerds. It is the first 5G transformer smartphone made by Planet Computers, and it is currently up for pre-order, with deliveries expected to go out in April.
The Astro Slide 5G is a follow-up to the Astro Slide, which had a full keyboard but was designed as a phone. The flip phone with a 24MP camera and a 1.91-inch AMOLED screen was taken on by the Cosmo Communicator. You can open it up like a mirror and get a physical keyboard and a 5.9-inch screen, only it ran on a different operating system.
The Astro Slide 5G has an external full touchscreen that slides up to reveal the classic PC-style QWERTY keyboard, with shift keys, space bar, arrow, and number keys laid out in all their bulky glory thanks to its recently patented RockUp hinge mechanism. The keyboard is backlit with five different brightness levels that can be adjusted manually or automatically depending on the environment it is in, and it comes in 24 different international layouts, including English, Arabic, German, Japanese, French, Polish.
The Astro Slide 5G has all the apps you would normally see on an average phone, plus a Vivaldi browser and apps developed by Planet Computers, and it comes with support for Linux OSs and a multiboot option. Everything is displayed on a 6.39-inch AMOLED screen. It comes with a Microtek processor that supports 8 gigabytes of RAM, 128 gigabytes of internal storage, and a 3.5mm audio jack, stereo speakers, and a 48MP Sony sensor camera.
It takes all the elements from your average phone and PC and combines them to become a true laptop in my back pocket.
The Astro Slide 5G was launched by Planet Computers in March 2020 with the goal of raising $160,000 or more to produce it. The phone was going to be released and shipped to backers in the summer of 2021. The tech industry has a shortage of components needed for factories to produce their products. It didn't help that the company was a small fish swimming with sharks, which meant it was often placed second or third on the waiting list for ordering parts and production runs.
Planet had to delay the release of the Astro Slide 5G by six months because of the shipping delay. The company said in December that the first units of the product would be delivered to backers by Christmas. The delivery of the PCBs to the SMT factory was delayed because of supply chain issues at the sister factory in Vietnam.
Planet is confident that it will be able to ship the Astro Slide 5G to its backers and other people who want to buy it next month without any further delays.