Planet Computers has designed a 5G phone that has a slide keyboard, but not your typical slide keyboard. 5G Technology World spoke with the designer to learn how it works.
Remember phones with slide keyboards? They went out of style several years ago. At my house, that took longer than at most. While slide keyboards were practical for texting, they weren’t useful if you wanted to use the phone to type on a table unless you used a Bluetooth keyboard. London-based Planet Computers has brought back the slide keyboard, this time with a 5G phone.
Though not yet available, the Astro Slide 5G phone is small enough to use as a phone, yet large enough to use as a computer. It runs Android with a dual boot into Linux. It’s USB-C ports let you charge the phone while still using a peripheral device. It also includes Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth connectivity.
[See our follow-up interview with Dr. Janko Mrsic-Flogel on the electronics, cooling, and EMI challenges of developing the AstroSlide in AstroSlide 5G phone: Electronics and graphene will make it run.]
5G Technology World spoke with Martin Riddiford, the engineer who designed the Astro Slide’s keyboard mechanism. In the video below Riddiford shows two models that he used to reach the final design.
Earlier in his career, Riddiford designed pocket computers for Psion. If you’ve ever seen the Psion Series 3, Series 5, or Series 7, then you’ve seen his elegant work.
Planet Computers has launched a campaign on Indiegogo to produce the Astro Slide. As of this writing, the company has 1,817 backers and has raised 533% of its goal.