Without foldable devices, smartphone design has hit a bit of a plateau. Enter Planet Computers’ Astro Slide, full-sized Android phone that includes a slide-out keyboard, 5G connectivity, and a sub-$500 price-tag.
If that all sounds a little too good to be true, well, we have some potentially bad news. The very unique device is currently seeking backers on its official IndieGogo page. However, the proposed specifications definitely look pretty promising.
The 6.53-inch Astro Slide is set to rely on the MediaTek Dimensity 1000 chipset with built-in 5G-connectivity. It will also come with 6GB of RAM, 128GB of microSD expandable storage, two nano-SIM slots, eSIM support, and a 48-megapixel rear camera.
Interestingly, it isn’t set to come with a selfie camera, and will also ship with Android 10 in what looks like a vanilla-like flavor. Clearly, the signature addition here is that slide-out keyboard. Planet Computers has designed a unique “RockUp” sliding mechanism that allows you to slide the screen off the keyboard completely. This lets you use the phone as a mini laptop of sorts.
The benefit here is the form factor, as you can get a similar experience already with a separate Bluetooth keyboard. However, the all-in-one form factor definitely harks back to the early PDA days, when smartphones were more of a business accessory than an everyday piece of tech.
Planet Computers is no stranger to this form factor, having created a number of similar PDA-inspired smartphones in recent years — including the Gemini. The firm has pinned a March 2021 release date for the Astro Slide at an early-bird price of $491.
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