The makers of the Gemini PDA plan to begin shipping the first units of their handheld computer to their crowdfunding campaign backers any day now. And while the folks at Planet Computer have been calling the Gemini PDA a dual OS device (with Android and Linux support) from the get go, it turns out the first units will actually just ship with Android.
But the good news is that Planet Computer plans to offer tools that will make it easy for users to load their preferred Linux distribution to run alongside Android.
So far there’s at least partial support for Debian, Ubuntu, Sailfish OS, and Postmarket OS.
Planet Computer says there’s still some work to be done on Linux drivers, keyboard layout support, and performance issues. But the company says basic functionality and features including 4G connectivity are already working.
Users that want to install Linux will be able to download a Gemini Flashing Tool from the Planet Computer support site. It’ll run on Windows, Mac, or Linux PCs. It’ll take you through the steps of partitioning the storage space on your Gemini PDA and loading Linux so that it runs alongside Android. You can also use it to remove Linux or flash custom Android ROMs.
The company also promises it’ll release the source code for the Gemini PDA’s bootloader and Linux kernel.
The Gemini PDA features a 6 inch, 2160 x 1080 pixel display, a MediaTek Helio X27 deca-core processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, stereo speakers, 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and optional 4G LTE.
Its key feature may be the keyboard, which was designed by Martin Riddiford, who’s also responsible for the design of the keyboards on several classic handheld PDAs from Psion.
It’s designed to be compact, but comfortable for touch typing… something that’s not exactly true for the last 6 inch clamshell-style PC I had a chance to test.
I got a chance to check out a Gemini PDA prototype at CES last month, and I was pretty impressed with the keyboard at the time.