If you’re looking for an Android smartphone with a built-in keyboard, right now your only options are BlackBerry devices. But the folks behind the crowdfunded sliding keyboard mod for the Moto Z smartphone family plan to launch a new phone with a landscape-style slide-out keyboard.

That’s the good news for keyboard fans. The bad news is that Livermorium has canceled keyboard Moto Mod.

Livermorium introduced the concept for a slide-out keyboard Moto Mod last year, completed a crowdfunding campaign earlier this year, and then encountered numerous unexpected problems.

In  lengthy update posted to the project’s Indiegogo page, the company explained that it’s been difficult to source components for the slider, it’s been difficult to make the design as slim and light-weight as hoped, and there’s been little interest in the keyboard module from potential retailers, which has limited the group’s cash flow and increased costs (since the plan was to produce 3,000 units, but the minimum order for some components is 14,000).

So rather than continuing to sink money into problems that seem difficult (and expensive) to solve for a device that has limited demand, the team is canceling the project.

Backers of the crowdfunding campaign can request a full refund, or they can get a discount from on the team’s upcoming smartphone with a slider keyboard.

That phone is code-named the “Q-device,” and it’s said to be thinner and lighter than a Moto Z + keyboard mod would have been. It’s also said to have better specs than any current Moto Z smartphone, it’ll use higher quality materials than the plastic that would have been used for the keyboard Moto Mod, and it’s designed so that the keyboard doesn’t obstruct the phone’s camera.

On the one hand, I wouldn’t blame you for being skeptical that a team that was unable to produce a smartphone accessory will be able to bring a full-fledged phone to market. But there are at least a few things that help make the idea seem plausible:

  • The Q-device uses common components that won’t be as difficult to source as the custom components that would have been used in the Moto Mod.
  • There won’t be a new crowdfunding campaign. The phone will just be available for new customers to purchase once it’s ready to go.

So Livermorium isn’t asking new customers to spend money on the new product before it actually exists. As for existing “customers” who pledged a cumulative $164 thousand for the now-cancelled Moto Z keyboard Moto Mod, it looks like many have already begun requesting refunds.

via xda-developers

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5 replies on “Moto Z keyboard mod canceled, team shifts focus to upcoming smartphone with slider keyboard”

      1. Nah, I think they were taking issue with my statement that the only modern Android phones with keyboards were Blackberry devices. But if hesitate to call the Gemini PDA a phone.

  1. Got a keyboard cover for my Galaxy S8 from an outlet for cheap. Not as great as my N900 keyboard was, but not bad either and does not compromise the phone in any way. My only problem with it is the missed chance to utilize the OLED screen as a background light for the keyboard. A few tiny holes and they could have made individual RGB backlight for each key without any added hardware…

  2. By the time their phone comes out, 5G phones will
    start shipping from phone makers. If their phone doesn’t
    offer 5G capability, it will be an also-ran, making their
    niche even smaller.

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