The F(x)tec Pro1 is one of the few modern smartphones to feature a slide-out keyboard for thumb typing. First launched in 2019, the phone was designed to ship with a custom version of Android optimized for portrait and landscape use, but late last year F(x)Tec launched a crowdfunding campaign for a Pro1-X model that would be available with a choice of Android, LineageOS, or Ubuntu Touch.

Originally the plan had been to begin delivering phones to backers in March 2021, but in a recent update posted to the Indiegogo crowdfunding page, F(x)tec explains that the phone is now estimated to ship in August.

The reason? Because the processor F(x)tec had planned to use for the phone has reached end of life status and was unavailable from the company’s suppliers. So F(x)Tec chose a new chip, but that will involve redesigning the phone’s motherboard and giving LineageOS and Ubuntu Touch developers time to make sure their operating systems are compatible with the new hardware.

The move probably shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. When F(x)Tec launched the first version of its Pro1 smartphone in 2019, it was powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor — a chip that was already two years old at the time.

F(x)Tec said using an older flagship allowed the company to offer premium performance without breaking the bank, since it could obtain the older chips at a discount. But now the Snapdragon 835 processor has reached end of life status, making it unavailable for use in the Pro1-X.

So the company opted to switch to a Snapdragon 662 chip. It’s a mid-range processor rather than a flagship, and F(x)tec says users may notice slightly lower performance from the new chip, but longer battery life due to improved efficiency.

But there are some upsides to the transition. The Snapdragon 662 processor supports WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, and higher-quality camera sensors, for example. And most importantly, it’s a newer chip that will be supported for a longer period of time – if you opt for the Android version of the phone, F(x)Tec expects it to ship with Android 11 and the company says software and security updates should be available through at least 2023.

Some folks still seem to be unhappy about the move though, and are talking about canceling their pre-orders.

One other thing to come out of this situation? Now we know why more phone makers don’t choose old flagship processors for new phones.

You can find more details about the F(x)Tec Pro1-X and a more detailed comparison of the Snapdragon 835 and Snapdragon 662 chips at LinuxSmartphones.com.

F(x)tec Pro1-X will ship in August with a Snapdragon 662 processor rather than March with an SD835 chip

via @linmobblog

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  1. How’s Ubuntu Touch coming along? Is it worse now with the new chip? Thinking of using this as Linux distro UMPC if Ubuntu Touch works out well. Although, I need to get up to speed on what “desktop” Linux PC things I can do on Ubuntu Touch like running desktop versions of SW instead of mobile apps.

  2. I’m backing this phone, ordered in November, and am only slightly bummed because now I have to be even more patient. I’m not super techie and mostly wanted to get away from Apple, and avoid Google/Microsoft as much as possible as well, also needed something more ready to go straight out the gate (unlike the Pinephone, which I still follow with high hopes). Im not in desperate need of a new phone, and if I have to I’ll buy a burner, so I’m personally not too worried about this situation as long as they feel confident enough that the end result will be mostly what they originally advertised.
    I’m actually mostly annoyed by some of the other backers who are basically spamming the comments on their indiegogo campaign hoping for failure.
    There honestly wasn’t a great solution for this problem they ran into, the chip supplier backed out of their contracted deal (which they are already going after them legally) and had to find something that is within budget and will require the least amount of redesign. I know people have mention using something higher end but fxtec said in a few replies that just the licensing for some of the nicer chips alone will be a million dollars. The suppliers/manufacturers tend to deal with companies that sell millions of units, not a measly 1,500 units. There’s also the redesign process that goes into other chips that have been mentioned, they would have to basically start over from scratch and I can only imagine that starting completely over would set the date back over a year.
    Sucks but I’m not mad at fxtec, as far as I can tell they’re doing their best with what they’re given, still looking forward to it.

  3. From the perspective of someone who wasn’t going to buy it anyway and doesn’t use his phone for much (me). I had to wade through a lot of comments to find anything about supporting external displays (they say it still does!), so I was able to see that…
    From the perspective of someone who bought it because they were expecting a phone is a few months and has spent over a year waiting by this point (some of the commenters), it feels like betrayal and foreshadowing of never actually getting it.
    This is a big problem with relying on preorders to make smartphones. You’re not allowed to not have one, so when someone’s phone breaks, they need a new one NOW, so any delay is a big deal. And many have trouble settling for a downgrade or a burner phone, oh no, that would be undignified and beneath them! So of course that’s going to sting when they take the only option that doesn’t involve redesigning the chassis.

      1. I think the chassis could have taken an SD845. The LG V40 was very similar to the LG V30 but with more RAM and an 845 in place of the 835.

        I have a second phone with a SD435 and it is fine for when I must make calls or texts when my main phone is dead. It also has a high quality DAC so I use it for audio playback when I don’t want to kill the battery on my main phone. With COVID restricting travel, I find that I don’t really need a backuo phone anymore, freeing up funds for one flagship phone. I have 3 basic criteria for a main phone: water resistance, good cameras (standard and wide angle), and a decent audio DAC with 3.5mm headphone jack. The water resistance criteria has eliminated all keyboard equipped phones up to this point but I am hopeful that one may come out eventually.

  4. I’m glad I didn’t end up backing this phone. My current phone (bought new in 2017) has a Snapdragon 835 CPU and I’m getting to a point where the lag is enough to justify a new phone. I would definitely not want to go backwards as far as performance goes. A better choice would be to go with an SD 845 or 855 which should still be available. The whole project could fail if enough backers requested refunds so the dev team really should be looking at providing equivalent or better performance than promised to help ensure success of the project.