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Smartphones with built-in keyboards are nearly (but not completely) extinct. But die-hard fans of physical keyboards have kept the dream alive with accessories like the Clicks keyboard case and any number of DIY solutions.

The Fairberry project is one of the more interesting DIY options, as it’s an open source design that should, at least theoretically, allow you to attach a real BlackBerry keyboard to nearly any modern smartphone.

Fairberry (Dakkaron’s GitHub)

In a nutshell, Fairberry is a custom printed circuit board (PCB) designed to let you connect a BlackBerry Q10 keyboard to modern smartphones via a USB-C, micro USB, or Lightning connector.

The BlackBerry Q10 is a smartphone that launched more than a decade ago, and which has been long-since discontinued. But you can still find replacement keyboards on AliExpress for just a few dollars (or buy an actual Q10 smartphone for around $50).

As for the PCB, developer Dakkaron designed it to be compatible with the Fairphone 4 smartphone. But users can customize the design to change the physical dimensions and connector type to match any phone they need.

Then you can send your design to JLCPCB (or another manufacturer) to place an order.

You’ll also probably want to modify the 3D printed case designs to match your phone and then either send them to your own 3D printer (if you have one), or place an order through an online 3D printing shop.

The Fairberry project has been around for a while, but version 3.0 was released this weekend, with several key improvements including a smaller board, a Hirose keyboard connector that no longer needs to be hand-soldered, and a 2-zone keyboard backlight, a firmware update, and updated case design.

While Fairberry isn’t as easy to use as a Clicks keyboard, which comes as a fully assembled keyboard case, there are a few advantages to going the DIY route. For one thing, Clicks is only available for iPhone: there’s no Android version yet. And for another, it only supports a handful of the most recent iPhone versions.

Fairberry, meanwhile, should theoretically support just about any phone that can work with a USB keyboard, since it’s meant to be modified to match your phone’s physical dimensions and input.

via /r/Android

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  1. Is Fxtec still around? After their crowdfunding, I was hoping they’d come out with follow up versions with modern specs and retail releases. I much prefer a built-in horizontal slide out keyboard.

    1. I also love keyboard phones and have both an fxtec pro1 and a pro1x. The Pro1x is honestly a terrible device and the campaign was a bait and switch.

      The OG Pro1 was an SD835, with native video out, reception has some issues but is overall fine. The Pro1x is a cobbled together 662 with terrible reception, no video out (which was promised) and a huge ripoff at the ~$700 backer price given expansys was selling them for $300 before backers got theirs.

      My Pro1x sits awaiting canibalization in the event something on my OG Pro1 breaks.

    2. They’re the ones who sold the 1080p screens for Steam Decks recently. They really don’t want people to know that, but they had to legally state as much.

    3. My Pro1X sits dead in it’s box because the battery ran down completely and there’s no way to wake it back up without taking it all apart and jump starting it or sending it back to them. At this point I don’t know if I care enough to do either…