Modern smartphones with physical QWERTY keyboards are rare, but not unheard of these days. But you know what you don’t see much anymore? Phones with QWERTY keyboards that slide out from behind the display when you want to type and hide away behind the screen when you don’t need them.

Last year a team called Livermorium planned to release a modular add-on for Moto Z smartphones that would give users a slide-out keyboard… but those plans were scrapped months later and the company decided to just build its own slider-style phone instead.

Flash forward to 2019 and Livermorium has changed its name to F(x) Technology and the company says its phone will be ready to launch in the first quarter of the year. The developers are also sharing some details about the phone’s hardware and software.

First up, users can expect a five-row keyboard with backlit, convex keys, a staggered key layout, and a layout that’s optimized for thumb-typing.

The sliding mechanism props up the display at a slight angle so it’s easy to see while you type and the slider mechanism is said to be sturdy enough to prevent the screen from wobbling and to reduce the risk of damage if you drop the phone.

The phone will have a 6 inch AMOLED display with an 18:9 aspect ratio and slim bezels, but no notch.

And the phone will ship with stock Android 9.0 Pie software… but it will also come with a launcher app that’s optimized to work in either portrait or landscape mode. F(x) technology says the phone may also support alternate operating systems including Sailfish OS or Android-based operating systems such as LineageOS.

There’s still no word on the price, processor, exact release date… or whether there’s really all that much demand for this style of smartphone in 2019 (there might be a reason no big-name phone maker has released a model with a slide-out keyboard in years).

via xda-developers

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16 replies on “F(x) Technology is making an Android phone with a slide-out keyboard”

  1. Keyboards are a lot more useful now than they were when they were common. We have more ram, more screen real estate and better software, which means that multitasking is actually usable on mobile. Ever bring up a software keyboard while having two windows open? It’s blinding. If you’re multitasking and trying to synthesize information from one app and put into a document or communication in another app, multitasking isn’t usable any more. Enter a hardware keyboard and you can actually retain all that screen real estate and see what you’re doing, even with multiple windows open.

    Can’t promise Fx will find a market, but AFAIC, this is the most useful and innovative feature we’ve seen in many long years. A keyboard with a modern mobile OS just isn’t the same thing as it used to be. I wish them luck.

  2. That’s great news! I hope my carrier will make it available. This is like the HTC Dream for a new generation. 🙂

    My wife and I used the HTC Dreams back in the day. (I had the brown version, she had the white version)… actually I still have them in a box. Terrific devices… I was disappointed that there hasn’t been anything like that since then.

  3. These physical keyboards manufacturing is tricky and has led to a downfall of a kickstarter or two.

    Lets see when and if it will hit the shelves.

  4. I would love to have a physical keyboard but with a 6 inch screen on this phone, it might be too much of a stretch for my dainty hands. I think I prefer the Palm Pre orientation of slide out keyboard. Yes I said it, Palm Pre.

  5. I wish they would just make some cases for the main flagships instead. Charge $100 I’d pay. It’s going to be hard to sell this when most people already have good enough phones.

    1. Up until the Galaxy S8 Samsung had a qwerty-cover. The only stupid thing with that is that it’s not backlit, even thou it’s placed on top of the AMOLED that could have provided backlight with some cutouts…

    1. Great point, at the very least I expect a QSD 636 SoC in there.
      If they can step that up further to the QSD 660, 670, or 710 it would be decent. Or jump straight to the next-gen midrange QSD 678/750 SoC for good results. I guess its technically a further upgrade if they went for the QSD 835 and QSD 845 old flagship SoC’s as well. But what people really want is the latest QSD 855 in there.

      Also another thing to note, this is not a Qwerty Slider.

      …it’s a Qwery Tilt device (like the old Nokia N97).
      Overall, its the superior/comfortable solution.
      Just as long as the keyboard is large enough and buttons are easy to use, AND, the total device thickness is kept under control (12mm’s or thinner is ideal).

    1. They’d need to put a high-end SoC in there which I doubt they’d do. Although, I’d be a buyer if they end up doing that.

      Otherwise, I wouldn’t pay for an Android phone from a no-name group even if it has a nice slide-out horizontal keyboard. Also, given that they couldn’t deliver on a keyboard accessory, I doubt they’d deliver on a full blown phone.

      1. Received my LattePanda Alpha. Love it. It’s a sweet bit of kit. Fits in the palm of my hand and has 8gb RAM and… a powerful CPU. Cannot for the life of me understand where the full Windows OS devices of this size with 4G and phone capability are.

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