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.

Hands-on with the Gemini PDA handheld PC with Android, Linux and a 6 inch display

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18 replies on “Gemini PDA will ship with Android, but it also supports Debian, Ubuntu, Sailfish, and Postmarket OS (crowdfunding, work in progress)”

  1. I’ve tried Ubuntu and Debian on an HP 15 inch AMD64 laptop with a touchscreen. Linux touchscreen support is not very good compared Windows. My laptop came with Windows 10 and was designed for both Touchscreen and traditional keyboard/mouse interfaces. I have my doubts about Linux touchscreen support on an Android ARM based computer which was designed for a 100% touchscreen interface.

  2. Will there be a proper laptop-format version later on?

    That Helio X27 + 4GB RAM combo looks like beefy enough to run a proper Linux desktop without any hitch (quad Cortex-A72 + smaller cores).

    I would definitely be interested in a version with an 11″ 1080p IPS screen and maybe some more RAM.

      1. True, but this thing is only suitable for girls.
        I mean it would certainly fit into a handbag, and lady-fingers won’t struggle too much. However, your average man won’t be able to stuff these into his backpocket and his chubby digits can pose a challenge.

        If only it was a 5.7in phablet with the keyboard being removable. Then it could be a Linux/Android phone that fits into a backpocket, with the removable keyboard fitting into another backpocket.

        …or you know, guys can start carrying Hand Bags too ; )

  3. It has a touchscreen, so the mouse pointer isn’t 100% necessary 😉
    Have to find out when mine should arrive….

    1. As shown in the video, it was a very crappy experience navigating the Linux desktop with the touchscreen.

    2. That’s fine for Android but not Linux desktop applications. Not sure why these guys bothered with Linux desktop without putting a mouse on there. Seems like Linux desktop usage experience was just an afterthought.

  4. I’d get the 4G version if it had a mouse nub. I wonder how fast this sleeps/wakes under Ubuntu.

  5. Why isn’t there a mouse pointer? It’s a pretty critical feature when using desktop applications.

  6. It reminds me of the Psion netbook computer. It also remind me of the IBM PC110.

    I think that is really nice / neat.

  7. I’m not interested in Android but I’m interested in the Linux desktop. Are there plans on adding some sort of mouse pointer (nub, optical, etc.)?

    1. I question the usefulness of desktop Linux without a mouse pointer. Repurposing the arrow keys as a mouse wouldn’t be an adequate solution. At least for me.

      1. I question your questioning of the usefulness of desktop linux w/o a mouse pointer. you only need a keyboard with Linux. and touch screen can do the 5% left.

  8. Any word on sending out the first prototypes for testing and reviews?

  9. I want to want this device, but I have not been hearing very encouraging things about they keyboard. As a big keyboard nerd, that will be the deciding factor for me.

    1. If it is anything like the old psion keyboards it will be no problem at all. I still use my old MX5 because it is just a very useful device.

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