Planet Computers hopes to ship its second handheld PC/smartphone in June, and the company is showing off some early prototypes at the Consumer Electronics Show.
The Cosmo Communicator is basically an updated version of the Gemini PDA that company released last year. Like its predecessor, it’s a clamshell device that you can open to reveal a 6 inch touchscreen display and a physical keyboard. Closed, you can use the device like a phone. Opened you can use it like a ridiculously small laptop — and in addition to Android, it can run Linux software.
But the new model has a faster processor, more RAM, a backlit keyboard, and a second screen that lets you do more without opening the device up.
Not all of those features are working on the prototypes Planet Computers is showing off, but the company is showing how they’ll work together to make a better pocket-sized computer.
On the front of the Cosmo, there’s a 2 inch AMOLED touchscreen display that you’ll be able to use to view the time, date, and weather, notifications, text messages, incoming phone calls, or other information. You could also use this screen to control media playback without opening the device.
Above the screen is a 24MP camera that’s a selfie camera when the Cosmo is closed, or a world-facing camera when the lid is open. Below this small screen is a fingerprint sensor that also works as a button to let you answer a phone call.
At least that’s the idea. Right now Planet Computers is showing off prototypes with displays. But touch input doesn’t work, so all we can see so far is a loop showing a bunch of different types of information that could theoretically be displayed on the small screen.
The company also has some prototypes with an updated hinge, but none with the new backlit keyboard.
The company is hoping to have everything worked out in time to begin shipping the phone/computer this summer to folks who backed a crowdfunding campaign that launched last year.
If you missed out on the campaign, you can still put an order at Indiegogo for $569 and up. You probably won’t get anything until June at the latest, but that’s still a substantial discount off the list price of $799. And while there are never any guarantees when you back a crowdfunding project, the fact that Planet Computers has shipped a handheld PC before suggests that they could be able to do it again.
The Cosmo Communicator is powered by a MediaTek Helio P70 octa-core processor and features 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, a 4,220 mAh battery, and a 6 inch, 2160 x 1080 pixel primary display.
It will support Android 9 and Linux, features a headphone jack and stereo speakers, a microSD card slot, two USB Type-C ports, a 5MP camera that’s facing the user when the lid is open, and the system will support Android 9 and Linux.
Planet Computers says it also recently received Google Mobile Services certification for Android 8.1 on the Gemini PDA, so you can expect a software update for that device soon.
I know this isn’t the point for this device, but…..make a wider (taller?) version with game controls sitting above the keyboard and I’ll be all over it.
Isn’t this just describing GPD’s products?
These are really awesome little devices if you need that kind of functionality.
But I wish they would make something closer to the practical usage of the Psion 5 – a similarly-sized device that only runs a handful of basic programs on an LCD or E-Ink screen that would last for hours and could be seen everywhere from a dark bedroom to a bright lecture hall to outside in the woods. Especially if it could run on AA or AAA batteries. Something like a half-priced version of the Freewrite (and with actual arrow keys).
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