The Cosmo Communicator is a pocket-sized device that has a clamshell-style design that lets you use it like a tiny laptop. Flip open the lid and you’ve got a 6 inch touchscreen display and a QWERTY keyboard.
But the Cosmo Communicator is also a smartphone. Close the lid and you can hold it to your ear to make phone calls.
If the design looks kind of familiar, that’s because the Cosmo Communicator is basically the 2nd-gen version of the Gemini PDA which hit the streets earlier this year following a successful crowdfunding campaign in 2017.
Planet Computer is taking pre-orders for the new model through an Indiegogo campaign, and hopes to begin shipping the device to backers in May, 2019.
The suggested retail price for the new model is $799, but pre-orders are going for $549 during the crowdfunding campaign.
Here’s how the new model is the same as its predecessor:
- It has a six inch primary display and a keyboard inspired by the design of the classic Psion line of handhelds.
- It’s powered by a MediaTek processor.
- The device runs Android and is compatible with Debian, Sailfish OS, and other GNU/Linux distributions thanks to a multi-boot option.
Here’s are some of the things that are new in the Cosmo Communicator:
- It has a 2 inch AMOLED touchscreen on the lid.
- It has a 24MP camera.
- It features an updated processor, more memory, and more storage.
- There’s a fingerprint sensor.
- The keyboard is backlit.
- There’s NFC support.
- It’s expected to ship with Android 9 Pie.
The new model features a MediaTek P70 octa-core processor with ARM MaliG72 MP3 graphics, 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage plus a microSD card slot.
For the most part that seems like a step up from the MediaTek X27/4GB/64GB found in the Gemini PDA. But the biggest change is likely to be the addition of a secondary screen that lets you interact with the phone without flipping it open.
The external display lets you answer phone calls or control the camera. The fingerprint sensor on the front also lets you unlock your device without opening it. Along with the upgrade camera upgrade and NFC support, these features make the Cosmo Communicator seem like a device that you might actually want to use as smartphone replacement rather than a smartphone companion.
On the one hand, the Cosmo Communicator is the kind of ambitious crowdfunding project that I typically view with skepticism/cautious optimism. On the other hand, the company largely delivered on its promises for the Gemini PDA, so it stands to reason that the next version could be a real thing that you can get your hands on next year.
Here’s a run-down of the device’s specs:
- 6 inch primary display (2160 x 1080 pixels)
- 2 inch secondary display (570 x 240 pixels)
- MediaTek P70octa-core processor (4 x 2 GHz ARM Cortex A73 & 4 x 2 GHz ARM Cortex-A53)
- 800 MHz ARM Mali-G72 MP3 graphics
- 6GB RAM
- 128GB storage
- microSD card reader
- 5MP internal camera + 24MP external camera
- Dual USB-C ports for charging + data + HDMI (with adapter)
- Stereo speakers
- 3.5mm audio jack
- 802.11ac WiFi
- Bluetooth 4.2
- FM Radio
- 4G LTE Cat.7 DL / Cat.13 UL
- Dual SIM (and eSIM) support
- 4,220 mAh battery
The device measures about 6.7″ x 3.1″ x 0.6″ and weighs about 11.3 ounces.
Update: Charbax from ARMDevices.net has posted video interviews with Planet Computers CEO Janko Mrsic-Flogel and designer Martin Riddiford. You can get a better look at the prototype and an idea of the thinking that went into the updated design by checking out both videos.
Is this coming out of the same factory as the Gemini PDA? It looks like they copied everything, to include the hinge/stand…
It is the same company making another device.
Why….mediatek? Just why?
It’s a specialized device, the first one Gemini PDA sold barely 10 thousand units, perhaps Qualcomm does not provide their processors and support for PCB design unless order quantity is 100-200 thousand or more at minimum. Qualcomm should reach out to them and offer support and chipset discounts if they’d like to help promote the form factor and I’m sure that’d be welcomed.
Wow cool. I like this. The little 2″ AMOLED screen has higher resolution than the main screen on my first smartphone!
I like the idea, but it doesn’t look like they have it 100% right. Not sure I can place what seems off. The Mediatek processor doesn’t help either.
This is just a teaser. That’s why it seems half-baked. Also I don’t like the protruding camera section. That should be flush with the body.
This would be a lot more appealing with either a 360° hinge or a slide up hinge like the old N97. It seems like it would be awkward to use without propping it up on a desk.
It looks like they’re not targeting a thumb typing audience but people who would be typing on a table/lap anyway.
I wonder what comprises they’d make to create a slider type device with a touch typing keyboard. Kind of like that Samsung netbook that never got released but that was a 10” netbook not a 6” pocket PC with phone features.
I’d like a hinge like the Nokia N97 for sure, if they possibly could modify their hinge to do like that. But consider Gemini PDA and Cosmo Communicator has 100x better keyboard than Nokia N97. That keyboard is very important, it’s basically nearly as fast as typing on a laptop keyboard. Really that good. So the way they have their hinge right now is extremely good for a pocketable clamshell device, so just not sure if modifying it to allow for slide up and down hinge like N97 would be even possible keeping that same keyboard typing quality. They could definitely try to achieve that if they can have a huge success, if they can get some significant investments to enable more keyboard hinge development.
The 2:1 display is a killer for me on a productivity device. It’s already huge so why not make it wider as well.
2:1 displays are quite popular right now, making it easier to source for this specialized device. I wish they could get a 7″ display, or perhaps even 8″ display and bezel-less and with a 20-30% larger keyboard. Though for now this is quite great. I’ve been using Gemini PDA for 7 months as my main phone and I think it’s pretty great. Sure larger bezel-less display would be nice, wider display bezel-less would be nice. But they can’t do it so easily as long as they’re just shipping a few thousand units here and there.. unless a custom display maker reaches out and makes an effort to encourage and improve on this new form factor.
Does it still not have a built-in pointing device for mouse capabilities when using a Linux desktop distro?
Doesn’t look like it.
Yeah, it sure doesn’t. But maybe one could hack that new fingerprint sensor into a tiny, weirdly placed touchpad …
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