PinePhone with keyboard


SAS

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Interesting news from the Pine64 blog regarding the future development of PinePhone:

We’re well aware that an accessory that many of you want for your PinePhone is a keyboard. We have a good understanding how important a keyboard can be to a Linux phone, effectively turning it from a smartphone into a Linux PDA. We are therefore not cutting any corners and, instead of reinventing the wheel, we’ll be making a keyboard heavily inspired by PSION Series 5 keyboards from the 1990’s. We hope to not only replicated the usability of the PSION Series 5 keyboard but also the tactile feel it is known for. The keyboard will use the I2C connection on the back of the phone, which will allow it to open and close identically to the Series 5 PDAs. Due to the compatibility with the existing original Pinebook and the development for the PineTab, as well as the ability of the PinePhone to dual boot from SD, I expect that you’ll eventually be able to run a fully fledged Linux OS with the keyboard attached. Many probably want to know the availability of the keyboard, which is understandable, but for now we’re talking to companies so we can get the molding process going. So, for now, I can only vaguely say that it will be available sometime in 2020.
With their pricing model - and if it really resembles Psion keyboard :p - it can make current smartphones with hw keyboard much more affordable and desirable :)
 
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Swordfish II

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Hmm I already purchased a Cosmo Communicator, but if this comes (keyboard) out i will probably get it and a pinephone as well.

Keynav with custom bindings works pretty well for a keyboard only mouse replacement. I have it working on an x86 tablet that I converted to ubuntu in a keyboard folio
 

Xcl4m4t10n

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After the keyboard they could do some kind of video game controls. And after that, combine keyboard with gamecontrols OPS WHAT DOES WE HAVE HERE, A FUCKING PYRA? No, better. Because the PinePhone is real.

 

modport

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I expect that you’ll eventually be able to run a fully fledged Linux OS with the keyboard attached.
Wow, this is very interesting! I've been looking for a handheld/thumb use UMPC with a desktop OS and built-in LTE (US Verizon). It seems that the PinePhone supports all of Verizon's LTE bands.

Hmm I already purchased a Cosmo Communicator, but if this comes (keyboard) out i will probably get it and a pinephone as well.

Keynav with custom bindings works pretty well for a keyboard only mouse replacement. I have it working on an x86 tablet that I converted to ubuntu in a keyboard folio
I didn't know keynav existed. I've always brushed off running a desktop OS without a built-in mouse pointer. With this, I guess I'll be adding keyboard only devices to my list of prospective UMPCs like the PinePhone and f(x)tec Pro1 (assuming a desktop OS gets ported to it). Maybe I'll look at the Cosmo Communicator too but it's not really a thumb typing device. It seems they have gotten Debian to boot but I'm not sure how usable it is yet.

Looking like 2020 will be interesting for UMPC with mobile broadband fans like myself.
 

Swordfish II

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Yeah keynav isn't quite as fast as a mouse, but it is accurate and emulates a mouse well. Most browsers also support scrolling with the arrow keys.
 

oskda

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... if it really resembles Psion keyboard :p - it can make current smartphones with hw keyboard much more affordable and desirable :)
I die for a smartphone with good hw keyboard, but that doesn't exist today (only some Android Blackberry with small portrait keybaord (small without cursor nor enough control keys).

I love pocket computers (with keyborad) since 8-bit times (my first pocket computer was 8-bit). On opposite side I hate pocket computers without keyboards (stupid PDA model) and my worst device ever was a powerful hard PDA without keyboard (what a waste of powerful CPU and lots of memory for its time).

I own a Psion 5mx. In fact I own a small collection of pocket computers.

And after all that I must say Psion 5mx keyboard is very very overrated by a lot. It is not as good as lot of people say. Reasons:

  1. It is not hand-held designed, so it is not ideal for a mobile device. In a mobile device most time you use it holding device with your hands and typing with thumbs, but you can't do this comfortably in Psion 5mx because keys are too far away from you thumbs (while holding machine with hands); you need to force them to reach some keys.
  2. ... (continue from problem 1): Keys are too near to border, and so you need to force your muscles. If repeated it hurts.
  3. Keyboard displacement when open makes it sit in a thin vase, and it is uncomfortable to type holding a thin device/base. It is better a fatter one like Pyra.
  4. Keyboard movable base is prone to fail (more fragile than standard clamshell design) and uncomfortable. It would be much better with a standard clamshell design like HP-200LX where keyboard is fixed (not in a movable base). Even when you use it on a table, keyboard base wobbles.
  5. Keys resemble in form a (old, no chiclet) notebook keys, but smaller. But reality is that internal mechanism isn't: they don't move like in a good old notebook
Really I think a standard clamshell design is much better (where only screen moves), and a more thick body to holed it better while typing. At the same time separated keys (smaller but with more space between them) are better (lest chance to hit other keys). And if you move keys a bit from border, even better.

I type faster and better in HP-95LX, HP-100LX and Zaurus SL-Cx000 than in Psion 5mx, and HP/Zaurus have smaller keys. Even HP-95/100 have the problem of numerical block (it would be better without it), but even with that I type better in them than in Psion 5mx.
 

gunrock

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I disagree. The 5mx keyboard was great. I completed the coursework for about a third of my degree, on a 5mx, on the train, in the rush hour, going to and from work in Central London, holding the 5mx in my hands (no little tables on South Eastern Trains!)

It worked brilliantly for me. Then again, I'm not an accomplished typist- of the proper form, anyway.
 

Swordfish II

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Is it the phone that is getting a keyboard?
https ://www.indiegogo.com/projects/cosmo-communicator

Ordered after the Pyra and got it before. Sure it has its issues, but the keyboard is awesome, I actually have it... I mean it will be another couple years before the Pyra makes it out.

Edit: Keeps breaking the link -_-
 

comradekingu

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i tried the cosmo and the pyra. Cosmo is nice enough for 10-fingers, but getting something portable to put it down, without a mouse. A bit smaller, e-ink second screen, new layout, and no Mediatek, Linux and nub-mouse, and it would be killer.
it has some semi-dead spots with two hands. Was wondering if it was the pine phone that was getting a keyboard.
 

Swordfish II

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I have huge hands no issues here.

Linux is coming and with keynav you don't need a mouse.

Also I didn't have to wait 5+ years for it ;)
 

oskda

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I disagree. The 5mx keyboard was great. I completed the coursework for about a third of my degree, on a 5mx, on the train, in the rush hour, going to and from work in Central London, holding the 5mx in my hands (no little tables on South Eastern Trains!)

It worked brilliantly for me. Then again, I'm not an accomplished typist- of the proper form, anyway.
I disagree with your position. I have had a lot of pocket computers, and 5mx keyboard (with its movable base) isn't great because of its moving base under keyboard where you end with a very thin keyboard (3 cm x 17 cm in air with only 1 mm tick base). You can see it in this pic:
1580553055238.png


If you did your work on it, it is your merit, not 5mx keyboard.

If 5mx keyboard were fix, only moving screen to open it, but no keyboard base, it would be much better. I think Cosmo Communicator work this way: only screen moves, keyboard base is fixed. I hope Pinephone keyboard be made the same. The problem with Comso for me is not keyboard, but hard and bad Linux support: it is Android smartphone hard with limited Linux support/drivers.

On other side I Know people who typed completed listings on Sinclair's ZX Spectrum, but obviously it was crap keyboard (but we loved it). There is people who managed to work with trash keyboard, but it doesn't make good a bad keyboard. I am not saying 5mx keyboard be as bad as ZX Speccy keyboard, simply that getting work done doesn't make a keyboard great.
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I have huge hands no issues here.

Linux is coming and with keynav you don't need a mouse.

Also I didn't have to wait 5+ years for it ;)
I would kill for a IBM Trackpoint in that keyboard :)

I find Trackpoint ideal solution: you have an infinite mouse and you can use it without moving your hands from keyboard.

In modern Thinkpad they have ruined it a bit (only one cap and flat, not ergonomic, Trackpoint buttons).
 
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mrpalmtop

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The HP Jornada 600 and 700 series had much better keyboards than the Psions. They had greater key travel and did not have that thin edge to cut yourself on that oskda mentioned. They also had more keys on them, too, so you didn't have to hunt as much for punctuation.

Their CPUs were much more powerful than the Series 5's were as well. You can actually run NetBSD and Linux on them. I only wish they had not been so thick and heavy. I suppose that the thickness was to accommodate a modem port though.



jornada.jpg
 

Swordfish II

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The HP Jornada 600 and 700 series had much better keyboards than the Psions. They had greater key travel and did not have that thin edge to cut yourself on that oskda mentioned. They also had more keys on them, too, so you didn't have to hunt as much for punctuation.

Their CPUs were much more powerful than the Series 5's were as well. You can actually run NetBSD and Linux on them. I only wish they had not been so thick and heavy. I suppose that the thickness was to accommodate a modem port though.



View attachment 35777
I had a Jornada 720 and actually put in some work on Jlime back in the day.

Loved that thing.
 

oskda

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The HP Jornada 600 and 700 series had much better keyboards than the Psions. They had greater key travel and did not have that thin edge to cut yourself on that oskda mentioned. They also had more keys on them, too, so you didn't have to hunt as much for punctuation.

Their CPUs were much more powerful than the Series 5's were as well. You can actually run NetBSD and Linux on them. I only wish they had not been so thick and heavy. I suppose that the thickness was to accommodate a modem port though.

View attachment 35777
I find those Jornada 600 and 700 too big. They are not "pocket computers".

For example Jornada 720 dimensions are: 187.96 x 93.98 x 33.02 mm. And it weights 499 g.

Psion 5mx is smaller: 170 × 90 × 23 mm and 354 grams (battery included).

HP 200LX is even smaller 160 × 86.4 × 25.4 mm

Pinephone dimensions: 160.5mm x 76.6mm x 9.2mm without keyboard. Here dimensions came from big display as is usual for modern smartphones, but it may be hard keyboard only adds to 9.2mm thickness.

Sharp Zaurus SC-Cxx00 are really POCKET computers (similar to Nintendo DS): 124 x 87 x 25 mm (https://www.manualslib.com/manual/1052671/Sharp-Sl-C1000.html?page=7#manual) and they weight less than 300g. And finally those Sharp SL-Cxx00 came with Linux aboard.

Pyra is about 139 x 87 x 32 mm, and 384 g

Too big/wide machines are worse to type on the move, while you hold it with your hands and type with thumbs. Simply your thumbs can't reach all keys and you need to force them causing injury (and I have very large fingers, no short ones).
 

mrpalmtop

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I have owned all of the machines you mentioned.

On the go, one can easily use all of them. I never use two finger typing (thumb typing). It is unergonomic and puts stress on the joints.

Instead, if you want to type on the move, just hold the device securely in one palm and then type with the dominant hand. I can type quite quickly in this manner since I can use all of my fingers instead of just two thumbs.
 
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