February 28, 2019 at 10:14 pm #6343
One thing which is not clear for me in specifications – what GNSS (GPS / GLONASS / Galileo / BeiDou) systems are supported?
Anyway, if you could share what model of sensors are in the device would be also good (like the GNSS / Accelerometer / Magnetometer / Gyroscope sensors).March 1, 2019 at 9:08 am #6592
Will it be possible to root the phone?March 1, 2019 at 2:05 pm #6696March 1, 2019 at 4:36 pm #6767
Will the Pro1 be supported by Google’s ARCore? This less a question of the hardware supporting it rather than apparently Google whitelisting each device after a certification, which worries me a bit with niche devices. Not a deal break either way, but I thought it would be nice to play around with it sometimes.March 1, 2019 at 6:23 pm #6805
The blog about the screen states: “We also chose a curved-edge screen to match the shape & contours of the main body. It’s important the device looks slick & feels comfortable at the same time!”
The website homepage and video states: “Function is key”
The whole point of this phone should be function. A curved edge screen is not a functional feature. It is a liability. A keyboard phone isn’t going to convince all the iPhone (and similar) users of the world to buy it. It is for people who have used a keyboard phone in the past and understand how it is functionally better than virtual keyboard. Looking “slick” is not what your target market cares about. They care about one thing above all else, which is to have a physical keyboard on their phone.
This phone won’t have a big enough market for 3rd party vendors to create accessories for it. With a flat screen, it may have been possible for people to mold their own case or 3D print a case to fit the screen portion. But with a curved screen that probably isn’t possible and is doubly bad, because a curved screen is more prone to being damaged in the first place.
The screen is too large, as others have stated, but that can be forgiven in trying to find a compromise, given that there will be only on model produced versus other manufacturers producing small, medium and large to cater to users who prefer different sizes. A curved screen, however, is simply a bad design decision for multiple reasons. You have to ask yourself, will my target market not buy this phone if it comes with a flat screen? Highly doubtful. Will my target market not buy this phone if it comes with a curved screen? Yes, in some cases, that will cause people not to buy it.
6 GB RAM, SD card slot, 128 GB storage, vanilla Android, USB-C, many cellular bands. All great. All functional. 5 row, staggered (important), backlit (important) keyboard. Wonderful. Very functional.
Sell a case, or at least provide the 3D model files for the phone so that people can print their own or use a 3rd party 3D print vendor to print one for them, and you’ll make your customers happier.
If you change to a flat screen for the next version, you’ll sell more phones.March 1, 2019 at 7:51 pm #6847
I really second the curved screen issue!
Maybe there is still time and a possibility to change that. At least put a decent case/bumper to the phone.March 1, 2019 at 11:31 pm #6902
I also don’t get that curved screen stuff. I have a note 8, and I hate the curved screen, especially, when you use the pen to write notes, the screen is to small to write on it, the edges make it even smaller and worse. I also had a glass screen protector on it, and after a few days it came loose in the curved edge, when I tried to reapply the glass cover it broke. While I was waiting for a new cover I got already two bad scratches in the screen.
Who needs a curved screen, its just a gimmick.
I loved the screen of my Note3 which was flat and wide enough for a pen. Also the screen of my N97 was awesome, the screen was fully readable (Monochrome) in direct sunlight.
If I would have the choice, I would love to see
– Qi (Wireless Charging)
– Removable Battery (Its ok if it works as in the Moto Droid4, screw + glue)
– More battery power 4000mah
– Dual Sim + MicroSD ( not shared)
– USB-C on both sides of the phone. (HDMI, Charging, USB-Drive, …)
– Low price version 399 Euro ( 32 GB / 4 GB)
Anyway the rendering and photos show an awesome device, with the background of unlockable bootloader and “community” support, it will be just awesome. But not for mMarch 2, 2019 at 1:33 am #6927
David, Florian and others. Personally an edges screen or not is not a big issue.
As I see it, it is already quite wide (as wide as the Samsung S8+/S9+ phablets, and if we should have any practically protective bezels, it should be even wider, or with reduced display. Both of which I believe would scare of more users than the edge design. Since there seem to be this silly fashion that phablets go bigger and bigger all the time.
Personally I already ordered some tempered glass protectors for the longer S8+ and S9+ (one is 0.2mm less wide, one is 0.2mm wider) and hope it got the same curvature, so I will only need to cut in one or both ends with a glass cutter to have it fit.
Anyway the glass part is clearly edged lengthwise only, so it will be fairly easy to cut a simple flat protective film. Again my guess is those for the S8+/S9+ will be a good starting point.
But of course we will not know for sure yet..March 5, 2019 at 1:10 am #7576
I disagree. People for whom screen size is a main consideration aren’t going to buy this phone because it has a larger screen. The target market of this phone is people who want physical keyboards. I believe there is an overlap of people who want physical keyboards and people who do not want extra large screens. A smaller screen is more functional, because it can be transported easier and held easier for typing.
The answer to bezels making the phone wider is to use a less wide screen. People who want bigger screens can buy a tablet or another phablet phone. People who want a physical, horizontal keyboard slider have no other options.
Regular users don’t want to cut glass screen protectors made for other phones. I agree that cutting a protective film to provide scratch resistance should be doable for most people. However, without a bezel, those are going to peel off VERY quickly. Another reason for a bezel phone.
But as it pertains to dropping the phone on a corner, the first line of defense should always be a case. Non-keyboard phones without curved edges have the ability to have a case that extends above the plane of the screen to protect it when dropped. No such protection exists when the screen can be moved away from the bottom part of the phone (as in the Pro 1) and with a small market phone for which there may not be 3rd party cases created. A bezel may protect a slider’s screen from being broken.
As Florian said, a curved screen is a gimmick. It isn’t functional. It is about style over function. Protecting this phone is even more important than protecting a mass market phone. Many buyers are still holding onto outdated keyboard phones and have protected them for years, because they can’t just buy a newer model phone if it breaks (because there are no other similar keyboard phones being made). This phone probably won’t sell in large enough numbers for phone repair shops to support replacing the screen (and will f(x)tech supply them with replacement screens even if they want to?).
People who fear breaking the screen on their phone will *reluctantly* purchase the Pro 1 and some will not do so out of this fear. Those who do buy it and break the screen are not going to be happy customers and those reports will deter other non-early adopters from making a purchase later. A non-bezel screen on a phone where the screen moves away from the body of the phone *should* have been a mutually exclusive situation.
Curved screen or not, I hope the company will provide 3D model files for the phone so that buyers can use 3D printing services that print phone cases. It would cost very little for the company to provide these files and there could be some provided with taller edges at the top and bottom of the phone to provide extra protection if the phone is dropped. Since the scree pivots instead of sliding, it might even be possible to provide a design that allows for taller edges on the long sides of the phone to protect those edges as well. It wouldn’t even increase the thickness of the phone, since the edges just need to be taller than the bottom edge of the curved screen, which is lower than the flat part of the screen. The key is protecting the corners, however.March 5, 2019 at 1:18 am #7578
I agree. A removable battery is another huge consideration. The batteries often only last a couple years. Keeping a rare, keyboard phone functioning for a long period of time requires being able to replace the battery *somehow*. I’m guessing this will involve a special procedure and a lot of risk for this phone, but when the battery goes, people will have to start resorting to risky options.
Until the industry wakes up and provides the type of modularity that made IBM PCs and clones so successful (and less wasteful), we need phones that we can keep alive for a long time. Google never should have cancelled Project Ara. That was the worst thing that could have happened for consumers in the mobile device market.March 5, 2019 at 1:31 am #7580
As for me I am happy if the battery can be replaced without dealing with adhesives all over the place, and i do agree rounded screen is not ideal but it does look nice… I’m sold either way.March 5, 2019 at 9:14 am #7628
Well I’m with netman here. I would take almost any physical version of the device to get a real landscape keyboard slider.
I’m in no way in love with the edge design, as mentioned very early on, I too would have preferred the whole thing reduced.
But I’m quite sure they have taken long and thorough considerations on what size and design to go for. I mean I’m sure a simple flat screen is still cheaper so if they believed that is what people want, they would have gone for that.
By going this big, the keys are 10mm apart so some people with fine fingers could even do full ten-finger typing on it on a table! I know a friend of mine that is texting a LOT and she would be an obvious candidate here…
Sure it is far from optimal to fiddle with cutting screen protectors, and I of course hope there will be one for the device. My point was that there might be tolerable workarounds for creating one our selves, if a native one is not offered.
To want a different design is a bit like looking for a phone sized highly speced device, here there are currently only TWO options, and only one available outside Japan. So there are no room for being picky either.
But YES I agree that there is an overlap of users that want both a compact device and a device with Qwerty – old people like me is in it – but I doubt it is the majority of either group. And so did the developers obviously.
But if the Pro¹ hopefully gets a huge success (the press reaction have been really nice what I have seen so far), who is to say if there will be a compact version also later on?March 6, 2019 at 12:49 am #7778
I just now discovered this, and I’d like to add my voice to the discussion. I believe I am well within the target market of this phone, and I’m strongly considering ordering one.
Thank everything holy someone decided to bring landscape physical keyboards back. This will be a massive improvement, I HATE typing on touch screens, text entry via touch screen is just a bafflingly stupid engineering concept that I’ll never live long enough to forgive Steve Jobs for. In the movie Die Hard, John McClain dismissed a touch screen as a “cute toy.” He’s RIGHT.
I’m in favor of a 5-inch class phone, for a few reasons:
1. Those who are interested in video consumption and photography are WELL served by every single mainstream phone on the market.
2. Those who primarily use text (sms, email, slack, etc) basically haven’t been served since 2012 or so.
3. Those who have clung to physical keyboard phones and really want a new one are probably using 4-inch class devices with large bezels. modern 5 inch phone with modern narrow bezels would still be portable yet would still make for a significant increase in screen size for the target market.
4. I’ve heard three excuses for increasing phone size:
a. Think of the poor starving Africans who can only afford a phone, we’d better discontinue everything below 6 inches.
b. Well you keep insisting we make it thinner, so if it didn’t get wider where would we put the battery?
c. Now that we’ve done away with physical keyboards, the onscreen keyboard takes up a lot more space so we HAVE to make the screen larger.
All three of these specifically don’t apply to this phone, especially the third one. With a physical landscape keyboard, all the screen real estate is available for viewing the app, none taken up with user input. Effectively, for users who heavily use text input, a 5 inch phone will be more than equivalent in usability to a 6 inch phone.
5. A 5 inch phone will be dramatically more portable, it will fit in more pockets, especially given the additional thickness of a two-layer phone.
6. I’m actually concerned about the ergonomics of thumb typing on such a large keyboard, It’s a long way to reach your thumbs to the center of that keyboard.
I realize the Pro1 is late in development, so changes to hardware are very unlikely. I learned about this project via a preview on Youtube. My hopes are this phone is a solid enough success with the underserved “we want a keyboard” market, enough that a future Pro2 could (exist, and) be available in two sizes.
If anything, a 6 inch keyboard tempts you to add too many keys. You could save some space (and I would hope, cost) by eliminating two columns of special character keys and instead putting them as alternate symbols on the letter keys. I’m comparing my old 4″ class phones (LG EnV2, Ally and Enlighten) to a Rii i8 keyboard. The 4-row phones do feel slightly cramped and strange with the space bar either split and on either side or crammed between the bottom row, along with awkward inclusion of the arrow keys. On the other hand the Rii feels too large, it feels slow and cumbersome to keep reaching for the spacebar. I think a 5-inch phone would be a better compromise.
Though, I have to imagine that choice was really made for you, probably just buying a screen off the shelf from Samsung. That’s what they’ve got now that sub-6 inch are illegal, so you’ve got to go with what they’ve got. It’s a slightly boutique product, so you’re not going to sell enough to tool up a custom run of screens.
I’m not so sure about the angled screen. I’ve always had just straight sliders, and I think for the task of holding the phone in your hands and thumb typing, having the screen parallel to the keyboard is the appropriate angle, though I’d like to handle the device before passing final judgement. I’m also wondering which mechanism allows the keyboard to emerge farther, a simple slide, or this dogbone hinge arrangement? ie which one reveals more of the inner side of the phone?
I’m one of those who is not interested in a curved screen. I haven’t seen any evidence that it improves the usability or functionality of the device, while making it less durable, more difficult to encase or protect, and harder to handle. It’s following trends because they’re trendy.
I really appreciate the presence of a camera shutter button, expandable storage, and a headphone jack. Those are welcome additions.
I would like to see support for non-Android OSes, Sailfish or even just straight-up GNU/Linux, though side loading F-Droid would be sufficient for me.
As for cases: I wonder if dbrand could be persuaded to make a skin for it? I carry my phone in a pocket, I’m not interested in holsters or clips, just some basic anti-scratching. I’m not too worried about drops and such. My current phone is a Galaxy S4 mini I’ve carried since 2013, it has Gorilla Glass 2, no case, no screen protector, and the glass is pristine. I’ve never broken a phone screen, and they’ve only gotten more durable since.
Overall, it’s likely you’ll have a customer.March 6, 2019 at 1:46 am #7786
Well abowers, I’m with you part of the way. But the thought of removing columns of keys gets a big NO from me or we would end up with a keyboard only really suited for countries with alphabets limited to A-Z. The 14 columns are one of the long awaited things with the Pro¹, as is the fifth row for numbers.. So I hope any future more compact version would keep the overall keyboard design, but ‘just’ shrink everything 8:9
The limitation by the size as I see it is primarily the one handed operation in portrait, but there are possible software-tricks that might help here, that I hope they’ll implement, to help those of us that haven’t got huge hands, but still want one handed operation with a secure grip.March 6, 2019 at 3:33 am #7795
abowers – Well put!
That’s what they’ve got now that sub-6 inch are illegal…
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