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CES 2018: Planet Computers’ ‘Gemini’ PDA Channels Spirit Of Psion

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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UK startup Planet Computers wants to bring the physical keyboard back to the mobile device with the Gemini

Planet Computers is hoping to resurrect the PDA with the Gemini – a keyboard-based mobile device that owes much of its functionality and design to the Psion organiser.

The Gemini was shown off at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas and is touted as the ideal productivity device for those unconvinced by modern touch screen form factors.

The London-based mobile device startup says touchscreen keyboards can take up as much as half the readable display, making it difficult to edit documents or properly deal with email.

Tales in Tech History: The Psion Organiser

Planet Computers Gemini PDA

Planet Computers Gemini PDA

It adds that the Gemini’s tactile keyboard and clamshell design alleviate this problem without sacrificing portability.

The 400g Android device has a 5.7-inch display, a 10-core 2.6GHz MediaTek processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage which can be supplemented through a MicroSD card slot.

The unit has dual USB-C connectors for connections to accessories such as external displays and chargers and comes in Wi-Fi-only or Wi-Fi & LTE variants along with the option to dual boot in Linux.

In a sign that the Gemini is being firmly pitched to professionals, there is just a 5 megapixel front-facing camera for video conversations and no rear lens at all. However Planet Computers says it is working on an external camera module from backers on IndieGogo.

Indeed, the crowdfunding platform is the only place to purchase the device, which starts at $399, and production is expected to start this month. The retail version will cost $200 more, according to Planet Computers.

The orginal Psion Organiser was made by the British firm of the same name but the rise of the smartphone saw it withdraw from the PDA market in late 2001. In 2012, Motorola purchased Psion for $200 million.