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The Astro Slide is a 5G PDA that runs Android 10 and Linux

Published Mar 30th, 2020 6:50AM EDT
Astro Slide 5G
Image: Indiegogo

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  • The Astro Slide 5G is a novel smartphone concept that can dual-boot Android and Linux and features a unique slide-out full QWERTY keyboard.
  • Thanks to a novel RockUp hinge, the Astro Slide 5G can be used as a tiny 6.53-inch laptop.
  • The PDA will be shipped to backers only in March 2021, assuming the Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign target is reached. Preorders for the PDA start at $546.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

If you’ve ever wanted to buy a large all-screen 5G smartphone that features a built-in, slide-out full QWERTY keyboard, now’s your chance. The Astro Slide 5G Transformer is the device in question, a 5G PDA that seems out of place in 2020. However, there’s clearly a market for this sort of product, as Planet Computers manufactured two similar gadgets in previous years, including the Cosmo Communicator and Gemini PDA. The Astro Slide 5G is the natural successor of that series of devices, embracing some of the features of its predecessors, complete with a series of notable upgrades.

First of all, the new Pocket Computers device rocks 5G out of the box, thanks to MediaTek’s latest flagship processor, the Dimensity 1000. The Astro Slide also comes with Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, and NFC connectivity.

Secondly, the full QWERTY keyboard has a novel “RockUp” hinge mechanism. You slide-out the backlit-keyboard entirely from underneath the screen to create a tiny laptop. If you’re into adding physical keyboards to smartphones, this is possibly the best compromise.

Image source: Indiegogo

Finally, the handset runs Android 10 out of the box, but it’ll be able to dual-boot Android and Linux in the future.

Other features include a 6.53-inch display, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, microSD support, 48-megapixel rear camera, 5-megapixel front-facing camera, dual-SIM support, eSIM support, fingerprint sensor, 3.5mm headphone jack, two USB-C ports, 4,000 mAh battery, and wireless charging.

It all sounds too good to be true, for this sort of device, and that’s where the bad news comes in. The Astro Slide 5G won’t be readily available. Instead, you’ll have to preorder one on Indiegogo and hope Planet Computers will be able to meet the March 2021 launch date. The company shipped its previous crowd-sourced projects, so it can be trusted. However, these aren’t usual times, and the coronavirus outbreak can always disrupt the development and manufacturing of this pocket computer.

Image source: Indiegogo

On the other hand, if you don’t mind getting a 2020 5G phone in about a year from now, and have $546 to spare, you should hurry and make your pledge. That’s the current early bird offer for the handset, which is expected to retail for $911 next year. Miss that, and you’d have to pay at least $637 for the Astro Slide 5G Transformer.

The good news here is that Pocket Computer already raised more than $171,000 out of the $200,000 goal, and has 40 days to reach its target. Fans of the company will probably make it happen soon, so the project is likely to be funded soon.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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