There’s nothing quite like the Gemini PDA in the market today, but that’s probably because it was assumed that the market window for a pocket computer in this form factor has long since passed. You can think of the Nokia E90 Communicator, the Dell Axim PDAs, and the HTC Wizard as the heyday devices for this type of device. But Planet Computers thinks that the PDA isn’t quite done yet, so they brought it back with the Gemini PDA.
Initially the Gemini PDA came out with a dual-boot option. That is, you can stick with the stock Android software (Nougat), or boot it with a Debian build of the Linux operating system. But now, Planet Computers is announcing the rollout of the quad-boot capabilities of the Gemini PDA. You can now choose from four operating systems to use – Android (rooted or unrooted) and Debian Linux are the first two, and you can now add Sailfish OS 2.1 Community Edition, plus the upcoming Sailfish X OS coming out by end of the year.
If you are not familiar with Sailfish OS, this is the operating system designed by Jolla as an alternative to Android. It is still based on Linux and has some elements from Android, but still totally separate and different from Google’s mobile ecosystem. Jolla is one of the companies that sprung up from the demise of the old Finnish tech giant Nokia.
The relative success of the Gemini PDA is probably based on the fresh form factor – because we rarely see physical keyboards on mobile devices these days. Since Gemini has a full-fledged keyboard, it appeals as a mobile work device for people on-the-go. Truth be told, working with documents on a touchscreen device is very much a hassle for most people – we would rather have a keyboard to work with, and the Gemini PDA provides that.
For all of the retro fetish going around, the Gemini PDA will still be bought for its features. This is a phone (the 4G version) and a pocket workstation, and for that, the keyboard is its most viable feature. Other specs include a Helio X27 deca-core processor, ably supported by 4GB RAM and a Mali-T880 graphics chip. You have 64GB internal storage which is expandable via microSD. The battery is ample at 4,220mAh, and you have a 5MP front-facing camera should you need to video conference on the go.
After the successful crowdfunding campaign, the Gemini PDA is now available via the Planet Computers website for around USD$600 for the 4G variant, while the WiFi-only variant will go for 100 dollars less.