I’ve always had a thing for smartphones with a physical keyboard. The first phones I really used were the Sony Xperia mini pro, which was surprisingly good to type on, and a Motorola Milestone 2 (aka Droid 2 global). I also own a Nokia N900 and a Motorola Milestone 4, since I know at least some Linux mainline work is done for those. Plus I have some unfinished business with my Gemini PDA.
I tried a display-only phone after that, since I needed a new phone so I can play Ingress, which didn’t really perform on the Droid 2.
The opportunity arose to get a good prize on a Nexus 4. It was a good phone, but I just couldn’t type on the display. I tried many different types of on-screen-keyboards, but none of them worked for me. It was a pain.
I used it anyways until it has served its time, and I was looking for a new one. I was a little excited around that time since what’s now Nokia announced a new Android phone that would bring some classic design features back and really be a trademark of old Nokia.
I was thinking Nokia Communicator. They were thinking god knows what.
Anyways, since the lack of alternatives around, I got myself a Blackberry KeyOne, despite it’s lack of rootability (so no LineageOS support). It already has an even neater looking successor, but it still serves me well. It probably still will for a few more years.
But now a young company called F(x)tec has announced a new slider phone, which basically is what I was looking for when I bought the KeyOne.
To the point
The F(x)tex Pro¹ is a phone with an angled slide-out keyboard, similar to the later Nokia ones. It features a full QWERTY keyboard with a tabulator key and everything. It also features two SIM card slots, and I can’t really spot anything that would be missing for me. It would have been a great candidate for becoming my next smartphone after the KeyOne has done its service. It is expected to ship in July 2019.
It’s funny also that it’s made by another UK-based company, just like Planet Computers. It seems the niche of portable mini computers and smartphones focused on producivity is being accepted better in the smartphone market lately, and blessed with a little bit of success as well. I’m glad to see that, since I’m definitely part of the target audience here.
At this time though, I don’t really want to own another Android phone again—ever. I’m really looking forward to the ongoing development of the Purism Librem 5 and I’m hoping for a hardware keyboard variant of it by the time my KeyOne is done. I really sick of basically running a device owned by another company and want actual control over it, and just throw things off there that I don’t like.