"The keyboard, while marginally improved, still takes getting used to."
Nicely done :)
The plucky little PDA that could is getting some upgrades. El Reg popped into Planet Computing's London office to get cosy with some of the new Gemini toys due to launch in the not-too-distant future. I spent some time earlier this month in the company of the Psion-inspired Gemini and came away impressed, but had a few …
I can confirm with my Gemini from the first charge a quite good and stable hinge, the mechanics and "standing" is comparable to my Psions 5MXPro but really less weight and size. I also have the luck with a good keyboard, only the space bar has to be pressed in its midst and sometimes prints two spaces.
A device, yes, but it's not a 'phone' as the Gemini is. The cellular iPads can't make normal phone calls, even with a valid SIM (either it's embedded SIM, a programmable Apple SIM or a normal SIM). Well, okay, the cellular iPad hardware is a 'phone' - and it can make emergency calls if needs be without a SIM as all other phones can - but iOS won't let it be a phone you can use normally.
What the iPad can do, voice-wise, is call other iOS owners using Facetime (or presumably WhatsApp et al). An iPad can also be used to make and take normal calls using an iPhone if it's on the same network. But it won't work as a phone in its own right - unless you need to make an emergency call.
I am still (eagerly) waiting for my Gemini to arrive, bought during the crowdfunding period. At that price, I'm sure it will be a fair price, even if, as a version 1 device, it might have a few niggles.
However, seeing the full retail price in cold black text does seem a little on the high side. Obviously Planet Computers have to recoup their initial costs, and sell enough Geminis, and make enough profit, for their to be an improved version 2 at some point, but although crowdfunded sale numbers are obviously very encouraging, I wonder whether the full retail price might be maybe just a little bit too high to sell many?
However, seeing the full retail price in cold black text does seem a little on the high side.
If they get the niggles* sorted then the price is fine for anyone who needs a notebook this small. Costs are automatically higher as soon as you enter the retail market but then you suddenly have a whole lot more people trying to sell the device.
* Apart from having to reset it if I reboot, my keyboard is fine as is the hinge but I find the sound to be unbearably hissy and tinny.
Agree with AC.
It's 600 sheets for something with multiple "niggles".
LOVE the concept, company seem great, but can't help thinking that *if* there is a large enough market, our friends in asia will knock out a far superior version at the same price point. For 600 i'd want a decent camera (I don't take many pictures, but that would drop to zero with a poor camera/no flash, and i'd want a keyboard with no issues.
600 quid would get me an unbelievable choice of either phones or laptops (one of each for some users!). agreed that there's nothing quite like this available, but then this isn't quite ready to be available either, IMHO.
I am past my sysadmin days. If it was still doing that it would have been an immediate buy.
I may still buy it if I have to start dealing with field demos once again. You cannot set-up a network without something which has keyboard, screen, Ethernet and for the worst offenders - serial.
It should be capable of recognizing a USB-C Ethernet and/or Serial dongles when running its Debian personality which is "exactly what the doctor ordered" for that use case.
It should be capable of recognizing a USB-C Ethernet
The "connectivity kit" comes with an USB-C dongle which includes an Ethernet port, though sadly not an HDMI connection but it looks like a standard USB-C dongle so hopefully drivers should be a bit easier to get than for the Mediatek SoC.
I just got a campaign update from the Vega+ lot saying the first batch of devices would ship in May. I’m very excited to receive mine, and no, I don’t want to buy a bridge.
“It is with enormous pride that we can confirm shipments of the first batch of ZX Vega+s.
Initial Shipments are scheduled between the 8th and 12th May 2018.”
Paris - because, why not?
I'll stick to my (tiny-like) Sony VAIO P running Linux, VOIP until I'm convinced Gemini is worth the price - which is crazy high by the way. An all aluminium-clad GPD Mini could also run linux, a little larger, sure, but small enough at about £200 less. The VAIO Ps can still be had on ebay for around £220, mine has inbuilt HSDPA and the keyboard is great, as is the screen. Mini USB (2 ports) camera if needed can be clipped on. Extended battery gives me 12 careful hours use, 5 full pelt. The only problem is that it's getting long in the tooth and various super-fine cable slithers displace very occasionally during travel jostles, requiring a quick disassemble and jiggle and poke. Plus the graphics chip can't play youtube videos terribly well, but the damn thing is there for work, not play.
The PSION 5MX would run for weeks on two AA batteries, had an exellent keyboard, was genuinely useful. How is this overcomplicated gizmo inspired by that exactly? They should have kept it simple with cellphone connectivity, black and white or coliur e-ink screen (so it could run for weeks), massive capacity battery or the ability to run off the swiftly swapped and ubiquitous AAs, a simple version of Linux and they should have focused on the productivity software. And a heck of a lot thinner, smaller, added a couple of micro usb ports for useful addon modules. And made it cheap!
I guess by having the same designer that did the 5MX, Martin Riddiford, do the magic on the new one.
And having the very same David Potter as honourary chairman.
And the same agenda app.
I'd say that they are doing OK with 5 active people.
I never used the original, and I also don't really want to buy this in its current form, but how exactly did you intend them to create a system like the one most of us want and have it run forever. I can build you a system like this that runs for a long time on convenient batteries. With some design help, it will be nice to look at, as my hardware design knowledge is flaky. The device will do next to nothing. A bit of typing, some calendar perhaps.
That's not what we want. We mostly want to run our applications on the Linux side, with all the requirements those have. The most important one is connectivity. Some people are fine with just WiFi, while others want the convenience of cellular, as they will be taking this with them most of the time. That takes a lot of power. From what I've seen online, the original psion devices had connectivity in physical ports that were almost certainly disconnected most of the time. Also, I assume it was a bit larger to account for the RS-232 port, but I've never seen one, so I could be wrong. We probably also want the screen to be better, as there is a lot more video and images about these days. Sometimes we do need that. The wikipedia article also states that it ran about 20 hours use on the batteries. I admit that's quite a lot, and that it probably had great performance when it was off for a while, but you could just turn it off if you don't want background tasks.
I would like to see a keyboard that doesn't get at best indifferent reviews, as I'd be using the thing for typing. Either the typing must be great or I must have my punctuation for coding and terminal use in semi-normal positions on physical keys. Having neither makes this a no-go for me. However, I have hope for the next addition, and I don't see why this is such a letdown for the many psion-owners here.
Because most of the market doesn't want black-and-white or E-ink or a massive capacity (and thus size) battery. Heck of a lot thinner and smaller? Really, on something that needs to be typed on AND with a larger battery AND with added micro USB ports? The intended audience wants enough screen real estate to get things done. You need at least a certain size for that. It seems you want a laptop the size of a small smartphone. At the very least you have very unrealistic expectation of the laws of physics or the size of electronic components.
I find it impressive they've managed to cram all the functionality they have now into as small a package as they have managed.
Hi El Reg!
What would be really useful are some sample photos taken on the rear facing camera add-on.
I'm a backer and very excited to get my Gemini some time May or June (especially as my LG G3 is starting to pack up). I'd like to see the focus of the camera add-on to see if it's worth getting. Some 5MP camera can't even take a decent photo of a receipt because they can't focus.
Pretty please? ;)
Thanks to some very speedy bandwagon jumping last year, I received my Gemini 2018-03-01. Given my jump was on 2017-02-27, it's been quite tough to suppress the schadenfreude when reading rants from people suffering the agony of a mere few months wait...
When plans for the camera add-on were announced, I didn't properly consider how much I would notice the absence of a camera.
The built-in "selfie" 5MP camera does a very good impression of a 2MP camera, thanks to a lens diameter about 0.5mm and a sensor worthy of a spy's stealthy camera.
My previous phone, a bargain Wileyfox Swift 2X, had a 16MP Samsung sensor which produced reasonably good photos. Prior to that I had a ZTE Blade S6 with a 13MP Sony Exmor IMX214 sensor, which replaced a Moto X 2014 (sadly drowned after only 9 months) having a 13MP Sony IMX135 sensor which received middling reviews for its photo quality.
The add-on camera's 5MP camera falls well short of those fitted to other "enthusiast" Android phones.
Even the Raspberry Pi Camera Module v2, released April 2016, has an 8MP Sony IMX219 sensor and only costs £26.
£40 is too much for a 5MP camera module.
Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019