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Gemini PDA is a crazy dual-booting hybrid with a mechanical keyboard

There are two kinds of phone nerds in the world today — those old enough to remember lusting after PDAs so you could have a computer with you at all times, and people who weren't alive before Wi-Fi existed everywhere. For the PDA folks out there, this is a throwback you're going to want to see for yourself. It's a pocketable clamshell PDA that dual-boots Android, but you can also close the lid and use this thing like a phone.

It's called the Gemini PDA (opens in new tab), and while that name may sound familiar to some there's a whole lot more than nostalgia at play here.

What you're looking at here is a 6-inch 18:9 screen at 2160×1440 resolution with some padding on the sides to make room for that "full" keyboard. Most people are going to be a little cramped on a keyboard that size, but it's a proper mechanical keyboard which is impressive. This 320g clamshell dual-boots Android and Linux, with a special Deca Core processor with 4GB of RAM and 64gb of onboard storage. With the 4220mAh battery powering this experience and two USB-C ports, it seems on paper like you could really have some fun.

The big thing missing from this experience, if you're a modern phone nerd, is a camera.

The big thing missing from this experience, if you're a modern phone nerd, is a camera. If you want something other than the 5MP camera on the inside of the PDA, you have to pay for an accessory you connect to your Gemini. Given the current state of excellence we have with smartphone cameras, there's a good chance that accessory will not be worth your time or money.

Gemini comes in two flavors, Wi-Fi only and 4G LTE. If you choose the 4G model, you can use this machine as your phone full time. Not only does it run all Android apps, there's a special voice mode where you can close the clamshell and hold the PDA up to your face like a phone to talk. You don't have access to the screen in this mode, and this is clearly a little larger than your average phone, but if your goal is that all-in-one experience Gemini seems prepared to offer you an alternative to what you have now.

Gemini is currently available on IndieGoGo for $399, where the company's original campaign has already pulled in more than 250% of the original goal.

Russell is a Contributing Editor at Android Central. He's a former server admin who has been using Android since the HTC G1, and quite literally wrote the book on Android tablets. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Find him on Facebook and Twitter

22 Comments
  • I'm not old! *Surreptitiously nudges Palm Tungsten T3 off desk* If I think this is a bit stupid, why do I want one so much... Kind of reminds me of an updated Psion 5mx... Which I've never heard of, cause I'm not old... Um... Bro!
  • I'm 27 years old. I have longed for a product like this for over a decade. But I know better than to believe in something like this ever serving me well. I'll take a Chromebook with a full-size keyboard and a good Android phone any day. Music knows the Chromebook will get updates more frequently and far longer than the Gemini.
  • I'm 26 (okay, 27 next month) and I've longed for a product like this since I stopped using my Droid 3 and moved up to a Galaxy Nexus. But I'm in the same boat... If the day comes for this kind of product, it will be with Google backing it and the ability to seamlessly switch between ChromeOS and Android (without really paying attention to what is what). Until that happens, I don't see it really working well enough or long enough for my liking. Basically, if Google does Dex, but does it right (no proprietary docks, wireless connection to your desk/lap screen with bluetooth keyboard/mouse), I could see something like this actually working like I'd want. And... I'm not sure it'll happen, but that seems totally plausible in a few years.
  • Woo that's really needed to get a non proprietary Dex type experience is a Thunderbolt port... The docks and such already exist for laptops.
  • True. DisplayLink has been working well for me from my Chromebook Plus, too (toyed with the docking stations at work), so there are definitely ways to do it. Just a matter of balancing all of that into a small phone form factor, and supporting it on the OS level. I do think there's some serious improvement needed from Android for a desktop UI, that's why I figure ChromeOS would be a smooth solution. I really feel like the Pixel 3 or Pixel 4 could come with ChromeOS running on it instead of Android, just with a phone-sytle UI and Android app compatibility. I mean... The parts are all lining up, why not? Pretty likely we'll see a Qualcomm Chromebook this year, ARM works well, Android apps are functional... It's not as big of a stretch as it was even a year ago. Keeping my fingers crossed for that day. I also had hopes for Project Ara (though that was certainly more difficult to pull off, given the hardware side of things), and I actually liked Google Wave (admittedly Google Docs has far surpassed it since). It might not happen. I'm just ready if it does.
  • To be fair, I'm "only" 34 lol. But yeah, with how portable modern laptops are and how powerful modern phones are it's hard to think of a real use case for something like this... Especially over something like the Droidbox GPD pocket... That's not a phone, but I can say from experience that using something like this as a phone is at best terrible. You're also dead on about updates, I wouldn't be surprised if this never got one. Only real reason to get it is because it's cool :p Btw, I like that music is your God... It's existence is easily provable, and it actually makes the world a better place!
  • The Gemini is a pocket size device with apps and keyboard functions customised for business productivity. A niche device but needed by those of us who need a lot of data entry on the move.
  • Lost me at IndieGoGo.
  • Awww, this reminds me of my old HP Jornada 680 and NEC MobilePro 900.
  • I still have my HP Jornada. I was a PDA junkie back in the day. Sure wish I could get some use out of it by rooting it somehow and installing a good OS.
  • Interesting. I have a bluetooth keyboard cover for my tablet and its pretty useful so I see the appeal for this but that screen is too small. You'll obviously use this on landscape mode and a 4:3 aspect ratio would have been a perfect balance for if you're aiming for this to be pocketable but still usable. 6" with 2:1 on landscape is just too short.
  • But........does it let you play Pokémon go?
  • OG Moto Droid. And that's where my Android addiction began hehe
  • I had an old Psion back in the day and loved it. The quality of the keyboard made it possible to type on quite well. I would like to see Moto bring out a keyboard mod like this. However, I have a foldable keyboard, and Bluetooth mouse that I can use with any android phone that probably serves me as well as this would. If it hits the UK at £250 I would be tempted.
  • There was an Indiegogo for a Moto Mod keyboard, and it passed its funding round. I believe they've hit some roadblocks that slowed down production, but we might see it come out sometime this year (yet, if Moto stops mod compatibility after this year, the point is kinda moot...)
    If you're interested, here's the campaign page: indiegogo.com/projects/keyboard-mod-a-physical-keyboard-for-the-moto-z#
  • That does look a lot like the Psion. Never got one of those, was rocking a Sharp Zaurus instead.
  • I read that one of the Psion HW designers is involved with this product. It slides open differently from 5mx, but otherwise looks a lot like it (although I liked the Psion Series 3 better).
  • I had Psions starting with the 3c. This looks like a 5mx without the slylus (fail 1).
    You have no access to a numeric pad if you use it as a phone, so no ringing businesses where you have to select options (fail 2)
    2:1 screen (fail 3)
    Cannot be used in the same way as a smartphone. The screen neither folds back nor over the keyboard. It doesn't even fold flat. Is it even touch? (fail 4)
    Bezels at either side of the screen - but not stereo disgusts there (fail 5)
    Mmm... I guess I'll not be buying one.
  • i think you're going a little too fast in some areas ... this little silly toy's screen IS touch, meaning it can also be used with some kind of a pen or stylus just as well ...
    (that removes at least 2 of the fails you have listed here!) it's used as a phone when fully closed (and can be used as such when held in any direction because it has mic and speaker on either side btw!) but yes, apparently to use it as a phone, user doesn't have access to any kind of physical or virtual on-screen keyboards, but maybe the designers have thought of some solutions for that too!? "not stereo disgusts" ?!? and it's just a prototype! it may NEVER be manufactured ...
  • Hah! All these references to Psions and NEC Mobile Pro .. what about the Nokia 9000 from 1997 with fax capability! :- ) or the HTC TyTN running Windows Mobile and with a 65k colour touchscreen and all the usual Office apps! I remember my MD at the time constantly bringing me the 9000 when it forgot it's email settings - about once a week - but thinking the TyTN was really ahead of the game at the time. I managed the company's mobile devices at the time and chose the TyTN over the Blackberry devices being rolled out. It would still integrate with Blackberry Enterprise Server but offered increased functionality.
  • Just to clarify, this thing does NOT have a mechanical keyboard. It's just a PHYSICAL qwerty keyboard.
  • kinda strange some people are comparing this almost totally new device with its 'ancestors' from the same or other companies!
    this is just a prototype, and it may never be mass produced, so, please KEEP CALM and just enjoy the idea for now! :-)