It’s not often that we see successful crowd-funding campaigns for smartphones. Planet Computers’ Gemini PDA is one example of a successful Indiegogo campaign, although it’s technically not a smartphone but rather a clamshell mobile device with a fully integrated hardware keyboard. The device has garnered a lot of attention from enthusiasts because it aims to revive the PDA concept but with the ability to dual boot modern operating systems such as Android and a GNU/Linux distribution. We have already seen an unofficial TWRP port for the device, and now an unofficial port of LineageOS 14.1 is now available.
This unofficial build was made by XDA Recognized Contributor deadman96385 and it is based on Android 7.1 Nougat. Most hardware is functional except for the GPS, FM radio, and cellular radio. The built-in camera doesn’t work, but the developer reports that any third party camera app should work just fine.
Unfortunately, the lack of cellular radio capability means the ROM isn’t suitable if you intend to use your device as your primary phone—at least not yet. deadman96385 informed us that he should be receiving his own test device soon, and he estimates that FM radio, cellular radio, and encryption may be fixed by next week. However, development isn’t miracle work, so please be patient as the developer works on fixing each of these issues.
It’s interesting to see such development be done for such a niche device. We typically focus on devices from the bigger brands here such as Google, Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, and OnePlus. I’m not too sure that the PDA is coming back anytime soon, but the successful crowd-funding initiative by Planet Computers shows that there’s still a market for these kinds of devices.
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