TECH

The Astro Slide 5G is on its way with a full physical keyboard and Android 11

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Planet Computers today announced an update to the specs of the Astro Slide 5G, an upcoming crowdfunded Android phone that touts itself as a mobile computer.

The Slide’s main claims to fame are its dual-booting (between Android and Linux) and the full-slider keyboard. None of that’s changing, but the company has spent the last year bulking up the fundamentals, and it’s ready to share a lot more today.

The dual-booting and slider-form-factor will remain, but the Slider will now ship with Android 11 as opposed to Android 10. At a time where more robustly funded smartphone makers like OnePlus and Motorola choose to ship with the older operating system, the team deserves some props for that. The MediaTek 1000-series SOC will sadly not remain. It was no Snapdragon 888, but there’s a lot more confidence in them now with phones like the LG Velvet embracing MediaTek over Qualcomm. In its place will be a weaker 800-series chip. It’ll be comparable to the Snapdragon 765, and the Slide gets to keep its 5G and power-savings update, but it’s a tad disappointing.

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The RAM and cameras are being updated as well, with the 5MP selfie camera being dropped for a more powerful 13MP one, though the 48MP rear camera remains the same. It’ll now have 8GB of RAM to match powerful flagships as opposed to the 6GB it was announced with. As already stated, there’s 5G present. Since it’s 2021, it’s going to be a lot more useful than 5G was in 2020 when it was still a nascent technology.

While the best Android phones in 2021 remain glass slabs with more cameras than most people have fingers on one hand, some still pine for the old days of phones with physical keyboards. It’s not commercially viable for most companies, as BlackBerry found out. That’s where sites like IndieGogo and Kickstarter come in to provide a space for enthusiasts to support niche products such as this.

The Slide remains set to ship in summer 2021.

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