Slide out keyboard discussion thread
#1
The design for the official Pinephone keyboard is set to resemble that of Psion which will make room for a relatively large keyboard. The typing experience will most likely be excellent considering the size. I am very thankful that Pine64 is planning a keyboard for the Pinephone!

That said, some users was maybe picturing a slide out keyboard similar to Nokia N900 or early Droid phones which would make typing on the go with your thumbs more comfortable. One other aspect is the ability to see and use the screen and notification led while the keyboard is tucked away. 

So, the question is if there is demand for a slide out keyboard (and if someone can make one)? In this thread we can discuss how a slide out keyboard could be designed and also get a feel for the demand.

I will start with a picture of a cheap BT keyboard for a iPhone, which resembles what I personally had in mind.

[Image: 31xanPKB6DL.jpg]

Thoughts:
-If there is no hole in the keyboard for the camera, then you would have to slide out the keyboard every time you wanted to take a picture. 
-The weight of the phone is far greater than that of the keyboard. This could make for an unpleasant typing experience and would also put extra stress on the slide out mechanism. Adding for example a extra battery in the keyboard part would counter this, but would ad to total thickness.
-The keyboard area would be much smaller than that of a Psion design, so one would have to really think through what keys to include. A quick look at the Fxtec Pro 1 can help with desiding since they have put a lot of thought in to the matter already. A software bar at the bottom of the screen is also possible but would take time to develop.
-Is dedicated gaming buttons something to consider? Look at GPD Win and Dragonbox Pyra for inspiration.
-The N900 had a kickstand that was excellent when viewing videos and the N7 and Fxtec Pro 1 tilts the screen when using the keyboard. I have seen keyboards similar to the one in the picture above that has a hinge, but I suspect it might make the design less sturdy and there is also the problem with weight distribution.

Please share your thought and keep it friendly and constructive Smile


Attached Files
.jpg   31xanPKB6DL.jpg (Size: 13.77 KB / Downloads: 1,017)
"- is there already a tool for overclocking it desperately?" 
#2
When thumb typing on the psion 5 the weight was towards the back, but not uncomfortable, so I don't see that being a problem. Adding a battery to the keyboard will change the balance for the user, but won't change the stress on the slide mechanism.

I'm more interested in a psion-size keyboard that I can type on, but the clamshell arrangement looks like it'll get in the way of using the phone as a phone too much. I have some pondering to do regarding mechanisms.
#3
For me, this type of keyboard seems to be better anyway.

It is much better to see the screen in collapsed keyboard than to turn around the device to open and close the keyboard every time I would like to use it.
The lack of camera hole is not a problem compared to the folding keyboard as both methods have to be used with keyboard opened. :-)

I would be most convenienced with a similar keyboard you included in your post anyway.

However, I am also a pre-orderer of Pro1 because I like their concept but also a pre-orderer here because I also like this project but a Linux phone is definitively need some sort of keyboard so I would buy it even if this or the other design will be the final decision, but I prefer this one over the other.

Edit: notification LED can also be put into the back of a foldable design though it also need some programming as part of an I2C device
#4
I might get both this and the psion-keyboard. I think it would make sense to try to make the keyboard as good as possible for typing (meaning: no game controllers) and have all the buttons needed for terminal use. For me it's not a problem that it covers the camera.
#5
(12-12-2019, 09:41 AM)undo Wrote: I might get both this and the psion-keyboard. I think it would make sense to try to make the keyboard as good as possible for typing (meaning: no game controllers) and have all the buttons needed for terminal use. For me it's not a problem that it covers the camera.

Maybe I would also buy both of them but it may depend on their price. However, I would buy at least one of them. Smile

Yes, a keyboard close to normal US layout would be good which has the necessary buttons for terminal use.

The camera is also not a problem for me.
#6
I think I prefer psion style because the keyboard protect the display and because I don't need keyboard for sporadical use so I prefer a keyboard more big.
For opening mechanism, perhaps that of the slide is more complex but in the end I think depends only on the quality of construction (and there is no problem with front closure).
#7
(12-12-2019, 03:22 PM)vinnie Wrote: I think I prefer psion style because the keyboard protect the display and because I don't need keyboard for sporadical use so I prefer a keyboard more big.
For opening mechanism, perhaps that of the slide is more complex but in the end I think depends only on the quality of construction (and there is no problem with front closure).

For protection, a tempered glass film protector or some other protection foil may be enough.

The psion style keyboard has a disadvantage of hiding the display when keyboard is in place which means you don't see who is calling and if you can pick up the phone somehow then you may not hear the other party well as it also covers the speaker. Maybe microphone is a smaller problem but it depends on the location.
...so most likely the keyboard should be open while calling which makes it inconvenient to have calls with the phone... and I2C is not suitable to handle a speaker or microphone.

On the other hand, when the keyboard is behind the phone, it may affect radio reception more than the folding version - but it also depends on the material and placement of some components...
#8
I loved my original T-Mobile HTC G1 (the first Android phone). I got it just as I started Linux sysadmin work and, with the keyboard layout and function keys I was able to do 100% of the things I needed to on it. I still think it's the best slide-out keyboard I've ever used on a phone (I didn't have an N900 or N910, so can't compare).

Given that the HTC G1 was tiny in comparison to today's larger phones, I guess we have more space to play with when designing a layout. While not 100% necessary, the trackball mouse was a cool feature too :-P

Depending on how easy it is to swap the keyboard covers, I'll probably go with both a Psion-style one and a sliding one. If I can quickly switch to the Psion one without having to reboot the phone then it won't be too much of a hassle.
#9
Looking at the .stp of the Pinephone backcover I am brutally reminded that designing and manufacturing a slide out keyboard will not be easy, cheap or fast. After school I worked as a mold maker for a couple of years and from that experience I can say that the mold(s) required will be pretty advanced, at least far more advanced than I would be able to whip up on my free time. 

[Image: MeGnBRD.png]

But lets keep the discussion going, lets focus on features and worry about who will design, manufacture and pay for the keyboard later  Big Grin
"- is there already a tool for overclocking it desperately?" 
#10
(12-13-2019, 12:53 AM)murak Wrote: But lets keep the discussion going, lets focus on features and worry about who will design, manufacture and pay for the keyboard later  Big Grin

That's the spirit!

Can you elaborate what makes it so hard? (I don't have any experience with anything like this)


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