psion like keyboard discussion
#21
At this point, for those like me who didn't know these "psion", I would like to suggest this video where this device is shown.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nEBnDB79XA

I have to say that in terms of design it's really nice, now the specs are really old, but everything else seems better than today's smatphones.
in the video you can also see very well the mechanism of the keyboard, I don't know how much is possible to reproduce a similar mechanism, but in practice that sliding system could allow the phone to stand on the table, probably adding an expansion battery inside the keyboard, the weight could be sufficient!

Also because I don't know psion, I looked for a photo that would show the layout to analyze it:
[Image: psion-series-5-keyboard-layout-large-image.gif]


Now, maybe I become a bit long, but god layout is really importat and I really hope to get partecipation and attention from others!

1) the first line of keys seems ok to me, I notice that they are precisely 12 so it might be smart to map the function keys on them by pressing fn. I see that many important characters have already been added to this line, so if they already use the fn key, maybe it would make sense to use fn+a modifier as ctrl for the function keys (this should not create multiple pressure problems because it seems to me that function keys are always used standalone and never in combination with other keys). This is wrong, for example alt+f4, so we have a problem with function keys.
2) I can't see back aphostrope (or grave accent ` ), I propose to put it near the apostrophe (single quote) or maybe near esc
3) what is the menu/dial button? in my mind I see 3 possibilities: really the menu button (the one that emulates the right mouse button, and also the most useless one), the meta button (mela, windows and other stupid names), the alt button.
Among all, the most useful one seems to me the alt button that would allow many shortcuts already existing in the software, as well as the combinations with ctrl and tabs, and the gui combination with mouse click
4) the lack of alt-gr, as far as I'm concerned this key is really fundamental, I use it for all accented letters like àá and in combination with another key (usually ctrl right which is also missing, but any other key near it is ok) to compose other characters like ü or ß and also special things like ₈⁸
The use of compose is really mnemonic to the point that I prefer it to the layouts of my proper  language, but alt-gr can't be alt because otherwise it would overwrite its standard functions.
I can't find a place on the psion layout, the only one I can find is instead of the right shift that I don't use personally (I always use the left shift) and it seems useless with so few buttons to have the replication of the same button twice instead of including a button that does exclusive things. Please think about it!
5) it is also to consider touch point, but touch point need also mouse button emulation... so i'dont know if it is possible with only this buttons, have you any idea? maybe with fn + replacing "dial" on menu for left, fn + replacing "backlight" on spacebar for middle and fn + replacing "help" on , for right click?
#22
@vinnie good post, and it highlights a problem when choosing layout for the keys: personal preferences differ :/

Possible solution to this is to make the keys easy to change. Physically pop the keys out and put in new ones, put stickers on them, there are many ways but making one layout to rule them all seems very hard.

On the plus side; won't the pinephone keyboard be a little bit bigger than the psion? Will there maybe be room for some extra keys?

A personal whish is a pointing device to use a mouse pointer. Maby like the trackpoint on a thinkpad or the small scroll wheel on the early HTC phones. Even a built in pen would be nice like the psion or N900. It would ad cost and complexity, so please don't take it too seriously.
"- is there already a tool for overclocking it desperately?" 
#23
@murak, thanks for reply, I think there are two problems, one is what you say, personal preferences, but then they are not so personal, every language has its own characters, think of the Chinese who will buy the phone, build a keyboard in Chinese is practically impossible.
The other problem is that layouts should not be considered only a software issue, of course there is some way to completely remap a keyboard, but I think the keys have a physical identifier anyway (I think that also the button "fn" change phisically the address of the other button).
So deciding on a standard layout anyway (by standard I mean with all the ascii-english characters) is something to do the same, it is a good things to have all function keys in a standard place..

The "standard us layout with accents of your language" is something I really recommend to try to anyone who doesn't write in English, as well as the composition key. As far as my experience is concerned, this allows you to write those few different characters while staying on a standard layout (which in my opinion is better for programming or linux amministration).
Obviously if you have to write in Chinese the problem remains (I don't know about Arabic, for Cyrillic maybe there is a one-to-one correspondence with normal characters).

Stickers for keys may be an idea, but I once had a keyboard with stickers and when they come off they are a problem, I'd really prefer to write with an indelible marker on the buttons (but it is a personal preference so stickers is ok).

In addiction the bad notice is that we have less space of a psion:
psion5: 170 × 90 × 23
pphon: 160.5 x 76.6 x 9.2
#24
(12-25-2019, 05:11 AM)vinnie Wrote: At this point, for those like me who didn't know these "psion", I would like to suggest this video where this device is shown.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nEBnDB79XA

I have to say that in terms of design it's really nice, now the specs are really old, but everything else seems better than today's smatphones.
in the video you can also see very well the mechanism of the keyboard, I don't know how much is possible to reproduce a similar mechanism, but in practice that sliding system could allow the phone to stand on the table, probably adding an expansion battery inside the keyboard, the weight could be sufficient!

Thanks on the good post. We will use this thread as reference info when design the PinePhone PDA keyboard.
#25
(12-25-2019, 02:24 PM)murak Wrote: @vinnie good post, and it highlights a problem when choosing layout for the keys: personal preferences differ :/

Possible solution to this is to make the keys easy to change. Physically pop the keys out and put in new ones, put stickers on them, there are many ways but making one layout to rule them all seems very hard.

On the plus side; won't the pinephone keyboard be a little bit bigger than the psion? Will there maybe be room for some extra keys?

A personal whish is a pointing device to use a mouse pointer. Maby like the trackpoint on a thinkpad or the small scroll wheel on the early HTC phones. Even a built in pen would be nice like the psion or N900. It would ad cost and complexity, so please don't take it too seriously.

The PinePhone length actually slightly shorter (about 10mm) than Psion Keyboard.

Just making this keyboard already is a technical challenge and has no plan to further challenge the complication. We don't plan to add trackpoint on this keyboard.
#26
@vinnie @tllim my bad on the size, I looked at the screen size and jumped to conclusions Smile

Looking forward to see the keyboard take shape!
"- is there already a tool for overclocking it desperately?" 
#27
(12-26-2019, 10:32 AM)vinnie Wrote: In addiction the bad notice is that we have less space of a psion:
psion5: 170 × 90 × 23
pphon: 160.5 x 76.6 x 9.2
Those are the external dimensions of the Psion, so it's not quite as bad as it seems. The psion keyboard is 164 x 68 if you measure to the edge of the keys. The big difference in depth is because of the space taken by the AA batteries.

The Gemini layouts are well worth a look. They've got all the obvious ones bar F1-12 at least for me in the UK - i can't comment on their other layouts. I think they're using the 'Sym' and emoji to show keys on a soft keyboard for the ones that won't fit on the hardware one.
#28
Thanks for the useful information, so we only have 4mm less, not really that much.
the physical arrangement of the keys of the gemini seems identical to that of the psion, I notice some difference with the symbols accessible I think with the fn button and I notice that they have put alt instead of menu.
Uhm, I almost feel like trying to write a layout with all the necessary keys, but I'm afraid it's more difficult than it seems.
Maybe, if we really have more height available, it would be possible to add the fn key line, even shorter than the normal keys
#29
The guy doing industrial design for the Gemini and Cosmo is the same one that did the original Psion keyboard. The key mechanism has apparently been improved, but I've not tried it. If the linux experience was better I'd probably have bought one by now.

If the extra function key row will fit without reducing the height of the main 5 rows then it's a good option. If you have to reduce the height of the main 5 rows the typing experience will suffer. The Libretto 70CT is a cautionary example here - its keyboard is ~2mm less than the Psion, but they squashed the rows to fit in a half-height row of function keys. It seems a tiny change, but even with my relatively small fingers it's a significantly worse typing experience. Key width is almost identical - the Libretto is a wider keyboard but has a laptop-style layout.
#30
I think a trackpoint like device in it would be kind of neat but to be honest im not sure how useful that would actually be. Also it might be bit hard to fit inside a small keyboard like this.


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