Premium Phones With Sliding Keyboards To Return In 2019

Accessory startup Livermorium recently rebranded itself as a smartphone manufacturer called F(x) Technology and has offered new details on its plans to bring slider keyboard-enabled smartphones and mod-support back into the limelight, according to an email campaign recently reported by XDA Developers. Among the new details outlined, the top-tier device is set to feature a near-stock Android experience with the full support of the modding community, including Lineage OS and Sailfish OS.

New information has also been provided regarding some of the specifications of the forthcoming handset, including F(x) Technology's decision to include a 6-inch AMOLED display panel. That will feature curved edge glass with trimmed down bezels and no notch.

The decision to use AMOLED was made to ensure that the aspect ratio remained at 18:9 with a small footprint but also to ensure the best user experience. Specifically, F(x) Technology says it wants to provide more vibrant colors and deep blacks. The curves of the display will line up well with the overall aesthetic of the device too.

Regarding the built-in slider keyboard, that will maintain designs that were previously shown in the form of a smartphone accessory. It won't simply slide out but will include a hinge so that it slips out at an angle. The design will allow for a solid keyboard that doesn't wiggle when it's either open or closed, with better viewing angles.

The keyboard has also undergone some changes. Backlighting has been added for low-light environments and the dome-shaped keys are staggered to ensure easy use. It still takes a standard QWERTY format but has been re-engineered as a single piece so that it can be changed out with other common keyboard formats depending on the region. A Ctrl, Shift, and Fn key have been added to both sides of the keyboard to enable alternate combo key functions possible.

Fulfilling an ambition by abandoning Moto

F(x) Technology had already revealed that it would be working on a smartphone prior to the email campaign. That announcement was made alongside the cancellation of plans to release a slider keyboard for the Moto Z in the form of a Moto Mod. At the time, the company cited reasons pertaining to a lack of interest from retailers and a similar level of disinterest from Motorola.

The smartphone manufacturer also revealed a minimal number of details with the announcement. The 'Q-device' it was working on would be higher-specced, thinner, and better overall than what Motorola was offering. Set to be built from premium materials with more attention to detail, the Q-device was also expected to launch in Q4 2018.

The company's goal was to fill a 'gap' in the smartphone market that F(x) Technology says couldn't be filled by making accessories. That hasn't happened just yet but the company has gone further to indicate that tying itself to one specific Android smartphone would not be enough to deliver on its promise, adding to its original explanation for the cancellation.

Forward-thinking, modder-friendly

There's no timeline revealed in the email campaign for the release of F(x) Technology's Q-device but that may not be a bad thing for more tech-savvy users either. In its most recent communication, F(x) Technology says that its handset won't only be shipping with a stock rendition of Android 9 Pie. The Q-device will only feature specific modifications intended to enable a more intuitive aesthetically-pleasing landscape view to match its keyboard.

The current objective is also to ensure that the Q-device fully supports secondary mods too. To that end, F(x) Technology has already approached Lineage OS developers and has plans to approach Sailfish OS developers, among others. The company hopes to offer loaner devices to the associated dev communities' core developers under NDA and release the device with a modder's favorite OS already running.

Finally, F(x) Technology has promised to deliver timely updates and, more importantly, security updates. It won't be loading any apps with backdoors to collect user data either and no bloatware will be included.

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About the Author
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Daniel Golightly

Junior Editor
Daniel has been writing for AndroidHeadlines since 2016. As a Senior Staff Writer for the site, Daniel specializes in reviewing a diverse range of technology products and covering topics related to Chrome OS and Chromebooks. Daniel holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Software Engineering and has a background in Writing and Graphics Design that drives his passion for Android, Google products, the science behind the technology, and the direction it's heading. Contact him at [email protected]