Gemini PDA

2020, May 09    

When the Gemini PDA was first announced I have to admit I was excited to see what would be released and how close it would be to its inspiration (especially as some of the original designers/engineers were involved). Promising a sharp touch-screen combined with a usable keyboard, 4G connectivity (including eSIM support), and USB-C connectivity, it seemed like the perfect device for my work travels (or so I thought).

From a size perspective the device fits comfortably into my jeans/jacket pocket without any stretching, making the form-factor great for travels. The keyboard is usable, albeit with a little bounce from the device when typing due to the hinge design. While you get used to this after a while it does still catch you out from time to time. The performance of the device is good, providing a usable experience while delivering good battery life.

A few things do become frustrating after a while unfortunately (as with all devices). The screen rotation becomes problematic with many of the available apps from the Play store, as many of the apps treat the device as a phone and refuse to rotate. The inability to charge the device through both USB-C ports is frustrating (especially when you forget to check the device is actually charging).

PDA Closed
With the lid closed, it looks very sleek
PDA Open
With the lid open, it's form factor is still minimal

Firmware Updates

The biggest let-down of the device (to many of the owners I would guess) is that from a firmware perspective the device is already obsolete. While the vendor did release Android 8 firmware for the device, they have subsequently stopped providing newer firmware for it. Adding to this, the Linux firmware for the device hasn't progressed that well, and the usual Android ports have been abandoned as well. More frustrating is that the newer version of this device (with very similar hardware) has Android 9 firmware, yet it wasn't backported to the original. It's a real shame when a vendor abandons hardware, especially what was their first released product.

PDA Firmware
Sadly, even in 2021 there is no later firmware for the device

Final Thoughts

Unfortunately this device now sits on the desk and isn't actively used due to the firmware being outdated and vendor support for the device lacking. It's a real shame given its a nice piece of hardware that was abandoned before it really took off.