MWC19 | The F(x)tec Pro 1 brings slide-out keyboards back to smartphones
A decade ago, smartphones with keyboards were ubiquitous. Now, physical keyboards are only found in niche devices like the Blackberry Key2. However, there’s still a crowd clambering for keyboards, and the Pro 1 from smartphone startup F(x)tec may be what they’re looking for.
The Pro 1 is reminiscent of classic QWERTY sliders like the Motorola Droid (released in 2009); the keyboard is housed behind the screen and pops out on a sliding mechanism. The sliding mechanism also props the screen up to a 155-degree angle when the backlit keyboard is out.
While the keyboard is unique for a modern smartphone, the other specifications are fairly run-of-the-mill. The F(x)tec Pro 1 runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, which is two years old at this point. There’s 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB onboard, as well as microSD card support (up to 2 TB). The display is a 5.99-inch 2160 x 1080 AMOLED screen. There’s a dual-camera setup on the back (12 MP & 5 MP), an 8 MP selfie camera, a 3.5 mm headphone jack, and a USB Type-C port. The Pro 1 has other 2019 niceties like NFC, Bluetooth 5.0, and 802.11ac WiFi. Powering everything is a 3200 mAh battery. The phone will ship with Android 9 Pie and a custom launcher to better adapt Android’s landscape orientation to the keyboard.
The F(x)tec Pro 1 is a new take on an old idea, but it won’t come cheap. The phone is expected to launch in July for US $650, which is a fair bit to pay for an older chipset. Still, if the idea of a slide-out physical keyboard is appealing to you, you can pre-order the phone over at F(x)tec’s website.