The Cosmo Communicator is what you’d get if you crossed a smartphone with a pocket-sized laptop computer. Unfolded it looks like a tiny laptop with a keyboard inspired by the design of the classic Psion Revo PDA. Fold it and you’ve got a smaller cover screen that you can use for phone calls, notifications, or other simple tasks.
Aside from the clamshell design, the phone has another unusual feature: it typically ships with Android, but can also support alternate operating systems including Debian Linux and Sailfish OS.
Developed by Planet Computers, the Cosmo Communicator went up for pre-order through a crowdfunding campaign in late 2018 and began shipping to backers in mid-2019. Now Planet Computers has announced an update for the Debian Linux software that runs on its phone, bringing support for a bunch of new cover screen features.
The update should be available soon from the Planet Computer support page and, among other things, it will let users do the following things without opening the device:
- Make and receive phone calls
- Switch a call to the speaker
- View the call history log
There’s also support for making calls from the larger primary display when the Cosmo Communicator is open.
And when the device is open, you can use the cover display as a trackpad for scrolling or moving an on-screen cursor by touching, tapping, and swiping the cover display while you’re looking at the primary screen.
The Cosmo Communicator is available from Planet Computers for £601 ($785), but the company says customers who use the coupon LINUXPHONE at checkout when ordering a dual-boot phone with Android and Linux will save £100 ($130) on a phone that will ship in November.
But if you don’t already have one, you might want to read through the comments on Indiegogo before pulling out your wallet. Owners have a bunch of complaints about bugs affecting Android and Linux performance.