Until now, PINE64 has launched one development, one “Braveheart” limited, and two community editions (Ubuntu Touch, postmarketOS) of Linux smartphone PinePhone. This $150 phone is gradually progressing toward a daily driver phone.
If you have the latest PinePhone with postmarketOS, you can even turn it into a desktop computer with peripherals like a keyboard or mouse connected via USB Type-C dock. But it may look cluttered and even harder to travel with.
Add-ons For PinePhone Coming Soon
Keeping that in mind, in a December blog post last year, PINE64 already announced the Psion Series 5-inspired keyboard for PinePhone, so that you can turn it into a mini-laptop like another Linux and Android smartphone-cum-PDA, Astro Slide.
Nevertheless, we don’t know when the Psion-type keyboard will arrive or even not. But as mentioned in the latest blog, PINE64 is now currently in talks with hardware vendors to bring a Nokia N900-style, slide-out-design keyboard for the PinePhone.
Besides vendors, if you’re a hardware tinkerer who loves to play with PinePhone, you can also share your creativity with PINE64. Mind you, there is also a reward for the selected project with full credit for the design.
You can download an STP of the layout from here and start creating a keyboard for PinePhone by following the below general guiding points:
- Interface with the PinePhone’s rear pogo pin expansion connector
- Fit the PinePhone’s form factor
- Seamlessly replace the current back cover and snap onto the phone
- Be similar, mechanically and functionally, to the Nokia N900 keyboard
If you have any doubts, you can contact them directly or discuss it at their Forum Thread.
Along with the keyboard, PINE64 is also exploring a gamepad for the PinePhone. However, its development is still at a very early exploratory stage. Hence, PINE64 also welcome other developers for game controller keyboard add-ons.
Unofficial PinePhone Add-ons
PinePhone with new add-ons is definitely going to take time to be available to the public. But if you eagerly want a slide-out keyboard, you can also use PinePhone’s rear pogo pin expansion connector, just like Дмитрий Куртуков used to attach unofficial slider keyboard.
Not just the keyboard, you can use the six pogo pins on the back of the PinePhone as an expansion port to connect other peripherals as well. Here’s Martijn Braam from postmarketOS, who recently used the same expansion port to connect a thermal camera to the PinePhone.