Ubuntu Touch OTA-16 Released with Support for the Pro1

Ubuntu Touch OTA-16 Release

Ubuntu Touch is the privacy and freedom-respecting mobile operating system by UBports. Today we are happy to announce the release of Ubuntu Touch OTA-16, our sixteenth stable update to the system! 

What’s new?

OTA-16 is the second-largest release of Ubuntu Touch ever (OTA-4, the switch from Ubuntu 15.04 to 16.04, being the largest). 

In this release, we upgraded the installed version of the Qt frameworks from v5.9.5 to v5.12.9. Qt makes up a massive part of Ubuntu Touch, and using it saves us huge amounts of time while creating software that can scale between phone, tablet, and desktop uses. Upgrading it put us back inside Qt’s Long-Term Support cycle and gave us a number of new features we hope to take advantage of in Ubuntu Touch and the Lomiri operating environment.

  • Over 1/3 of the binary packages contained in Ubuntu Touch have changed in this release! This includes not only the various Qt libraries but also packages that Qt libraries depend on.
  •  Once all that work was done, it was time to fix all of our software to account for deprecated features and new bugs. Rodney left a distinct mark on this release with all of this work, which has been ongoing since July last year.
  • Upgrading the version of Qt we use and its dependent packages helped prepare us for the Ubuntu 16.04 -> Ubuntu 20.04 transition, which we are currently working to complete.
  •  While the Qt upgrade shone a bright light on this release, we found time to test and integrate a number of other features and fixes you’re sure to love.


Making devices more ready for your pocket.

The upgrade of Qt to 5.12 allowed us to finally integrate the GST-droid work that Ratchanan has been working on for what feels like forever. This brought video recording support to 32-bit Android 7 devices. The newer GStreamer support also allowed us to bring up a hardware-accelerated camera viewfinder on the PinePhone.

  • Alfred enabled video recording on the Sony Xperia X and fixed problems with call audio being too loud on the OnePlus 3 and Xperia X.
  • If you’re a device porter with Android 7 devices and they *don’t* support video recording yet, ask in the UBports Porting group on Telegram. It might only need a couple of configuration changes to enable a camcorder on your device.


To read the full article, head to UBPorts Foundation – https://ubports.com/blog/ubport-blogs-news-1/post/ubuntu-touch-ota-16-release-3744.

Benefits of a keyboard smartphone in 2020

Keyboard smartphones

Keyboard smartphones have been around since the dawn of creation in the smartphone world and in their prime were the tool of choice for businessmen and women all over the world. In the past 18 months we have seen a ton of innovation from new form factors entering the market i.e. foldables, the clamshell and flip phones so does this mean we are all tired of the single slab of glass? Though they are not as widely used as they once were, there has been a notable resurgence with new keyboard smartphones. The F(x)tec Pro1-X, Planet Computers Astro Slide, and the upcoming Blackberry are all devices that will enter the market in 2021. It looks like the demand for keyboard smartphones still remains strong and for good reason.

People no longer only use their phones just for keeping in touch with friends and family and scrolling through social media. The new way of life in 2020 has emphasised just how important it is for people to be able to work from home as well as on the go, being able to do so from your smartphone is of increasing importance.

Let’s take the F(x)tec’s Pro1 & Pro1-X, as this is without a doubt the most popular keyboard smartphone of choice at the moment. Its unique slider mechanism completely transforms the touchscreen device into a fully functioning horizontal keyboard smartphone, allowing users to choose between the virtual or the physical keyboard.

Such keyboard smartphones are super useful in 2020 for so many reasons:

Accuracy and precision

Physical keyboards give more accuracy than a virtual keyboard because you have to be much more precise when physically pressing each letter, or function (Shift or Ctrl), which means fewer mistakes are made. It is much easier to make a typo using a virtual keyboard because of autocorrect, which isn’t ideal when it comes to responding to those all important work emails!

Keyboard shortcuts 

Physical keyboards help users to save time and be more productive. Using everyone’s favorite keyboard shortcuts i.e. Ctrl C and Ctrl V, it is much easier to work on excel spreadsheets or edit documents from your smartphone.

You don’t have to compromise screen size in landscape

With the slider open, you can type using the physical keyboard without compromising your screen size. So no screen space is taken up using a virtual keyboard. This makes working on the go, editing word documents of spreadsheets much easier, as you can actually see what you are working on!

To read the rest of the article click herehttps://mightygadget.co.uk/benefits-of-a-keyboard-smartphone-in-2020/

GBAtemp – Official Review: F(x)tec Pro1 (Hardware)

Some wise folk once said that benchmarks don’t equate to performance, so we’ll skip right to actual performance, and my experience with the Pro1 during my test has been a positive one. I’ve been using the phone for less than a week and have not encountered any issues, lags or random reboots. I’ve tested it on Android 9.0 and it’s been a stable experience.

Having the 64 key physical keyboard free the screen from the virtual one really boosts up productivity on-the-go. I’ve used split screen to write this review’s draft while browsing the net and it’s been a seamless experience, and one I haven’t experienced elsewhere with a smartphone. This is because the phone’s 5.99-inch screen is completely available for on-screen multitasking without having a significant chunk of it taken by a virtual keyboard. Moreover, the keyboard-typing experience felt natural and this is thanks to the PC-like shortcuts like Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V. It might take some muscle memory to get used to typing with the physical keyboard with two thumbs but the experience is unique these days. What’s more, you can still use the virtual keyboard in landscape and portrait mode if you need; giving the best of both worlds.

Read the whole article from GBA Temp: https://gbatemp.net/review/f-x-tec-pro1.1329/

F(x)tec Pro1 smartphone hands-on review

No[kia]stalgia strikes at IFA 2019. If you miss QWERTY keyboard phones and can’t get behind the latest BlackBerrys, a London-based startup may have just launched your next smartphone, the F(x)tec Pro1. Announced with pricing and release information at IFA 2019, it runs Android and packs a faintly familiar design, provided you’re over 25. It’s certainly attention-grabbing, but do we really need a physical keyboard in 2019?

In a swarm of samey Android phones, this bulky bee stands out with some serious novelty factor – likely the reason it’s garnering a fair bit of buzz. It also answers real-world problems: you can’t multitask on all-screen Android phones because the keyboard fills half the screen when you do.


Read the whole article from Stuff: https://www.stuff.tv/fxtec/pro-1/review 


A Key Device

F(x)tec releases a smartphone with a pop-out qwerty keyboard. There’s certainly a niche market for smartphones with keyboards, and the Pro1 brings a new take that differs from the “phone-in-a-PDA” approach favoured by Planet Computers. We have highlighted the “long tail” of the smartphone market for some time, and F(x)tec is a good example of the diversity and innovation that characterizes suppliers in this underappreciated part of the industry. At £649, there’s a premium to be paid for a small-scale niche device with additional hardware features. But with little direct competition, it has a chance of being snapped up by keyboard addicts missing the glory days of the BlackBerry.



Read the full story here from CCS Insights at: https://www.ccsinsight.com/blog/a-key-device/

Android Circuit

Following on from a preview at February’s Mobile World Congress, London-based startup F(x)tec have released its Pro 1 smartphone at IFA. At first glance it’s a thicker Android handset with a wonderful screen and curved edges, backed up by a SnapDragon 835 with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.. but a subtle push at the edge of the screen pops up the display and reveals an expansive qwerty keyboard.

Max Weinbach reports: “The one special part of the F(x)tec Pro1 is the keyboard. The keyboard is behind the display and exposed by sliding the phone up. The keyboard is very Blackberry-looking, though it is landscape instead of horizontal. To work with the keyboard, F(x)tec included 3 custom apps. The launcher, email, and calendar are all optimized to work with the keyboard. Otherwise, the software seems to remain mostly stock Android.”


Read the full story here on: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ewanspence/2019/09/06/android-google-news-samsung-galaxy-s11-fold-5g-honor-nokia-fxtec-vertical-video-ifa/ 

Fxtec Pro1 hands-on: The sliding QWERTY keyboard phone is back

Back in the day, there were several phones with sliding QWERTY keyboards like the T-Mobile Sidekick, the original Motorola Droid and the HTC myTouch 4G Slide (see, phones had bad names even then). However, touchscreens quickly became a more popular input method and sliding keyboards became a thing of the past. Despite this, many of us never lost our nostalgic attachment to physical keyboards or sliders – and now they’re back. Again.

A London-based startup company called Fxtec wants to bring real keyboards back to Android smartphones. The company’s mantra basically revolves around updating the classic tech of yesteryear for today’s demands. During MWC 2019, it showed off its first phone, the horrendously named Fxtec Pro1, with a display that hides a sliding landscape QWERTY keyboard.

My initial response to seeing the Pro1 was a pleasant surprise. Seeing that it looked like a pretty regular phone running stock Android+ in normal mode was nice, but seeing it flick open for the first time instantly made me want to grab it. I have to admit it took me a few minutes to perfect the hand movements required to gently lift the screen with your index fingers while simultaneously pushing with your thumbs on the opposite side, but once I got it the experience was every bit as pleasurable as it was back in the good old days.

Read the full story here on AndroidAuthority.com: https://www.androidauthority.com/fxtec-pro1-review-960653/


Pro1 The Little Lappy Top on TWiT.TV All About Android

Our Co-Founder Adrian Li Mow Ching joined TWiT.TV‘s All About Android hosts Jason Howell, Florence Ion, Ron Richards last night for a fun discussion and Pro1 demo. During the episode they chatted about the recent Google I/O conference highlights, and also checked out the OnePlus 7 Pro & Pixel 3a.

Host “Flo” decided our Pro1 worked just like a “little lappy top” in landscape mode when using the keys. Check out the episode above in case you missed your chance at the live Q & A.

We’re thrilled they invited us back this summer to bring Jason his Pro1 for a more in-depth review.

Tech Blog Writer Podcast Chats with F(x)tec on Qwerty Keyboards and Retro Tech

Adrian Li Mow Ching, founder and director, F(x)tec joins Neil Hughes on his daily tech podcast to share his vision of combining the best of what we used to have in smartphones into a modern device for today – Technology Refined.

“At F(x)tec, our vision of the ideal smartphone blends a modern handset with the very best features and technology we loved and miss, to create a perfectly balanced package that is delightful, functional, and unique. Our goal is to be the best at bringing back our favourite technology, making it better in a more modern way – that’s technology refined. ” said Adrian Li Mow Ching, founder and director, F(x)tec.

The Pro1 is equipped with a landscape QWERTY keyboard with five staggered rows and a sliding mechanism inspired by the classic Nokia E7 and N950. The slider tilts the screen to a 155 degree angle for optimal viewing. Thanks to a unique and innovative key design, the keyboard provides responsive, tactile feedback with each keystroke.


Full episode & notes available here: http://techblogwriter.libsyn.com/episode-827

Forget foldables, Fxtec’s Pro1 is a $649 phone with a landscape QWERTY keyboard

One of the big breakout trends of this past week has been the emergence of a brand new form factor for mobile phones. While Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Fold at its own event last week, Huawei used MWC Barcelona to introduce its own foldable to the market and Oppo teased an early-stage prototype of its own.

However, one London-based company took to MWC to bring a different, slightly new form factor to the mix. Fxtec (stylized as “F(x)tec”) officially launched its Pro1 (stylized as “Pro1“) Android phone today, and while it has most of the apps and features you’ve come to expect from a modern day device, it packs one key differentiator: a physical QWERTY keyboard.

Read their full story here: https://venturebeat.com/2019/02/27/forget-foldables-fxtec-is-launching-a-649-phone-with-a-landscape-qwerty-keyboard/