Once in a while, I get a distinctive dry-mouth, rapid-swallowing sensation when I see a new product that isn’t just excellent, but could radically improve my working and/or personal life. In the past few months, I have had my “this changes everything” feeling three times. The first was with the Light L16 camera. The second was the ReMarkable simulated-paper tablet. The third is this, the Gemini PDA, a hugely updated derivative of the Psion Series 5mx clamshell pocket computer, which came out in 1999.
The Psion’s defining feature was a brilliant fold-out, mechanical keyboard. Its downside was that it was incompatible with PCs and Macs, didn’t run Microsoft Office and knew nothing of the new-fangled internet. The Gemini, which has been developed by mobile entrepreneur Dr Janko Mrsic-Flogel, has an improved version of the same keyboard, but fills in all the above gaps, plus more. That’s why I bought mine a year ago, when it was being crowdfunded.
It is nothing less than a complete, comfortably usable, touchscreen Android (and Linux) PC with Office, a 64Gb internal memory and a microSD expansion slot. In its top-tier £599 model, the Gemini is also a smartphone – all within a 308g device measuring 17cm x 7.9cm x 1.5cm. It’s worth comparing this with the original Psion’s dimensions, which were 17cm x 9cm x 2.3cm with a weight of 354g, making it more than 40 per cent smaller and around 15 per cent lighter, which is a big deal.
So why am I so keen on condensing gadgetry to the minimum viable size, the common thread connecting all the devices that have got me so overheated? It’s a productivity and creativity thing. If I have thoughts, I want to capture them fresh – if I don’t, they rarely come back. The Psion, despite its limitations, helped me do so; the Gemini makes it way easier.
A caveat I should mention: not a soul under 35 to whom I’ve shown the Gemini has understood it one bit. “It looks weird and why would I want that when I have a smartphone?” has been a repeated response. I, in turn, don’t get them. The Gemini is the portable productivity tool from heaven. For practicality, it decimates all the iPad Mini-plus-Bluetooth-keyboard combos I’ve promoted here previously. I just hope it sells.