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Published April 8, 2019

Planet Computers are getting ready to release the, admittedly slightly delayed, Gemini PDA update for Android 8.1. This brings new security, stability and other app and user interface enhancements to the device.

I’ve been testing Android 8.1 on my own personal Gemini for a few days now and I can report that it’s working really well. While I’ve not used all the functionality of either Android or the Gemini, I’ve not encountered any bugs, crashes or other problems.

Android 8.1 also brings some new features to the Gemini, including the ability to completely hide the back, home and apps side buttons on the screen. With these turned off in Gemini Settings you will need to use the Esc key as back, and Fn + D, or the Gemini App Bar to return to the home screen or to launch apps, and Fn + A to close apps. This brings a whole new mini-laptop feel to the device.

Speaking of the App Bar, this too has been enhanced with a new sideways scrolling panel, allowing you to add as many apps to the bar as you like. You simply swipe left and right with your finger to move between them.

Planet Computers have also released their new Psion-esque Airmail app with this release, which accompanies their existing Data, Notes and Agenda apps.

Android 8.1 is expected to be available as an over-the-air (OTA) update later this week, with a download available for manual installation on rooted, or dual-boot devices soon afterwards.


  1. Paul M Paul M

    Nice! I’m looking forward to the update. I’m hoping that Android 8.1 will also mean less dependency on Mediatek and Planet for keeping the OS up to date. Also, I’m hoping that people doing multiboot will be able to update/upgrade in future without need the flash tool

  2. Daniel W. Daniel W.

    Thanks a lot for sharing this. I was on the verge of mailing Planet, to ask how they can keep failing to timely tell their users when and why there are delays (which WILL happen) when duly telling always is less risky and cheaper, even in the short term, than failing to do so.

  3. Nick Broom Nick Broom

    Well its Friday evening and no sign of the 8.1 firmware update yet. Hopefully soon now?

  4. Steve G Steve G

    Has this been released yet?

  5. Fai Wong Fai Wong

    End of this week, again

  6. John Martin John Martin

    I am very intrigued by the device, but it sounds like this update has been delayed multiple times. Is it really coming out soon?

    • Nick Broom Nick Broom

      I sincerely hope so. I bought mine on the clear understanding that it would be updated…

  7. Nick Broom Nick Broom

    Another week nearly over and no update available yet. Under UK consumer law I thankfully have the right to insist on a full refund (I have checked with a solicitor friend and under consumer law I will clearly win a case in the Scottish small claims court should it ever come to that). I loved my Psion and was really pleased when the Gemini was released, but the lack of an upgrade to 8.1 is unacceptable. I plan to give it another week or two and then will formally request a full refund.

  8. George Haynes George Haynes

    PC, I have no issue with releasing when the update is ready; but I have little tolerance with no communication to customers. You have a good product but must find better ways to provide reliable and timely information.

  9. DrDweeb DrDweeb

    As a matter of passing curiosity, what is the future road map for Android on Gemini. Is 8.1 the latest and lastest or is there a 9.x and so on?

  10. Fai Wong Fai Wong

    Another end of another week, again.

  11. J.T. J.T.

    So what’s the progress? Is it coming this week as rumored? If not, will there be an announcement on what the delay is?

    Just any sort of status update would be nice @ Planet Computers, we understand delays but being left in the dark sucks

  12. Daniel W. Daniel W.

    Not sure if I may post links here, but according to a post in the “Oreo on it’s way” thread over at oesf “…there’s a message from Mike on FB saying that it began rolling out to some devices yesterday (monday April 29), and will expand to all devices over the coming days.”, so we now have at least one source claiming that the rollout of 8.1 has actually begun.

    • Jonathan Walters Jonathan Walters

      I wonder how they work out the sequence for the roll out?

      • Steve G Steve G

        I’m willing to bet WiFi only is going to be last.

        • Jonathan Walters Jonathan Walters

          I think they look at social media and if you have given them any hassle then you go to the back off the queue

  13. Nick Nick

    Hopefully not too far away now, it seems as though progress is at last being made. I will believe when it’s on my wifi only Gemini!

  14. Eduard Pertíñez Eduard Pertíñez

    I hope the dual-boot version is published soon. I am mostly interested in the fast boot up of this new system. The way I use the Gemini PDA it is necessary to hibernate to disk (not possible as long as I know) or very fast wake up.


    Seriously “…slightly delayed…” is too-kind spin, Mike.

    Recall that Planet said updates (security patch, firmware and Sailfish OS) would happen in “the last quarter” of (by year’s end) 2018. Granted that the woefully outdated security patches were updated during Sept. 2018, but, however, the firmware update didn’t happen as sold to Gemini backers…rather it is happening during the first week of May 2019. Sailfish BETA OS was released mid-February 2019.

    Planet advised us late December saying “We hope that we will make the deadline of the end of this year to get GMS approval for Android 8.1 and be able to release a version in early 2019.”

    The fact remains that we weren’t SOLD on backing the Gemini with its promised firmware update being “GMS approval” contingent.

    Recall also that in February 2019, Planet advised us again that the firmware update would happen likely in “a few weeks” (March?). But again that has slipped to the end of April (now they are slow-rolling it out in early MAY – first to / for WiFi-only devices).

    I wonder, is 4-5 months later than advised a ‘slight delay’? In a word, no.

    Moreover, is the month of May Planet speak for ‘early 2019’? Apparently yes.

    Oh, well. So it goes.


    P.S. BTW, I backed the Cosmo expecting receipt of it not, as pitched, in June or July but, rather, hopefully, realistically and most probably sometime (shipped) mid-September 2019.

  16. Cristiano Cristiano

    Hi you all, quick question: what does it mean if I run the update 8.1 in my 7.1 gemini ? I have triple boot, ANDROID 7.1 – KaliLinux – TWRP. I will have problem ?

  17. Gianluca Gianluca

    Anybody was able to successfully update yet ?

    • Nick Nick

      So far no sign of the update; I check daily. I have the wifi only device. I live in hope…

  18. Peter Peter

    My device announced an update to 8.1 available a week ago. I had it set to automatic, but nothing happened, so I tested the update manually. It got as far as identifying it correctly, but the download failed with the message: “connect to the server is unusual, please test again.” I guess that is a machine translation from Chinese as it makes no sense, but I did try turning of wifi and attempting the download over the cell network and via a cable connection. Same message and same failure each time.
    I tried again a couple of days later and there was no update available, so I guess there was a fault and it has been temporarily withdrawn.
    Unlike others here, I am not bothered by the delays, that is the nature of a crowdfunded project, but I really would like some communication from Planet, so that I don’t waste my time guessing what to do.

    • Steve Litchfield Steve Litchfield

      Aha. Similar here, though it DID update. But I wanted to do a fresh start on 8.1, so I factory reset, and then it was in bootloop land! 8-(

      So I flashed 7.1 on again and then went looking for 8.1 and… it had been withdrawn!!! Very spooky.

      • J. T. J. T.

        The update IS available, it has only been “withdrawn” from the automatic server. If you want it anyway, just go here where there’s instructions & an alternate manual download link:

        This page also explains that factory reset is known not to work right now on Android 8 (see “Known Bugs” at the bottom).

        • Steve Litchfield Steve Litchfield

          Thanks, will give all that a try. I wonder how I know which X chip I have?

          • J. T. J. T.

            I’ve seen info on how to find out exactly but I can’t fully remember… but unless you’re like in the very first batch of indiegogo orders then you have an x27, they switched over pretty early

          • Steve Litchfield Steve Litchfield

            Ah, got it now. I flashed 8.1 manually and my Gemini is up to date. Well, kind of. Dec 2018 security 😎

          • J. T. J. T.

            Yeah, it’s a bit of a shame @ patch level. I wonder if planet made any effort at all to adjust drivers to Project Treble for faster upgrade in the future, but I fear they may not have done that…

            If they had though, that should make future upgrades including even Android 9 and 10 much more feasible, so that would be amazing. One can always hope

        • Peter Peter

          Many thanks. That worked
          … and just after completing it I had the e-mail from Planet telling all about it. Better late than never!

    • Nick Nick

      I agree – please be honest and tell us when the update will be released!

  19. Paul Kenny Paul Kenny

    Had to do the manual download and update following the official guide. Worked superb and very quick. 8.1 is a big improvement on the last build. Doesn’t appear to be buggy. Fingers crossed.

  20. Brian Brian

    It is not the fault of Planet Computers or the Gemini device itself but I wish I had never migrated to A’ 8.1. It is awful. I’ve spent some time getting my Gemini just how I like it, with the shortcuts, look and feel etc just right. And 8.1 has changed so much and, what is worse, removed the options to change things back to how they were. And the fact that the main navigation bar will not auto hide any more is perhaps one of the most idiotic, mindless changes I’ve come across.

    I’m now going to be looking at Lineage and Debian to decide which of those I will install. I’ve thought about Sailfish but, to be honest, I have Sailfish on my Jolla and as good as it is, I need somewhere to write and Sailfish is not quite there.

    • Charlie Docker Charlie Docker

      Is it just me? I’m struggling to put Apps in folders on the home screen?

  21. Ozzie Ozzie

    So the 8.1 update für the WiFi models is supposedly out. But the firmware updater app says the current version (7.1) is the latest one. And downloading the firmware from the support pages, renaming it to “” and trying a manual update with the firmware updater app fails.

    Sadly, there’s only silence from Planet Computers regarding this issue. Did anyone test this even once? The way PC are handling stuff like this leads to frustrated customers and a lot of wasted time.

    They should only start announcing stuff as available when everybody can go into the updater and download the update immediately.

  22. Yashasvi Vats Yashasvi Vats

    I updated to 8.1 using the firmware update only but now my esim becomes inactive after restart. i tried resetting the device and again after the reboot the esim would stop working.. Is there any way I can revert to the 7 version?

    Or is there a fix for it?

  23. Bill Bill

    Are you planning to release Android 9 or 10 soon? If not are you at least planning to release security updates?

    • Mark Mark

      I have to be honest and ask…… why the rush ? I migrated my Gemini to A 8.1 sometime ago and after a week or so, rolled it back to stock A7.x. Why ? A8.1 was abysmal. There were so many regressive changes that reduced functionality and, worse, reduced screen real estate that it became functionally useless. This was not Planets’ fault, but, just because Google change the look and feel, give it another silly name and extract more date from the user, does not make that a good thing. Be wary of what you wish for.

      • Ellie Ellie

        Some of us like newer features. Also, keep in mind the stock A7 has a patch level even more outdated than one year, making it more horribly insecure than the broken A8.1 planet hasn’t updated in forever.

        • Mark Mark

          Hi Ellie….. Agree, A8.1, A9.x and A10.x all have new features but most of those are regressive and for the benefit of Google rather than the user. Don’t forget, Google is the worlds biggest advertising platform for a reason. As for patches, well, I’ve removed as much Google as possible from mine, I encrypted mail for my important stuff, web mail with no downloads for non critical stuff, and TOR for browsing. Geo location is off, Gmail, Calendar et al are disabled and “force stopped” . Patches are only exploited if you download and save or if you don’t clear cache, etc.
          I only have one Gemini so can’t afford to have to have it SNAFU. If I trusted myself, I’d have put Sailfish on it long ago……

          • Ellie Ellie

            > Patches are only exploited if you download and save or if you don’t clear cache, etc.

            No. Malicious ads (which often appear even on reputable major websites) are often enough to take over your device, or often just being in reach is enough if it concerns bugs in the wifi/bt firmware. And Android has lots of catastrophic security bugs all the time, being months behind in patches is a real threat.

            As for the other stuff, Android 9 has introduced better privacy controls e.g. concerning advertising id. Google is being pressured by GDPR to eventually fix things, so I recommend to not go all hand wavy “it’s google so newer updates must be worse” without doing your research. Of course that doesn’t mean you have to like the UI changes, but it’s not as black and white as you appear to be painting it.

        • Mark Mark

          Ellie, I don’t disagree with most of what you say, which is why I use a decent browser, with no cookies, tracker blocking and others. And TOR. And yes, GDPR will, eventually bring Google and others to heel, but the less Google on a device, the better. My Gemini is my only Google anything and I only have that because the Gemini made me have it to download the Agenda and Mail clients. And the thing about the advertising ID is that you have to tell Google stuff to be able to control the advertising ID and confirm the opt outs. Much, much better to not join the beast and deny access rather than acquiesce and negotiate with it.

  24. Chris Chris

    And when can we expcy 9 or 10?

    • Lodewijk Lodewijk

      Any news on a planned update would be very welcome

  25. Chris Chris

    i think gemini users have been forgotten. thats the reason i have not purchased a communicator.

    • ell1e ell1e

      After the Gemini’s and Cosmo’s system upgrader apparently could spy on phone number and more, and was found to be from some really shady company and contained many backdoor-like functions (I know an updater can pretty much inject anything via just updating to it, but just look at the article it just seems super suspicious: ) I feel like Planet Computer may have zero ability to providing any devices with even a basic level of security. Either they don’t want to pay someone competent enough, or their judgement of competent partners to work with is abysmal, and I’m not sure which is worse.

      Maybe I’m wrong though, read the article for yourself. In any case, as a result my personal recommendation would be to stay away from this company forever until they transparently explain how the security side has been such a scary dumpster fire, and how that’ll change.

      (Kind of expecting this comment to be removed, but we’ll see.)

      • Nick Nick

        I too am profoundly dissapointed with the whole Gemini experience. I have still not managed to get mine to update to Android 8.1. I loved my Psion and had high-hopes for my Gemini but regretably I think I have wasted my money.

        • Mark Mark

          Nick…. I have mixed views about my Gemini.
          First, the device is fantastic. It is my #01 device for pretty much everything that is not on a computer. The hardware is excellent, the keyboard is superb, the build quality, still, shines through. There is nothing to criticise.

          Until you come to software. Android is truly awful. I stayed on A7.x for a long time. Sometime last year I finally gave in and migrated to A8.x. That was the worst thing I could have done. I would say once a week now the software crashes and reboots. It is slower and more resource hungry for no user improvements. I have as much google turned off as possible, or removed where I can. I am not signed in to any google account and don’t intend to.

          For me the Gemini is a case of excellent hardware and a superb product crippled by shoddy software; and that is software is the O/S.

          • The biggest drawback for me is Starting time. I use(would use) my Gemini as a easy to access spare computer. Not my daily driver. So I need it to boot up as fast as possible. I cannot have it all time working because I am going to use it every now and then. But slow boot up makes it unusable. I end using the laptop. It is also a not daily driver, but it wakes up in 10-15 seconds.

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