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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.

34 Comments

  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.

  15. JFBJR JFBJR

    LOL!
    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.

    JFBJR

    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:

        http://support.planetcom.co.uk/index.php/Gemini_Android_8_Upgrade

        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.

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