In 2019, a little known company by the name of F(x)tec released the Pro 1, a modern take on the QWERTY phones of yesteryear. For a second act, the company is teaming up with XDA Developers, a community of mobile software developers, to release the Pro1-X. How do you top a phone with a QWERTY keyboard? By creating a follow-up that can run three different operating systems out of the box, including LineageOS.
If you’re not familiar with LineageOS, it’s an alternative take on Android that adds additional features and customization options to the mix. It came out of the ashes of Cyanogen. Both projects have their roots in the XDA community. You have to go back to a phone like the OnePlus One to find a device that shipped with a community-based version of Android. It’s also possible to configure the Pro1-X with Ubuntu Touch OS and plain old Android. The former, as the name suggests, is the mobile version of the Ubuntu Linux distribution.
“The main reason we created the Pro1-X was to offer our users a choice. Every phone launched either runs Android or iOS, and even the best Android phones require rooting to be able to truly customize the experience,” said XDA Chief Content Officer Nirave Gondhia.
The Pro 1’s specs were modest by 2019 standards, and the same is true of the Pro1-X. In a nice callback to early Android devices like the Motorola Droid, it includes a 66-button QWERTY keyboard. It still has the same aging Snapdragon 835 chip and 3,200mAh battery as its predecessor — though the new model comes with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage. For taking photos, you a dual rear camera array made up of 12- and 5-megapixel sensors, as well as an 8-megapixel selfie shooter. There’s also an HDMI out port that allows you to connect the phone to a display and use it as a touchpad when it’s running Ubuntu Touch OS. It won’t replace a modern flagship. But no who wants to purchase this phone is buying it for its internal specs.
You can pre-order the F(x)tec Pro1-X by backing the company’s Indiegogo campaign. When the phone becomes officially available sometime in March 2021, it will cost $899. If this article was your introduction to LineageOS, then the Pro1-X isn’t for you, but for those who love to tinker with their phones the fact you don’t need to root the Pro1-X to run the ROM is a major selling point.