F(x) KB Reload: Coming in Q1 2019
The phone you thought you couldn't have.
Function is key
A new device is on the horizon. Developed by startup FX Technology Limited, the F(x) brand will launch this new handset featuring a full QWERTY keyboard in landscape orientation.
More details will be released through early 2019, with a public announcement and unveiling at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in February.
Clove will be one of the first retailers to stock this exciting new device and you can register your interest with us on this page.
You can also sign up for official newsletter updates on the F(x) home page
- Physical keyboard in landscape orientation
- 6.0" curved AMOLED display at 18:9 ratio
November 2018 Update
Screen Technology: Bigger is not always better
Let’s start with display size. While the trend today is to “go big or go home”, here it actually works against users. A larger phone means a larger keyboard which in turn means our thumbs have to travel further while typing.
After researching average thumb size, we decided the optimal screen size for a landscape keyboard device with a modern display should be about 6 inches.
We chose a notch-less screen with an 18:9 aspect ratio and minimal bezels. Our device's footprint is smaller than most other 6-inch 18:9 phones, like the Nokia 7 Plus or Moto Z3. This doesn’t just reduce physical size, it also improves the typing experience.
Finally, we decided to use an AMOLED panel instead of an LCD for more vibrant colours, deeper blacks, and fewer, thinner screen layers. We also chose a curved-edge screen to match the shape & contours of the main body. It’s important the device looks slick & feels comfortable at the same time!
December 2018 Update
Creating a rockin' Keyboard
From the very beginning, we had one goal: to create the best hardware QWERTY keyboard on a smartphone in terms of usability, quality, and visual appeal. We chose a five-row keyboard with a dedicated numbers row.
We added modifier keys (such as Ctrl and Alt ) and symbol keys like a proper PC keyboard. We also added backlighting, for use in low light. We incorporated your feedback from the Keyboard Mod project and used a staggered key layout instead of stacking the Q, A, and Z keys vertically.
We changed the position of some symbol keys so the 26 letters are in the middle of the keyboard and equidistant to both thumbs. We put the Ctrl, Shift, and Fn keys on both sides to make combo input easier.
The hardness or sensitivity of each key was optimised to make it comfortable to press (adequate force, not too hard & not too soft). The surface of each key is slightly convex (shaped like a dome) so it feels better on the tips of your fingers.
We incorporated your feedback about supporting multiple languages and made all the keyboard related components one piece. As such, changing layouts will only involve changing one part, making it easier to switch to say QWERTZ or the Scandinavian layout.
We put a lot of thought into this keyboard and agonized over the smallest of details in order to make the best smartphone keyboard possible. We still have more to share, but we hope you like it so far!
January 2019 Update
Sliding back into place
If you’ve ever used a phone with a slider in the past, you probably miss that satisfying feeling and sound you get when opening and closing the mechanism. So why did we pick an angled slider and not just a regular slider? Honestly, we’re big fans of the angled mechanism that was used in some Nokia sliders.
The main benefits of this design are better viewing angles for the screen along with a more robust and solid mechanism. It also prevents the screen from wobbling when closed, a common problem with regular sliders. For our phone, we hired the same engineering team who designed the Nokia N97, E7, and N950. We tweaked this design for a larger form factor without compromising its strength.
Using state-of-the-art materials and engineering
We used a method called Powder Metallurgy (PM) to manufacture the slider’s metallic parts. This makes the slider mechanism stronger and more likely to survive a drop. These parts also have to be manufactured with very high accuracy (tolerances of < 0.25mm). Very few factories can meet these requirements, but we managed to find one. For reference, we require the same high standards used for some mechanical parts on high-end drones.
As with every other aspect of our handset, our goal with the slider mechanism is to make it the best keyboard phone on the market. We hope you’ll like it.