ICYMI: MNT Pocket Reform official development details

Hi MNT Community,
This week, the MNT Research team announced a ton of official details about Pocket Reform, including renders of the industrial design and motherboard.

You can read all about it here: Introducing MNT Pocket Reform—MNT Research

If you want to help improve Pocket Reform as part of the beta, a limited number of devkits will go up for preorder later in the summer. Sign up for the Pocket Reform newsletter so you don’t miss any future updates.

Want a peek under the hood for free? Check out the repo for all relevant files…

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I have been blurting this out everywhere, so I figured I shouldn’t stop now. So this is my emphatic approval of this! Really looking forward to it coming out!

I love the ortholinear keyboard. Love the micro trackball. Love the aluminum Reform like enclosure with the sub-locking lid and solid construction.

Instant buy.

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+1 looking fwd. to this :nerd_face:

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1+ cannot wwit for this to happen

Stoked for this! Will the key-switches be hot swappable? or for the minority of us that might want to switch out switches will that be possible?

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Nice! Esp. I like the RJ45 Ethernet port!

Many questions:

  1. Which will be the battery format? 18650, I hope!
  2. Will there be an alternative to the trackball, like the MNT Reform touchpad?
  3. Will the keycaps be compatible with the MNT Reform keyboard?

Only drawback: No 3.5 mm audio plug. I.e. I cannot easily share the same headset with other devices. Can this still be added?

Hello! The batteries are pouch cell lithium ion due to the thickness and desired power density in this form factor. I do not believe the existing Reform keycaps are compatible.

The trackball is the only stock option—it is part of the keyboard PCB, so a touchpad would require a redesign of multiple components.

The headphone jack could be added with a USB-C adapter, if desired.

All this said, it’s open hardware so you and the community are welcome to contribute modifications and expansions!

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I am interested in this compact laptop and the idea behind it!
Seeing the tech specs, I feel your motivation: “we create and define the future with the laptop”. I love the keyboard. I am interested in learning the keyboard layout by using it.

I am glad to see that Debian is the primary supported OS on the top of the list. And Arch. I like the communities on the upstream Linux distributions. How about supporting Fedora as a second citizen? Have you contacted the Fedora Project for that? As a developer at the Fedora Project, I am biased. But I really want to see it.

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One missing item at Specs on the MNT Pocket Reform announce page is “Firmware”. For example, you see the Firmware on a System76 laptop page - TECH SPECS. What BIOS, EC, and keyboard firmware are preinstalled? Open-sourced? Do you plan to use Linux Vendor Firmware Service (LVFS)?

Does QMK work for Pocket Reform as well as MNT Reform? Seeing Another firmware for the MNT Reform keyboard: QMK.

Since this is a derivative of big Reform I would expect the firmware to be closely related. You can read about the firmware/booting setup in the handbook and check the source in the repo.

I’m unsure if QMK will work with Pocket. Lukas is working on switching to RP2040 from the prior controller, so I’d imagine the QMK version for the current Reform keyboard would need to be rewritten to support the new hardware.

Audio jack would be on my wishlist as well

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I’d rather have an ergo keyboard. Ortholinear is good, but how about something like Atreus layout, plus an extra couple of thumb keys like you have already? Slanting the two halves is very important to keep your wrists at reasonable angles, especially with that size constraint that makes you bring your hands unnaturally close together for long periods. As-is, this looks like a carpal tunnel syndrome inducer. I know, a non-rectangular layout fits less well in a rectangular box, but ergonomics are more important than that.

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Given the size constraints and the placement of the crucial micro trackball assembly I just don’t see it as practical. I mean even if you split the halves you aren’t going to have much separation, and their angle will be slight.

On the contrary I think the space constraints justify the ortholinear layout the most. It does relieve some finger strain.

I feel like anyone with ergo concerns like that will have a keyboard they bring with them and use. The compact nature of the device means some compromises are inevitable.

Really stoked about this design.

However, when having a small keyboard, it seems like a waste of space to have function keys next to the alfabet.
Hey just take a look at the on screen keyboard of your phone.

Others have a similar opinion? Or opposite? How could i contribute into researching this alternative?

I need to be the first on the list to buy this thing. Unicorn wish…I know the wait is long and want to start that process now. I’m finally used to the keyboard so I don’t think converting to pocket keyboard would be much of a problem.

I can imagine a 30% with a cirque trackpad fitting into the footprint

Agreed - It’s easy enough to fit everything into a planck footprint

So, I was thinking about the CPUs… So far, love the prototype, thats exactly the future. I understand many CPU cards might be available. And I was wondering if getting some more powerful Arm Cpu could be in the plan? Im not a very technical person but, Cortex-X stuff maybe?

Like this?

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Yes exactly, thanks!