MNT Pocket Reform is an extremely compact, fully featured mini laptop that is modular, upgradable, recyclable, and reusable. As fully open source hardware and software, it exemplifies MNT’s principles while providing abundant connectivity and a pleasant typing experience thanks to a comfortable, ortholinear mechanical keyboard and a miniature trackball. Pocket Reform features robust Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity and includes both Chromium and Firefox preinstalled, giving it the versatility it needs to shine in many different contexts.
Back in 2020 when we built the MNT Reform, we already had an idea for a smaller device that provides many of the benefits of a smartphone—that is, in fact, a viable alternative to a smartphone. But why would we need an alternative?
Android and iOS devices are closed platforms, without hardware documentation, yet we use them to handle our most private information. And we’re not even aware of what happens to that information, as these platforms tend to hide their inner workings. In addition, manufacturers determine the life span of the devices they produce, which means users cannot update their phones and must replace them after the vendor decides to shut down support. As the companies behind Android and iOS become more influential in determining what runs on our devices, it is vital to create an open-hardware counterpart: Pocket Reform.
With Pocket Reform, we’re building a small, portable computer that is transparent about what it’s running and that gives control back to the user, control over operating systems, updates, and software. By adding an ortholinear mechanical keyboard—one with keys that are arranged in a regular grid—and a trackball, we provide a haptic element that has been lost over the years as we’ve shifted to touchscreens.
Often on the go? Whether you need to take notes at work or in the classroom, write your novel in a cafe, or journal on the bus, Pocket Reform’s super compact, ortholinear mechanical keyboard has you covered. It’s quite inconvenient to use a full-sized laptop while commuting on a crowded bus or train, yet getting work done on a phone can be nigh impossible. Pocket Reform is a handy in-between device for using your time in transit efficiently without taking up too much space or drawing too much attention.
On call? Pocket Reform is an excellent platform for system administration, wherever and whenever it’s required. Leave your laptop at home and enjoy a real keyboard and trackball for SSH and remote desktop. Pocket Reform is great for other work tasks, as well. With a built-in Micro HDMI port and LibreOffice preinstalled, you can easily use it to run the numbers, review a document, or give a presentation at a conference. And it plays well with other devices, too, allowing you to wirelessly sync files and photos with your phone or PC using Syncthing or SFTP.
Do you read and write a lot of email or coordinate with your colleagues via chat? Pocket Reform comes with Mozilla Thunderbird preinstalled and has supports messaging applications like Mastodon, Telegram, Twitter, IRC, and Matrix. Need data away from Wi-Fi? Pocket Reform accepts 4G and 5G WWAN modems that make it possible to send and receive messages anywhere you have cell service.
From garage projects to industrial applications, Pocket Reform fits in spaces where other laptops can’t. On an overfilled electronics workbench, on a rack in your server room (hard-wired with integrated ix Industrial Ethernet), in the palm of your hand among the warehouse stacks, or on your belt while performing maintenance in the field.
Electronic-music artists, sound engineers, podcasters, and anyone else who works with sound can connect a USB Type-C audio interface and transform Pocket Reform into a portable audio workstation, with support for free music-creation software like Ardour, MusE, and LMMS or commercial packages like REAPER and Renoise.
And speaking of good tools, programming works best with a real keyboard. Using Pocket Reform, you can hack on your projects wherever you go and connect to your infrastructure via Wi-Fi, USB Type-C or ix Industrial Ethernet.
At the end of the day, Pocket Reform is the ultimate sofa computer, lighter and smaller than a laptop but more versatile and less constrained than a phone or tablet. Chill out and chat with your friends, watch a video, or remotely access your other PCs.
Need a gaming break? Fire up classic console and retro computer games on your couch with emulators like VICE, Amiberry, DOSBox, Snes9x, or DuckStation.
With Pocket Reform, you’re always in good company. The vibrant MNT Reform Community is there to help you along the way. Everyone is welcome to contribute to this thriving open-hardware ecosystem.
Processors and RAM
You can find our open source files in our public repository. You can also stay up to date through our blog.
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"[T]he MNT Pocket Reform uses this exact [iMX8] module form-factor as its bigger sibling. Now, the MNT lineup became an ecosystem with swappable CPU cards..."
"MNT Research has announced a new product that takes the best elements of its Reform laptop and stuffs them into a smaller, lighter and more affordable package."
"The Pocket Reform borrows many of the big Reform laptop's design impulses, including a low-profile mechanical keyboard and trackball-based pointing device and a chunky, retro-throwback design."
MNT Research is driven by the idea of a digital future that is open-source, accessible and modular. Our innovative, interdisciplinary team sets high standards in terms of quality and sustainability. We combine these principles by developing open source hardware, software and textiles in Berlin, Germany.