about the designs, i agree with most of comment that the second alternative is the best of what did you showed (but i think the first one may be better if there is a good implementation), but i have some suggestions.
i really don?t see that a keyboard is needed on this device. any keyboard you put there will be small, and their usage will be casual.
i read messages from people that they want to play old games that requires keyboard.
sincerelly, if you want to play any game that requires keyboard, in any case will be the best alternative.
you must focus on the main goal of this device, to give a windows device for play most of games that requires joystick.
maybe GPD can consider on improve their mapper, and adding keymapping too. I mean, opening the mapper (with gamepad icon) may you can configuer what you want to do with each control.
maybe, you can assign keys (from standard keyboard) to controls
games that need keyboard for playing, don?t have joystick support, then when you playing using a keyboard, really will not use the joystick controls.
maybe, GPD can include reduced keyboard schemma, not a complete keyboard layout.
considering this, then maybe the first alternative looks interesting as concept (but i prefer to keep the current analog layout)
i think adding a numeric pad with some extra buttons may give a good improvement for adding keyboard funcions to the device.
in general speaking, if you need to write something, you can use the on screen keyboard without problems. Is not the most comfortable way, but is practical.
Then, you can use the numeric pad, but keeping the same as the keymapper that i mentioned, this keypad may be configurable. You can setup actions (keys, etc) for each key of this numeric pad.
the final layout/setup will be a device that will be capable of adding keyboard support for most games, using all the buttons and controls of the device.
As example of common keyboard layout may be:
Left stick: WASD
right stick: IJKL
DPAD: Arrow keys
And numeric keypad with some assignments (or let the numeric layout)
all this may be configured from the keymapping tool.
And consider that most of keyboard based games, don't need the full layout of the keyboard for playing... and if there is some games that need, well, in any case will not be comfortable to be played with a mini-keyboard... and this device will be an all-terrain gaming device, but this don?t mean that will be capable on playing ALL kind of games.
again, the focus of this device is to play games with joystick support. any other game will be an extra (in my oppinion)
and, in my opinion, i prefer a better DPAD than a full keyboard layout on the device. I really want a GPD-Q9 DPAD implemented on this device.