Palm is back, but its new phone is completely different from anything else on the market.
Developed by a San Francisco startup that bought the rights to the Palm name, the new Palm (launching in November for $349 on Verizon) is a tiny phone that works in conjunction with your main handset so that you can spend less time staring at your smartphone. Yes, we will explain.
The Verge went hands-on with the new device, which looks like a sleek, miniature iPhone that runs Android 8.1 (no Pie just yet). The phone has a tiny 3.3-inch, 445-ppi LCD screen, and uses a single USB-C port for charging and headphones. The Palm's humble guts include a Snapdragon 435 CPU, GB RAM and 32GB storage, with a 12-MP camera in the rear and an 8MP selfie cam up front.
But where the new Palm really stands out is the interface. The phone uses a custom version of Android that places just a handful of key app icons -- things like Chrome, Messages and Gmail -- up front, with a virtual button on the bottom of the device that controls all notification and can launch Google Assistant. It even features its own version of Face Unlock via the selfie cam, though the verdict is still out on how secure it is.
But before you get excited about ditching your giant phablet for a new Palm, know that the Verizon-exclusive device can only be used in conjunction with your main smartphone. It'll use the same number as your main device, and seems poised as something to take with you on dates, quick walks, runs or trips to the store where you don't need a giant mini-computer loaded with apps in your pocket.
Naturally, this comes with caveats. While the new Palm technically works with iPhones, you won't receive your iMessages on it, for one.
The Palm's purpose is admirable -- a small phone designed to help curb screen addiction -- but the fact that it has to be used alongside another smartphone could limit its appeal. We should have a better idea of how the tiny handset holds up in the real world come November.