There's a new cell phone with the word "Palm" that's tiny, intriguing, and has very little to do with Palm, except for that word on the back. It's from a startup in San Francisco that bought the rights to the name of TCL last year. It costs $ 349.99 and will be available in November, but you can not buy it alone. It is only available as an add-on for a current line. Steph Curry is also somehow involved.
It's a weird little thing.
The Palm phone is a device that you can add to your Verizon plan that shares your phone number. It's a phone that you can use on the weekend, in the evening, or just when you want to be distracted from your big phone with all its apps. However, a full version of Android 8.1
So check it out: it's a tiny phone that keeps you from using your big phone, but it could do all the things your big one can do if you wanted (but you should not, because the whole Idea to make you feel a little less possessed by your phone). It's like a phone for your phone. And Steph Curry helped develop cases that you can attach to your forearm during exercise. There are also Kate Spade couplings for it.
As I said: weird. But also: fascinating.
Let us withdraw. There is a whole trend of some people trying to get away, being too tied to their phones. We have new settings and software to track and show our usage, but these are easy to ignore. There is also a trend that every mobile phone is getting bigger.
Some are trying to get around both issues by buying a "minimalist phone," something that can easily call and write text. But you have a whole lot of problems when you do that. Are you just giving up having a smartphone? This is no longer feasible for most people. Find a stupid phone – like the light phone – that needs just enough to meet your needs? Chances are, there is also one more thing you want to do this phone.
If you want a less distracting phone, you can use something without giving up your big honking smartphone when you really need it.
That's the idea behind the new Palm phone. It's a sidecar for your phone. You should almost see it as something that is received instead of a connected smartwatch as a second phone. In fact, Verizon (and only Verizon) sells it the same way: as an add-on to existing plans. You can not just buy the thing alone or unlock it as your primary phone.
On the one hand, it's an obvious ridiculous idea to get a second phone to help you get away from your main phone. But this idea is a kind of worm in your head. Yes, I would like to go into the cabin and have only a small, small phone that I know will not blow me up with work emails. Yes, a small cell phone that actually fits in my pocket and brings almost nothing seems great.
It could be a sleeker solution to have a "well spent" phone than receive a standard Jane feature phone or support a Kickstarter for an in-between phone. But although the Palm phone solves many problems with the "second phone", that does not mean that it does not bring many complications.
Before we go into all this, this thing is still a phone . And there is a lot to be said after playing with it for a few hours last week. (We also come to Steph Curry.)
The new Palm phone does not look so much like a small iPhone X. His designers say they are not aimed; Instead, their design goals, a small phone that held comfortably in their hands, led to form. Nevertheless, look at it.
Both the front and the back are Gorilla Glass 3, and it is designed for IP68 water and dust protection. There is only one key – the power key – which fulfills several purposes. There's only a 800mAh battery in there, but that's more than enough to run for a long time because it's so small.
It's obviously tiny; At just 50 x 97 millimeters, it's not much bigger than a credit card, but it's 7.4mm thicker. It's in your hands in a way that makes you instantly nostalgic for the old days of smaller phones. It weighs 62.5 grams, and it's easy to believe you'd forget the thing in your pocket.
Being so small, there is no room for a headphone jack or for wireless charging; It has a single USB-C port. And yes, there will be one more thing you have to keep.
It is not a very powerful phone, by design. It has a tiny 3.3-inch, 445-ppi LCD screen, big enough to check and type information, but not big enough to really get you working on it. The rear camera is 12 megapixels, and the photos it takes seem passable, but not great. There is also an 8 megapixel selfie camera.
The Palm phone has a processor we've seen on other low-end phones – the Snapdragon 435 – paired with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. If you know anything about Android specs, you probably know that this is not super powerful – but since this phone is so small, there are fewer pixels to drive, so it felt fast enough when I tried it.
Palm (and yes, it's very strange for me to refer to this company as "Palm") has made a number of software changes to make Android 8.1 work better on a tiny screen and to make sure it does better distracts.  It does not have great specifications, but it does not need them either
There is a single virtual button on the bottom. You tap it once to go back, twice to go home, and long press on it to get to the multitasking screen. Because there are no volume buttons, you must swipe down the Quick Settings panel to adjust it. And since there is no fingerprint sensor, Palm has written a custom facial recognition feature that uses the 8 megapixel front camera. I can not say how safe it is, but my idea is a traditional PIN would be much safer. The power button has a dual function to start Google Assistant. you press it for a long time.
Instead of the traditional home screen and app list set up on most Android phones, the Palm phone only has a vertical scrolling hexagonal grid of apps. Long press on one of the icons will give you a large selection of shortcuts available for this app. (App shortcuts are one of the least-used features in Android.)
The only real gesture I could really find (besides the fact that this new phone is tiny like a Veer or Pixi) is what happens when They swipe up from the home screen. You'll see a list of apps in an area where you can create a letter for the search. It looks like the graffiti areas on old PalmOS devices, all the way to four app icons in the corners.
But no, this is not a phone inspired by PalmOS or webOS in any significant way. This company has adopted the name. They've talked to me about their ethos for a long time and it's interesting, but they talked about "reinventing" a Palm ethos rather than bringing it back.
The core of this ethos is something they call Life Mode. (Or, because the founders are dads, hashtag daddy mode.) More than any other feature, Life Mode is on the Palm phone, which makes this a "time well spent" minimalist phone Activate mode by tapping on a Palm icon will activate Do Not Disturb and Low Battery settings.
In Life mode, yours will turn off Notifications obviously changed, but Palm also turns off wireless radios .The cellular and Wi-Fi radios only turn on when the screen is turned on. (Bluetooth also turns off, but stays on when turned off This is a much more aggressive method of disabling notifications and rejecting incoming calls, so Palm can see the phone for about eight hours without the Life mode being activated. So if you turn it on, it's expected that the Palm phone will have a very long load time.
Oddly enough, the Palm phone does not support the latest version of Android, which incorporates a number of Digital Wellbeing features. The company tells me that there should be no conflict with these Android 9 Pie functions. Maybe an update will come in the future, but it is a mistake for now.
Here's the other thing to know about the Palm phone: it's very a Verizon phone. From the way it's sold, to the software that's on it, to the wide range of accessories that are developed for it at launch, it has the wearer's fingerprints everywhere.
For people who know something about Palm, there is a deep and rich irony to the Verizon partnership. Verizon declined the first Palm Pre and sent him into explosives purgatory on launch. Verizon also moved a bit of a bait-and-switch to Palm when he suggested that it would strongly support the Pre Plus just to get all its attention and marketing dollars to the Motorola Droid.
However, the Palm phone comes with a handful of Verizon apps, but not as many as I expected. The most important of these is Verizons Message + App for sending SMS. It's a awful-looking app that comes with a lot of scary advertising "features" and just a really killer feature: it automatically syncs text messages across multiple phones with the same phone number.
Verizon's NumberShare feature is the linchpin on which the Palm phone works. It becomes an "extension device" for your main phone sharing its phone number. This allows calls and texts to get through. The Palm phone is primarily intended for Android users – iPhone users could use this but since the Palm phone itself is an Android phone itself, will not be their iMessages on this Get device.
You may also find that this is a Verizon jam, as the Palm phone comes with a wide range of accessories: cases, lanyards, bracelets, Kate Spade clutches. There is an amazing amount of money in phone cases and Verizon certainly wants to make sure that it gets some.
This brings us to Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors, who is a creative strategy director of the company. Palm says that he is not paid for it, but is actually an investor. His main input is the development of accessories, he says, and he will also be involved in marketing. Palm insists that he "went to work" to test accessories, and is not just a creative creative director in the style of Alicia Keys, Ashton Kutcher, Justin Timberlake, Nick Cannon and will.i.am.
Curry was previously included in ads for Apple and Vivo. Most of his recent tweets are from an iPhone.
I've been reporting on the original Palm phones since the early 2000s, starting with my days at TreoCentral and continuing to PreCentral This is my next one, and The Verge . I met my wife for a common obsession with Palm devices. I ran Palm's largest online community. I have a drawer full of old Palm devices (some of which have never been released before) and still on Twitter as his innovations heralded many of the "new" features of smartphones. So when I say that this new Palm phone is not like the old Palm phones. I speak from experience.
Palm has a story that is largely untold and largely forgotten, yet deeply rooted in the products we use today. Palms Design has informed the smartphone you are currently using. Palm engineers work in the big companies that make products that you interact with every day.
This new Palm phone is not directly connected to it. No Palm employees work in the new Palm, and apart from the fact that the old Palm was the last company that seriously sought to sell tiny smartphones, this new Palm phone does not have much to do with the software aesthetics of the old Palm. Even the new Palm logo does not remind you of the old Palm.
I'm not thrilled because this new Palm phone has its own ideas that fascinate. Is this product a luxury? Absolute. It is a phone only for people who already have phones. Still, the idea of having a small phone that could make you stop being extremely online is convincing.
I do not know if this new Palm phone is the way to reach that goal, but I'm glad to see that some companies are ready to try something different on smartphones rather than just getting bigger and more powerful  And hey, if the new Palm phone is not sold, that would be a very good thing for Palm.