Here's A Teeny-Tiny Smartphone To Help You Disconnect

Angelica Greene
October 16, 2018

The Palm phone is about 3.8 inches tall (9.7 centimeters) and 0.3 of an inch thick - roughly half the size of Apple Inc.'s iPhone XS Max and the Samsung Galaxy S9+.

This new Palm is completely reinventing the old Palm.

Instead, it's a new device from a San Francisco start up that has simply purchased the rights to the brand from TCL for its own new ideas. The Palm phones run on Android 8.1 and can be paired with iPhones as well as Androids. Or whatever. With a 3.3-inch display and looking very much like a small iPhone, there's no arguing that this isn't a cute handset, but is it viable?

The Palm shares the same number as the main smartphone and syncs using Verizon's NumberShare, its service for syncing smartwatches to a main smartphone. It's packing 3GB of RAM, a Snapdragon 435 processor, and 32GB of storage.

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Running a forked version of Android 8.1, it has a number of unique software features including a gesture-based single virtual button for navigation along its bottom, a scrolling hexagonal-pattern based apps grid, and a search system that lets you scribble letters onto the screen in one of the few ways this phone resembles the original Palm line up. Again, the phone would not even be worth mentioning if it weren't for that Palm branding.

To do that, the Palm Phone has a couple of interesting features built in.

Verizon adds $10 a month to an existing mobile bill to tap the device's LTE cellular radio so it can sync calls, notifications, and texts with the main smartphone. First off, it doesn't appear that you can buy this phone outright. Being sold exclusively in the United States by the Verizon network, the provider is selling it in the same way as it approaches wearables, as a $349.99 add-on. This Palm will fit in your hand and you won't get a lot of things done with the minimalist hardware, providing the similarity to a kitten, including the powerful attraction some will feel towards it. The point of the device is...uh, unclear. The new Palm is designed for quick, easy access to tasks like listening to music or texting but includes a key feature, called Life Mode, that turns off all app notifications.

It has a special "life mode" that silences incoming calls and notifications every time the screen is off, unless users are on a call, streaming music or using Global Positioning System. Then, you factor in celebrity endorsement by basketball superstar Steph Curry and designer accessories by Kate Spade, and the intention is clear: It's more about pushing a statement than a game-changing product. It's as much a phone for your phone, as it is a phone for you.

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