U.S. consumers will be able to purchase the latest Android-powered companion device from the revived Palm brand starting on November 2. Customers may buy the device from Verizon stores and Best Buy kiosks; the gadget will be available with a 24-month installment plan at $14.58 per month, $299.99 upfront with a 2-year agreement, or $349.99 without a contract obligation. There are two color options available – Titanium and Gold. To take full advantage of the device, Verizon encourages customers to subscribe to its NumberShare service. The feature, which costs $10 per line a month, shares data associated with one’s Gmail account, including contacts and text messages, between one’s primary smartphone and the Palm. The functionality works even if a user leaves their primary device at home.
Background: First reports about the new Palm-branded device emerged a few months ago, and succeeding reports provided more details about the design and features of the device. Originally code-named “Pepito,” the Palm is around the size of a typical credit card and sports a 3.3-inch display with a resolution of 1,280 by 720 pixels. A sheet of Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protects the display from scratches and drops while the Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 chipset powers the device. The product also includes 3GB of RAM and 32GB of flash storage. Earlier reports mentioned that the device contains an 800mAh battery, although neither Palm nor Verizon have yet verified that specification. Despite the small size of the device, the Palm is advertised as a highly capable secondary handset and can connect to Verizon’s LTE network, while it also includes a 12-megapixel rear camera and an 8-megapixel front-facing sensor. The device also comes with IP68-certified resistance to water and dust particles, meaning the Palm can survive being submerged underwater up to a meter for a short period of time.
Verizon and Palm repeatedly emphasize that the product does not replace one’s smartphone but it is instead developed to complement it in a wide variety of ways. However, users can still install their favorite applications on the Palm since it ships with both the Android operating system and the Google Play Store. Furthermore, one can use voice commands to control the Palm with the help of Google Assistant. There are also some software features that are specific to the device, such as the Life Mode and Quick Actions shortcuts. Quick Actions reduces the time spent by the user in performing an action, while the Life Mode turns off all the product’s radios when the device goes to sleep, essentially serving as the ultimate airplane mode.
Impact: Verizon claims that the new Palm helps reduce one’s screen time, which should improve the overall wellbeing of its users while still serving as a capable telecommunications companion. Moreover, the device may signal the arrival of more Palm-branded products in the near future, though Verizon has yet to confirm such ambitions. In the meantime, the new Palm is unlikely to ever make its way outside of the U.S. and almost certainly won’t be carried by other network operators in the country given how Verizon is the main party responsible for its existence.