Palm used to offer webOS, one of the most unique mobile operating systems out there. But then that light faded, webOS found its way onto LG-branded TVs, and there was plenty of speculation that we’d never see a Palm-branded smartphone again. And then the first hint arrived that things were changing.
Here we are in 2018 and the Palm brand is indeed back, and now it’s a California-based company that’s launching its first device. This is a phone, technically, but Palm is positioning it more like a companion to your actual daily driver. This little device is about the size of a credit card and features a touchscreen, two cameras, a Snapdragon processor, and Android on board.
Palm’s “ultra-mobile” product syncs with your Android or iOS device and can allow you to receive calls and texts, even when you leave your phone at home. It supports Android apps installed from the Google Play Store, and it even has a face unlock feature. It’s IP68-rated for water- and dust-resistance and features Google Assistant as well.
And here’s something we haven’t seen in a long, long time: Searching for an app by drawing a letter on the small screen. Just swipe up from the bottom of the display to launch “Gesture Pad” and you can then draw the first letter of the app or quick action to find and launch it. This panel also helps you quickly launch your music, phone, messages, and other oft-used apps.
The primary new feature is called Life Mode. This allows you to switch the feature on and then the companion device will stop any incoming calls and texts while the screen is off. When you wake the screen back up it will go back to full functionality, and Life Mode can be tweaked to each individual’s liking.
As far as general specs are concerned, the Pixel product has a 3.3-inch HD display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 processor, 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of built-in storage. There is a 12MP camera on the back and an 8MP front-facing camera. The battery measures in at 800mAh, there’s 4G LTE and Bluetooth 4.2 included, and the phone is running Android 8.1 out of the box.
The new Palm phone is priced at $350, and then you’ll need to pay $10 per month to Verizon for its NumberShare service so that the new Palm phone can share your main smartphone’s phone number. The big red carrier is this device’s exclusive home. It launches in November in Titanium and Gold.