Small Ambitions

Is the Tiny Palm Phone the Start of a Big Trend?


This week saw the unveiling of a diminutive Android-based smartphone designed to be used as a secondary device. The small phone, called simply Palm, is marketed as a device for workouts and evenings, as well as a way to take a step back from smartphone dependence.

The name Palm may tug at the nostalgic heart strings of those who remember the original Palm PDAs, and that's certainly the intention, but in reality there's little connection between this Palm and the one from the 1990s. This new Palm incarnation is backed by TCL, which acquired the rights to the Palm trademark from HP in 2014. Another notable investor in the start-up behind the phone is NBA superstar Stephen Curry. He is also an adviser to the company on marketing, usability and social strategy and will act as a "brand ambassador" for the Palm. He's expected to wear the device during pre-game warm-ups and workouts with the Golden State Warriors, providing some high-profile exposure for the phone.

The Palm device has a 3.3-inch display, a size which makes it look like a child when placed alongside most current smartphones. (As a reminder, the original iPhone from 2007 had a 3.5-inch display.) The Palm also has a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera and an eight-megapixel front-facing camera, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of on-board storage and an 800 mAh battery. This is not a powerhouse but a device that makes its size a virtue.

The device also offers a Life Mode feature that will be one of its key selling points. The feature turns off all connectivity when the device goes to sleep, so that notifications will not pop up until a user reactivates it. It could be the start of a digital detox session for many users.

This Palm isn't designed to replace a smartphone. Rather, it's described as a companion device for instances when users would prefer not to carry their regular smartphones to the gym or dinner. In fact, for now it can only be used as a secondary phone and only on Verizon's network, where subscribers must activate it using the carrier's NumberShare service which syncs one number across two devices. At $349, the device is not an inconsiderable cost given it has to be purchased in addition to a primary smartphone. Furthermore, there's a monthly service fee of $10 for Verizon's NumberShare service. This is in line with the additional cost associated with a cellular-enabled Apple Watch.

In many ways, Palm is a unique device. Nonetheless, it still has direct competition, particularly from cellular-connected smartwatches from Apple and Samsung, which are helping to create a market for secondary devices. Given smartphone saturation in most developed markets, network operators are eagerly looking for opportunities to add more lines to existing accounts.

Palm looks like it's a cute smartphone, both in its size and simplicity. And it's always refreshing to see a device hit the market which dares to be a little different. Now the big challenge will be whether people are prepared to make the investment in a companion device. We fear it could be a tough sell, but one thing you can say about this product is that the brand certainly fits the palm-sized concept.

This entry was posted on October 18th, 2018 and is filed under Devices. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed or you can leave a response.

Posted By Raghu Gopal On October 18th, 2018


Comments
(There are no comments yet)
Leave a Comment

Hot News

Team Tweets

CCS Insight
RT @nickmcquire: Here’s my latest blog assessing #GoogleCloud’s #AI strategy on the back of its #LetstalkAI customer event last week in SF.…
Follow CCS Insight
Shaun Collins
RT @GSMA: Finalising your entry for #GLOMOAwards 2019? In this video, Chair of the Judges @shauncollins shares tips to make your entry stan…
Follow Shaun
Ben Wood
@DaveLeeBBC Sobering thought...
Follow Ben
Martin Garner
Regulation of Facebook now seems inevitable but, for someone like Verhofstadt to say this publicly, is a symptom of… https://t.co/AKzCpaGo7T
Follow Martin
Geoff Blaber
Good to see the UCI so firmly focused on the critical issues in cycling. Nothing to see here https://t.co/YG3NvU08KM
Follow Geoff
Marina Koytcheva
RT @aashenden: #accessibility is not a minority issue: #AI is bringing new possibilities to support both those of us with disabilities, as…
Follow Marina
Nicholas McQuire
We’re going to see more of this as the conflict btw privacy & data collection for security purposes intensifies in… https://t.co/Zz7ekYca4K
Follow Nicholas
Angela Ashenden
@sharonodea @aunder @AndrewGrill @Geek_Manager Yes! Will try to find you at lunch!
Follow Angela
Kester Mann
CCS Insight’s mobile buying survey reveals willingness to trade in mobile phones and propensity to buy devices in n… https://t.co/C2rRaQss1D
Follow Kester
George Jijiashvili
@WeAreROLI Cheers guys!
Follow George
Laura Simeonova
RT @benwood: P20 devices testament to Huawei's ambition in smartphone market. Consistently improving design, capabilities and appeal of its…
Follow Laura
Katie Taylor
A bleak but worthwhile read: https://t.co/mmAu2Ne3q9
Follow Katie

Recent Blog Posts

Blog Post
Google Cloud Ups Its Enterprise AI Game San Francisco Event Highlights Real Progress Google Cloud h... Read more
Blog Post
Amazon's Wireless Play with Apple Deal Underlines Amazon's Crucial Role As an Online Retail Ch... Read more
Blog Post
BBK Vies for Pole Position in Smartphone Market World's Second-Largest Smartphone Maker Puts the Heat on Sam... Read more
More blog