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Palm’s back, and it’s tiny.

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The new Palm smartphone—the aggregation and artefact are aloof “Palm”—is a diminutive little Android buzz that’s advised to accord you a added portable, beneath confusing addition to your capital Verizon smartphone. It’s allotment of a abeyant trend of anti-distraction accessories that I’m actually blessed about appropriate now, although its awe-inspiring sales action (you accept to additionally accept addition Verizon phone) may complete its appeal.

And…it’s Palm. While the new Palm, a startup formed by ex-Samsung and FrogDesign advisers with money and abetment from TCL, has annihilation to do with the aggregation that fabricated the PalmPilot and webOS, the cast still has a lot of ability for earlier techies. It stands for ease, simplicity, clarity, and vision. It additionally stands for adamant cardinal stumbles, but it’s never been accused of not actuality brave.

“You accept this following, and you accept the affection about what the cast originally stood for,” new-Palm architect Dennis Miloseski told me. “But you accept a bearing of bodies who never accomplished Palm. So what we would like to do is attending at how the cast can be reinvented in the appropriate way.”

First, the buzz itself. The Palm, by Palm, is a baby Android-powered us with a 3.3-inch, 1,280-by-720 screen. Given the concrete admeasurement of the screen, that makes for an crazily aerial 445 pixels per inch. It measures 3.8 by 2.0 by 0.3 inches (HWD) and weighs 2.2 ounces. It’s mostly black, with either a argent or gold surround. It costs $349, and it’s advancing out in November.

That’s a lot of specs. The key actuality is how it feels, and it feels…fun. There’s assuredly a buzz that fits in your aback pocket, or your bread pocket, again. There’s an armband for it, and it’s waterproof, so you can booty it swimming.

But also, actuality small, it’s beneath immersive than your accepted smartphone. It’s beneath suck-you-in compelling. That’s the point.

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“Our smartphones accept angry into tablets and supercomputers,” Miloseski said. “We are no best arresting up conversations in coffee shops. We are no best affiliated to the complete world. We are absorption with technology.”

The UI looks added like the Apple Watch than it does like Android—it’s a scrolling arrangement of app icons that you can tap through. Because the awning resolution is decent, the apps architecture well. There’s a accepted Android window adumbration for quick settings, and a abounding app drawer at the bottom. The draft keyboard is as big as it can be on this baby a device, although Palm encourages you to use Google Assistant articulation entry.

The anatomy is minimalistic. There’s no headphone jack; you’re declared to use wireless headphones. There aren’t alike any aggregate ons, although you can remap the ability on to ascendancy volume, if application the aggregate ascendancy on the window adumbration makes you too nervous.

Palm anticipation through what bodies actually charge their phones for aback they’re out. Cameras are a big deal, so it’s put 12MP capital and 8MP front-facing cameras on the device.

Under the hood, the Palm runs Android 8.1 on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 with an X9 LTE modem that supports all of Verizon’s bands. Aback we say it’s a Verizon exclusive, it’s a concrete Verizon exclusive—the nano-SIM central is non-removable, and it’s Verizon only.

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The accent has 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. It doesn’t accept a microSD agenda aperture because you’re not watching video or arena adorned games, and 32GB can authority a lot of music. There’s no fingerprint sensor, so you’ll charge to use face unlock. And it’s activity to angular on LTE, because it’s bound to 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, which is generally apathetic and crowded.

The 800mAh array is a problem, and I anticipate that’s a big allotment of why it’s actuality pitched as a accent device. It has 3 hours, 20 annual of allocution time, about bristles and a bisected hours of LTE music streaming, and about eight hours of archetypal use with its Activity Mode off.

About that Activity Mode: Is it a way to get about application a actual baby battery, an anti-digital aberration feature, or both? Probably both. It disables the phone’s radios aback the awning is off, although you can accomplish abiding assertive notifications draft through. That both extends array activity and prevents that bling-bling-bling Pavlovian acknowledgment we all have.

“What Activity Mode alludes to is, for you to amount your animal relationships and things that are real, and how technology can advice abutment them against the added way around,” Miloseski said.

The buzz has a decidedly able apostle for a tiny device, and alarm affection is excellent.

“I anticipate we are entering a voice-first world,” Miloseski said, hopefully.

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Palm vs. Palm

In case you aren’t accustomed with Palm, it was the complete cast of the aboriginal handheld accretion era, in the 1990s. Palm PDAs were the aboriginal affordable, accessible handhelds, eventually evolving into the Palm Treos, the aboriginal boilerplate smartphones. The aggregation staggered in the mid-2000s, though, on an old story—it had agitation afterlight its 1990s-era OS for a added affiliated world. But it had one added abundant abstraction left.

When the Palm Pre smartphone appeared in 2009, it was an complete revelation. Palm’s webOS was worlds added avant-garde from the Android of its day and, for a hot second, advised to be the accurate abeyant adversary to Apple. (It helped that the Palm of the time was abundantly run by ex-Apple employees.) The Verge’s Dieter Bohn, conceivably the world’s greatest webOS fan, credibility out that in 2011, webOS had a action interface, wireless charging, card-based multitasking, and a ton of added appearance it took its competitors bristles years to adopt.

But Palm was grotesquely mismanaged. It was alone able to defended Sprint as a carrier partner, and Palm and Sprint agents never got along. Aloof as webOS was accepting started, the aggregation was awash to HP, which was activity through a aching and antic alternation of CEO changes and alone the accomplished project. Eventually, HP awash the cast to TCL, maker of Alcatel and BlackBerry smartphones, in 2014, and TCL has sat on it for the accomplished four years.

Enter new-Palm founders Dennis Miloseski and Howard Nuk, who were arcade their abstraction for a tiny quasi-smartphone about Silicon Valley and fell into a chat with TCL, who were adorable for article to do with this Palm brand. The annual meshed, and TCL absitively to authorization the Palm name to the bearding startup and body their phone.

That’s an important point—this isn’t a TCL phone, not the way Alcatel phones are TCL phones. And it isn’t actually a Palm buzz in any faculty of chain with Palm of old, although there’s a massive Easter egg in the UI for Palm fans. Swipe up from the bottom, and you can go to app shortcuts by scrawling a letter appearance in a audibly Graffiti-like argument access area.

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I’ve been affronted and afflicted by the apple for the accomplished year or so, but at the aforementioned time I’m absorbed to my smartphone. Don’t adjudicator me too harshly; I’m like the accepted fat aliment critic. But I’ve been aggravating to accumulate an eye out for new accessories that let bodies break connected, but alleviate the asphyxiate of connected notifications a bit.

Republic Wireless’ screenless Relay is one: It connects you to your family. Punkt’s MP 02 high-end articulation buzz is another. Now this one is a third. I’m acquisitive there’s a trend here.

My abhorrence is that amount is activity to get in the way—that accepting a beneath confusing world, weirdly, will become the arena of the rich. Both the Punkt and Palm accessories amount $349, which is about $200 added than what a lot of the readers allurement me for simpler phones appetite to pay.

It’s acutely unintuitive, because you anticipate that simpler and abate things should amount less. Unfortunately, as Punkt explained to me, there are massive economies of calibration complex with big-screen smartphones—it’s actually cheaper to accomplish a abominable 5-inch Android slab appropriate now than it is to accomplish a well-designed LTE articulation phone.

Palm’s persona and business abide forth this theme. Miloseski and Nuk arise to be massive hipsters, and the business is abounding of young, attractive, flush bodies demography their Palm phones out for an evening. If the Punkt abstraction is about a fiftysomething accumulated controlling actuality able to go for a barbecue with their ancestors after actuality on Slack, the Palm abstraction is about twentysomething Brooklyn citizenry accomplishing Active Activity Stuff after accepting sucked into arena Alphabears.

To address to that market, the Palm has to be cool, and I anticipate it is. I mean, I don’t apperceive from cool, but this is a tiny, jewel-like affair with a UI that looks like watchOS, and which is activity to appear with a ambit of covering cases including a tiny Kate Spade wallet.

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So the Palm buzz is a tiny smartphone that you’re declared to use as a accent phone. Actuality comes the weirdest part: You can alone buy it as a accent phone. You charge already accept a primary Verizon band to use it, and it alone works with a appropriate SIM agenda alleged NumberShare that syncs your cardinal to the device. The buzz costs $349, or $17.04 per month, additional $10 per ages for annual on top of your absolute Verizon annual line.

This is a actually activity smartphone, remember. It’s not a Bluetooth angle or any affectionate of complete accent device. The charge to accept a capital buzz is added conceptual (and financial?) than technological.

The Palm works abundant bigger with an Android buzz than with an iPhone, because of iMessage. If you accept a primary Android phone, you can accompany your aforementioned Google account, download all your key apps, and get your texts on the Palm phone. If you use iMessage, you’re screwed.

Meeting with Palm and Verizon guys, I joked about how a $650 smartphone additional this affair equals the amount of an iPhone XS, which is true. Now Verizon aloof needs to action a actually acceptable $650 Android smartphone. The carrier has a big gap amid the $480 Moto Z3 and the $750 LG G7 in its lineup.

I accept a continued memory, and Verizon’s action for the Palm buzz reminds me a little too abundant of addition bedevilled Verizon product, the Microsoft Kin. The Kin was a texting buzz that Verizon assassinated by charging it account fees like a smartphone.

Verizon assured me that there is actually annihilation in accepted amid that acquaintance and this one. (Natch.) But what they do accept in accepted is actual unintuitive plan pricing. The actuality that this can’t be awash as a standalone accent is so very, actual awe-inspiring that I abhorrence it’s activity to anticipate bodies from affairs it.

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We’ll be accepting the Palm buzz in November. Check aback again for a abounding review.

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