Long thought dead, smartphone pioneer Palm has been reborn with the launch of a new mobile device (also called Palm) that's kind of a cross between a phone and a smartwatch. The new Palm by Palm is essentially a smaller phone that syncs with your main phone, in the same way a smartwatch does. It's meant to be a way to disconnect from the digital world, but is lugging around yet another device really the way to go about that?
Measuring just 96.6 x 50.6 x 7.4 mm (3.8 x 2 x 0.3 in) and weighing 62.5 g (2.2 oz), the Palm is roughly two-thirds the size of most major phones. Most of its other specs are dialed down too – it sports a 3.3-in LCD screen, a modest Qualcomm 435 processor, 3 GB of RAM and an 800-mAh battery.
But the Palm doesn't skimp on everything. The 12-megapixel main camera is more or less on par with many other phones, as is the 8-MP selfie cam. It's rated IP68 for water and dust resistance, features a face unlock system and runs Android.
Since that small screen might be hard to type on, the Palm can be navigated with voice commands through the Google Assistant, quick action menus, and a gesture pad.
Where things get interesting is in how you're supposed to use it. Palm (the company) says Palm (the device) isn't meant to replace your primary phone, but is intended as a companion for it. After you sync the two devices, calls and notifications will be forwarded to the Palm, so you can leave your bulky phablet at home and just slip the Palm into a pocket when you duck out for a run or a night out.
To back up this idea, the Palm has what's called a Life Mode, where you can mute all but the most important notifications so you can "stay present in the moment." Users can choose what constitutes important, so calls from your spouse will get through while those endless food photos from a friend's Snapchat story can wait till later.
All of that sounds like a noble goal – who doesn't loathe catch-up dinners where everybody is staring at their phone? – but we're not convinced that buying and carrying around yet another mobile device is really the solution.
The text and call sync is also only possible through Verizon's NumberShare, so it sounds like the Palm won't be much use to you if you don't already have a Verizon phone number – or live outside the US, for that matter.
The Palm will apparently be available in November for US$349.99.
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