A Phone For Your Phone

Hate All of the Giant New Smartphones? Try This On For Size


October 16, 2018 Tech By

Smartphones with big screens are undoubtedly in vogue these days and I get why. Every single TV channel seems to have its own app with which you can watch shows, movies and live sporting events. Then there are the obvious big streaming players, like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video. And then there’s the whole gamer side of things; heck, you can play console and PC games, like Fortnite, right from your smartphone. We spend a lot of time on our smartphones and we want a big screen simply so they see and do more. The problem for me is that my pants weren’t designed to hold a 6.3-inch smartphone. They get tight.

The sad truth (for some) is that there are really no small phones anymore. Or, more accurately, there are no small flagship smartphones anymore. In recent years we’ve seen an undercurrent of smaller, dumber smartphones that are designed to get you to spend more time away from your smartphone. The Light Phone is a great example, which is as small as a credit card but can still make phone calls. The idea is you leave your phone at home and just have this “secondary phone” for the bare essentials.

Palm is another one of these secondary phones, but it’s way more dynamic than the Essential Phone. It actually has a screen (3.3-inch, 445-ppi LCD), for starters, and it can do many of the same things as your current smartphone. It can call and text, and it runs on Android 8.1 operating system can access a wide range of apps, like Google Maps and Uber. It can download and stream music, in case you don’t have a smartwatch and don’t want to take your smartphone on runs. And it also has a 12-megapixel camera, so you can take photos even without your primary phone.

Admittedly, the premise behind Palm is a weird one. It can’t replace your phone – you add Palm to your cell plan so it shares the same phone number, kind of like the Apple Watch with LTE. And, as TIME‘s Alex Fitzpatrick writes, “you can’t even buy the Palm on its own — it’s available only as an add-on to your existing smartphone plan, and, at least for now, only on Verizon.” Basically, it’s designed as a supplement for the times that you want a phone but don’t want to carry or be distracted by your main smartphone. Like when you go for runs or are wearing skinny jeans.

There are other issues, like the price (it costs a whopping $350) and it’s not compatible with iMessage, so iPhone users should probably stay clear. As Fitzpatrick mentioned above, it’s also only available for people who use Verizon, too. But if you’ve got disposable income and you want to use your current Android smartphone less, Palm actually poses a pretty interesting question.

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