The new Palm phone is basically a Verizon-exclusive smart pocket watch running Android Oreo

It literally fits in the palm of your hand.

Credit: Palm Ventures Group

We've been reading about the specter of a Palm reboot for a while now, so Monday's release of a new handset with the company's iconic square logo on the back wasn't really news. But it still has its surprises:

  1. It doesn't have an actual name. It's just the "new Palm phone."
  2. It runs Android.
  3. It's Verizon exclusive.
  4. You need to have another Verizon mobile phone to activate it.
  5. It costs $350.

So the new Palm phone isn't really a Palm phone at all. Heck, it's not even really a phone. Sure, there's a 4G LTE chip in it, but it's no more a phone than the Apple Watch is. It relies on Verizon's NumberShare service to act like a phone when your actual phone isn't around.

Android, not webOS

As you'd expect, the new Palm isn't quite like any Android phone on the market today, with a teeny display and other differences. Here are the basic specs: 

  • Display: 3.3-inch LCD, 445ppi
  • Processor: Snapdragon 435
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Storage: 32GB
  • Battery: 800mAh
  • Main camera: 12MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • OS: Android 8.1

As you might guess from the display size, it's small. Compared to the original iPhone (which had a 3.5-inch display), the new Palm is downright tiny:

  • iPhone: 115 x 61 x 11.6mm
  • Palm: 96.6 x 50.6 x 7.4mm

It kind of looks like an iPhone, actually. The corner are dramatically curved like Apple's original rounded rectangle, and a single visual home button is positioned below the screen. The back has a Palm logo in the center, with a vertical camera array in the top right corner like the iPhone XS. It also weighs just 62 grams, equal to the weight of 3.5 Note 9's.

The new Palm runs Android Oreo 8.1, but it's nothing like the Android on a Galaxy or Pixel phone. For one, there are icons all over the home screen, and you'll need to swipe to find the one you're looking for. And true to Verizon's reputation, it's loaded with carrier apps.

Because it runs Android, you can download and install apps from the Google Play Store, but its 3.3-inch screen will preclude most of them from being very usable. The button on the bottom is responsible for much of the navigation, including back, home, and recents, while the power button summons Google Assistant. It also makes use of Android's shortcuts, available by long-pressing on an icon.

Designed to get you off your phone

If all of this sounds like a watch, you'd be right. The new Palm isn't meant to replace your phone (and really, it can't), it's meant to supplement it. The idea is that anyone who buys one wants to use their phone less. With a Palm in your pocket you won't carry your giant phone around as often, and because the experience is so stripped-down, you won't use it as much.

To drive that point home, the new Palm includes a setting called Life Mode, which you might call Extreme Do Not Disturb. It essentially turns your Palm phone into an emergency device, shutting down not just notifications but also Bluetooth and LTE while the screen is off. The idea is that you'll turn on the phone only when you need to make a call, at which point the cellular radio will switch back on. Whether that works as advertised or actually gets people to put down their phones remains to be seen. 

What this means to you: The irony of the new Palm phone is that it's asking you to add another screen to your life to reduce your dependence on screens. Most people who would consider buying one will probably already have a smartwatch, and at $350, it's not exactly an impulse purchase. But then again, failing to find an audience could be the most Palm thing of all. We'll see if there's any interest when it launches in November.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Michael Simon

Michael Simon

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?