It was reported last year that Palm, once a major brand in the smartphone world but was eventually pushed out by heavy-hitters such as Apple and Samsung, was planning to release a comeback phone.
Then this past March, reports said this phone would be a Verizon exclusive, to be launched later this year. New details about the comeback phone have now emerged, though they're not too thrilling.
Android Police first spotted that a device with the codename PVG100 made by the Palm Venture Group, which is owned by TCL, was filed with the FCC recently and passed through the Wi-Fi Alliance's certification program back in June. Both of those are some of the final rounds in a device's journey through certification, so it's very likely this phone is coming sooner rather than later.
Palm Phone: What The Filings Reveal
The filings don't reveal any significant specs or features, but they do offer some cause for concern. For instance, the Wi-Fi Alliance listing reveals a couple of things: one, the phone is going to run Android 8.1 Oreo, which is pretty standard for a modern device. Two, it'll only support the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi band and not 5 GHz networks, which could be a sign that the phone isn't the powerhouse Palm comeback everyone is expecting for it to be.
Why A 2.4 GHz-Only Phone Is A Deal Breaker
As The Verge notes, lack of 5 GHz Wi-Fi is a deal breaker for any device higher than $200, though this limitation is typically found in mid-range phones that cost around or under $300. There are a number of benefits to 5 GHz Wi-Fi networks. One of them is that 5 GHz is less likely to interfere with devices also using the 2.4 GHz spectrum such as microwaves or any device that can be connected via Bluetooth.
Save for its limited Wi-Fi spectrum options, not much information about the upcoming Palm phone is currently available, although the lack of 5 GHz Wi-Fi suggests that it's going to be a mere mid-range budget device. That's not too bad, though. There are excellent phones in the midrange category — just look at Xiaomi's stellar lineup of budget devices. However, Palm is trying to stage a comeback in the smartphone market, which seems so highly impenetrable that even Android's cofounder couldn't find much success in it with his own flagship Essential Phone.
Can a mid-range phone put Palm's new phone back in the radar? Time will tell. Hopefully, TCL honors Palm's legacy. Though it's largely a forgotten name now, Palm phones used to be one of the most innovative brands out there, and its proprietary operating system has inspired many of the user interfaces consumers enjoy today.