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Verizon’s tiny new smartphone is promoting a distraction-free lifestyle

Global technology and communications company Verizon has introduced the Palm, a phone that aims to promote a less phone-obsessive life.

The Palm, which is about half the size of current smartphones on the market, sprouted from a startup in San Francisco last year. Rather than completely replacing your current phone, it’s supposed to be used in tandem with it.

The idea is that you can take the Palm with you when you want to be less distracted by all the apps and flashing notifications from social media. The little device shares the same number as your main phone, but it’s far less conspicuous.

Your Palm can still run a full version of Android 8.1, along with all the apps from the Google Play store. So basically, the product that aims to keep you away from your phone aims to multiply the number of phones you own by two.

Palm Phone front view

Image Credit: Palm/Verizon

It seems fairly contradictory. The Palm still gives you the exact same amount of access to all the things that distract you on your normal phone, just in smaller size. In fact, its minuscule size just makes it more difficult to read and use.

Have you detected my thinly veiled derision yet?

To be fair, the size does make some things more convenient. It’s easier to carry it while running, or to take with you on a night out.

NBA player Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors is the creative strategy director for Palm. He’s taking his role seriously too, having already designed cases for the phone that allow you to strap it to your forearm during workouts. Fashion designer Kate Spade has also released special Palm clutches.

The release of such a device is hardly surprising. As our lives become more and more inundated with technology, the benefits of a more tech-free lifestyle are being spread widely.

Everyone recognises that a balance between “life” and “technology” is necessary, but we are struggling to figure out how exactly to achieve it.

Some attempt to minimise their phone use by buying a Nokia-style brick phone. However, for many, the idealistic thought of living without a smartphone is a whole lot harder to do in the era of emails and Twitter and the ability to contact almost anyone you need to at any time.

So there is some value in the Palm – it offers the ability to remain plugged in, while being less attached and weighed down by your device. You’re far less likely to spend hours scrolling social media or replying to emails on a screen that isn’t designed for you to do so.

You will certainly feel lighter. The Palm weighs in at 62.5 grams, and is just 50 x 97mm – a similar size to your credit card. Of course, the size brings a few restrictions, namely no headphone jack. It comes equipped with a single USB-C port.

Woman holding palm clutch

Photo Credit: Palm/Verizon

The most interesting feature of the Palm is its ‘Life Mode’. When selected, the mode ensures that you won’t be disturbed unless you choose to be.

In Life Mode, notifications and wireless functions will turn off and Wi-Fi will only be activated when the screen is on. This means no phone calls, or text messages, and battery that will feel as though it lasts a lifetime.

If nothing else, it’s an interesting attempt by Verizon to solve what is a big problem. However, it’s more a problem of self-control rather than size.

The device will cost US$349 and will be available in the US, on the Verizon network only, from November.

I’m still not entirely convinced. This Twitter comment sums up my thoughts quite well:

Perhaps someone should just design an app that teaches self-control.

Lead image credit: Verizon/Palm

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Comments (1)

    A. Hege

    Wednesday 24 October 2018

    If it has the ability to do Mobile Hotspots, then it would be a great phone replacement. You can use a tablet for data consumption when needed. Something like that should return the demand for the 7 to 8 inch tablet, my favorite form-factor for data consumption.

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