So apparently Palm is back in business–this time through a partnership with Chinese phone maker, TCL. But this new Palm phone isn’t like anything you’ve really seen in a long time–notice how I didn’t say, “isn’t like anything you’ve ever seen before.” That’s because we have seen it before–in the early days of smartphones.

The new smartphone by Palm is what TechCrunch is referring to as an “ultra-mobile” device, somewhere in between a smartphone and a smartwatch. It features a 3.3-inch display, runs Android 8.1, is IP68 water-resistant, sports an 800mAh battery, and packs 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, and a Snapdragon 435 inside its enclosure. And it’s priced at $349.

Here’s a comparison picture (provided by Brian Heater at TechCrunch).

I mean, it’s cute I guess?

Why will Palm’s ultra-mobile device fail?

If you’ll think back to the original iPhone, the device featured a 3.5-inch display–a display size the company stuck with until the iPhone 5 when Apple moved to a 4-inch display. In subsequent years Apple has continued to increase the size of the iPhone’s display — where today, the company offers a 5.8-inch, 6.1-inch, and 6.5-inch display across its latest iPhone offerings.

But Jeff you’re asking, why does that mean the new Palm phone will fail? It will fail because it does not appear there is a market for these phones at all. You think the most valuable company on the planet, a company worth more than $1 trillion dollars wouldn’t have an “ultra-mobile” smartphone if there was a market for it? Of course they would. But that market doesn’t exist. 

Think about it: Apple killed off the iPhone SE this year. The iPhone displays are only getting larger. At one point in time Apple said that 3.5-inches was the perfect size for a smartphone screen. Then it was 4-inches. And now, well, it’s pretty much at least 6-inches.

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This market simply doesn’t exist. I give this phone less than a year.


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