TCL missed the boat with Palm by going small instead of big

Something happened recently that was just kind of sad for a longtime fan of mobile technology. A new Palm phone came out. And it looks like a joke. Maybe it’s the phone you’ve been waiting for, but I highly doubt it. The new Palm phone is a tiny 3.3-inch “companion” phone that doesn’t even work without another active phone on Verizon.

What Should It Have Been?

I think with a revival of Palm you should have gone back to the beginning. Imagine a new Palm Pilot running Android. Yep. A Pilot running Google’s amazing software. Give me the full effect too. I want a massive phone, built like a brick, huge battery, and great stylus integration.

Sound familiar? It should. The Galaxy Note 9 is a beast that checks all those boxes and has almost zero competition. When it comes to stylus first Android productivity monsters, Samsung is sitting all alone. I’d had much rather Palm make a niche device that makes sense like the Note than to have some oversized smartwatch device.

Nostalgia will only get you so far. Palm would have to really bring it to take on the juggernaut of Samsung’s Note line. It couldn’t be a me too phone. The TCL owned company would have to be committed to making this a flagship from the start. Which would mean specs galore just like the Note.

Let’s follow this workshop idea all the way through. The “Pilot” would have to have 8GB of RAM, at least 128GB of storage with expansion, massive screen, and a ballpark 4500mAh battery. That puts it on parity with the Note for the most part. Oh, and throw in wireless charging for Qi pads.

The new Palm Pilot can’t just be all hardware though. It has to have great software to match. I’d have loved to see them really work with Google and offer an Android One device to match what Samsung is doing. Bring Google’s office suite of Docs, Sheets, and Slides to the forefront of the experience. Let me take notes from the lock screen integrated with Google Keep. Have the stylus move me within presentations screens inside Slides.

It would also be cool if Palm could work their old Foleo idea into a DeX alternative. Give me a sweet docking experience that launches me into Chrome OS when hooked up to peripherals. With the recent amalgamation between Google’s operating systems, this one has to be on the roadmap. How great for a nerd like me to see Palm bring it to the market!

Would it work?

Short answer…maybe. The Note is pretty cemented in the market for this kind of device, but it also doesn’t have an equal to give it a run for its money. The road wouldn’t be easy and TLC would have its work cut out for it to succeed. However, the company has done a decent job of accepting the similar resurgence of BlackBerry as a niche product line that necessarily doesn’t have to move multi-million numbers.

Regardless, I know the Palm that we now have doesn’t do its heritage justice. Palm was a true pioneer that deserves a better return to the smartphone world than this.