Last August, a TCL executive confirmed that the company was gearing up to launch Palm-branded smartphones in 2018. Speaking to a trusted source, we've learned that one such device will be launching on Verizon in the second half of the year; at least, that's the plan for now. Sadly, we don't know anything about the phone itself at this time (well, we know it runs Android), but the fact that TCL is working with Verizon is telling. The carrier was a longtime Palm partner, selling most of the brand's webOS handsets all the way through the Pre 2. Verizon had intended to carry the ill-fated Pre 3, but the phone was cancelled by Palm's then-buyer HP before it could be released in the US.
TCL acquired the rights to the Palm name back in 2015, and it's starting to get something of a reputation for reviving dead and dying brands: the Chinese firm manufactures BlackBerry handsets, which have received a surprising amount of attention in the mainstream press. Perhaps that's understandable, as early smartphones are becoming old enough that we're actually starting to feel - dare I say - nostalgia for them. But does nostalgia translate into sales? If BlackBerry's early figures are any indicator, the answer is "not necessarily." QWERTY candybar devices like the KeyOne have an understandably niche appeal, though. A Pre-style slider phone (we don't know that it's a slider phone - we don't know anything about it) might be an easier sale, especially if it's going to be distributed on a major carrier like Verizon.
If and when we learn more about the mysterious Palm phone, we'll let you know.
[Amazing] hero image by Ryne Hager.