The $199 Palm mini-phone is ready to stand on its own

Originally introduced as a secondary device, the 3.3-inch Palm can now be used as a standalone phone.

Justin Jaffe Managing editor
Justin Jaffe is the Managing Editor for CNET Money. He has more than 20 years of experience publishing books, articles and research on finance and technology for Wired, IDC and others. He is the coauthor of Uninvested (Random House, 2015), which reveals how financial services companies take advantage of customers -- and how to protect yourself. He graduated from Skidmore College with a B.A. in English Literature, spent 10 years in San Francisco and now lives in Portland, Maine.
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The Palm may be little, but it's ready to venture out on its own. In November, the $350 Palm debuted as a diminutive device that could handle calls and texts, plus a few other tasks -- but only as an accessory to another Verizon phone. Palm has now announced a new version that's capable of serving as a standalone Android phone. 

Verizon is currently offering the new Palm for $199 with a two-year plan; that deal ends on May 1, after which it returns to its original $350 price.

Watch this: Palm is back! But this 3.3-inch device isn't a phone at all

According to Palm, the first version of the phone, the "Palm companion," can not be changed over to support standalone cell service. If you own the older version, however, you can trade it in and receive $199 in credit toward the new "Palm smartphone." 

Preview: Palm's quasi-phone turns heads, but we're still not sure what it's for

In addition to its expanded service capabilities, Palm says the new model has improved cameras and a software update that will extend battery life. The new software will become available to first-generation Palm devices later in April.

Previously, the Palm companion used a primary Verizon cellphone's call forwarding to get calls and texts -- similar to how the LTE-connected Apple Watch works. Though too small for watching video, playing games or extensive typing, we found the Palm good for playing music, recording workouts and other at-a-glance tasks. 

Read: Why a tiny Palm phone comeback makes sense in a Note 9 world

Wacky Palm device is a 3.3-inch 'phone' for your phone

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Palm specs

  • 3.3-inch, 445ppi, 720p resolution
  • 12-megapixel rear camera and flash
  • 8-megapixel front-facing camera
  • 32GB local storage, 3GB RAM
  • No expandable storage
  • 800mAh battery
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 processor
  • Proprietary optical sensor to unlock the phone, but not 3D (not secure enough for mobile payments)
  • One speaker on front
  • USB-C port
  • One button power-lock
  • Gesture controls
  • Android 8.1
  • No NFC
  • Water resistance: IP68