Palm was making smartphones before anyone cared about smartphones, but it didn’t survive into the modern era. Its short-lived resurgence with the Pre ended in failure when the firm was acquired and smothered by HP. The Palm name still carries some weight, and manufacturer TCL is planning to launch a new Palm-branded Android device. The latest leak includes all the important details about this phone, which is codenamed Pepito. It’s pretty weird.
The Pepito is not a flagship phone or even a premium mid-ranger like TCL’s BlackBerry products. It runs a Snapdragon 425 SoC, 3GB of RAM, and has 32GB of storage. It’s rumored to be a Verizon device, and it has a limited set of radio bands to support just that network. This device will run Android Oreo at launch, so it could be quite behind the times by the time it launches. Google released the final version of Android 9 Pie several days ago. There’s no mention of Android Go, so this device will probably run the full version.
There’s only one image of the device, and it has a placeholder home screen. The hardware looks like a stretched out Apple Watch with aggressively curved glass that blends smoothly into the chassis. It’s not much larger than an Apple Watch, either. The phone allegedly has a tiny 3.3-inch LCD. Many phones today are more than 6 inches, and even the first Android phones (like the T-Mobile G1) had a 3.2-inch screen. The original iPhone was 3.5-inches. One potential upshot: the 720p resolution should look quite nice on that small panel.
With the modest specs and small screen, you’d probably expect a small-ish battery, but Pepito goes really, really small. The phone is rumored to have a mere 800mAh of battery capacity. The Galaxy Note 9 has been announced with 4,000mAh, and many other phones have at least 3,000mAh. There’s not a lot of space in such a tiny phone for the battery, but this is even smaller than the original batch of Android phones that sported around 1,000mAh.
Pepito has a truly bizarre mix of specs. The SoC, RAM, and storage are all typical of cheap phones. However, the tiny screen and battery make it a niche device. Almost no one wants a phone with a screen in the sub-4-inch space now. Still, this phone is undeniably interesting. It’s a different take on budget Android hardware. I can’t wait to see how Verizon markets this weird little phone.
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