Long before Apple’s iPhone swept the world by storm, Palm and Blackberry devices were the go-to gadgets for tech-savvy consumers who wanted to stay connected to the web, documents, content and data on the fly.
And while the iPhone came along and upended the smartphone industry as we knew it a decade ago (ultimately running those once iconic phone-makers out of business), we’ve so far witnessed an insurgent “coming back to life” of Blackberry devices running Google’s Android OS and built by the Asian smartphone-maker, TCL.
It’s now the Palm brand which may be coming back to life in the form of a new smartphone by the end of this year.
New Federal Communications Commission and Wi-Fi Alliance filings confirm the all-new Palm-branded smartphone produced by TCL has been provided to regulators for field testing.
Above and beyond the model number “PVG100” (and its associated operating frequencies), the FCC filing doesn’t provide any additional details about the device, as outlined in an Android Police report this week.
The Wi-Fi Alliance filing, however, appears to offer a few more details about PVG100, confirming it will be a phone running the Android 8.1 OS.
Additionally, while PVG100 will have Wi-Fi connectivity onboard, it’ll only be capable of operating at the 2.4GHz frequency, and not 5GHz like most modern hardware, which suggests the Palm phone will be a budget device.
News of a Palm-branded phone coming to market after all these years is not new. A TCL executive hinted in an interview early last year that at least one Palm-branded smartphone would be arriving sometime in 2018 — perhaps on Verizon’s network in the U.S., according to previous reports.
TCL — a firm that manufactures televisions, smartphones, electronics and also owns the rights to produce Blackberry-branded smartphones like the KEY2 and all-new Evolve X — also acquired the Palm brand from its previous owner, Hewlett-Packard, before reorganizing it under the new Palm Ventures Group, according to the FCC filing.
Given the lack of details in today’s report, it’s unclear what exactly TCL has in store for the second coming of Palm, however the firm is unlikely to fully revitalize the brand by offering a whole new family of devices.
Much like the few BlackBerry-branded smartphones produced by the Asian OEM, Palm’s won’t be coming back with its original webOS operating system, but more than likely a customized UI overlaying Android 8.1, just like the BlackBerries.
There’s no question that Palm (with its iconic devices like the Treo and Pre) was one of the most well-known smartphone-makers of its time. And though Apple’s iPhone is largely believed to be the catalyst of the brand’s penultimate demise, it’ll still be interesting to see how TCL’s Palm-branded phones stack up against the good-old PDAs of old.