Palm-branded smartphones could return this year

Palm’s smartphone return appears to still be on track for 2018. Last year, an executive at TCL confirmed that the dearly departed mobile brand would be making a comeback as part of the smartphone conglomerate’s portfolio, and with a little less than five months left in the year, the “PVG100” has hit the FCC and Wi-Fi Alliance.

The handset was spotted by Android Police, but we don’t really have much more to go on than a name and a couple of Wi-Fi bands. As the site notes, however, the absence of 5GHz support leads one to surmise that this won’t exactly be a barn-burning flagship. The handset also looks to be running Android 8.1 — not really a surprise, given that Android Pie is still limited to Pixel and a smattering of other devices.

We’ve reached out to TCL for more information, but I don’t anticipate hearing much until the phone is officially official. Meantime, I’d expect we’re looking at something similar to the company’s recent BlackBerry brand reboot. That is to say, some stylistic choices that evoke bygone products like the Treo or Pre, in hopes of triggering some smartphone nostalgia buried deep inside our lizard brains.

Like the KeyOne, however, the homage will only be skin deep. After all, can you really have a true Palm device without Palm OS webOS? Sadly, the latter is mostly found on LG TVs and refrigerators these days, but perhaps a stylish Android skin could help trigger some of those smartphone memories.

TCL’s owned the Palm name since 2014, and the relative success of the reborn BlackBerry line could be exactly the motivation the company needs to dust off the old brand.