Palm’s tiny phone can finally be purchased as a standalone device

The return of Palm has been a strange one. It’s the small device no one knew they needed — and to be honest, probably didn’t. When I first showed it to some co-workers, they were actually pretty psyched. If nothing else, the 3.3-inch device was an interesting one. The design was nice, too — if only because it was a pretty straightforward iPhone knockoff.

But enthusiasm died quickly as the reality of the product set in. Among the many complaints was the fact that Palm and Verizon were positioning it exclusively as a secondary device. Users had to tie it to an existing account, which meant two phones with two monthly fees, both tied to the same carrier.

That issue, at least, has finally been addressed. Palm announced today that it can be purchased and used as a primary device. You’ll have to do it through Verizon or US Mobile, but for a limited you can get it for $199 with a two-year plan, which knocks $150 off the standard price.

Whether you should is a different question altogether, of course. I wanted to like the Palm. I really did. Heck, I even attempted to turn the thing into the standalone MP3 player I sorely missed, but there were ultimately too many downsides to the tiny product.

For what it’s worth, Palm is slowly making it better. It’s bringing a software update that promises to fix battery life. That was another one of the device’s big downsides, and would have been doubly so for anyone attempting to make it a daily driver. Fixes are also apparently coming for the device’s subpar camera performance.

Of course, a lot of these problems can be chalked up to being the first-gen product from a new company. But hey, investor and very good basketball player Steph Curry seemed to like it, so that’s something.