Make Mobile Mobile Again With the Palm Phone

The advancement in cell-phone technology has truly been incredible to witness over the past two decades. Where in the 1990s cell phones were the size of a brick, weighed as much, and could only be afforded by higher society, now cell phones have evolved to be less than an inch wide, weigh less than a pound, and be more much affordable.

However, what has also steadily increased with cell phones is their size–not so much their weight, but their actual screen size. Every year, we’re treated to the latest and greatest in mobile technology, which usually requires larger and larger screen sizes to accommodate. 

In other words, larger screen sizes have certainly opened up the doors for all sorts of new uses on our cellphones, but not without some sacrifices to mobility. 

The State of Modern Smartphones

First off, the term “cell phone” is barely applicable anymore, as phones have evolved way beyond their capacity to just call people. Now, smartphones, as they’re much more aptly named, can do just about everything under the sun, such as react to facial recognition, tell us how to get to our travel destination, stream our favorite music and videos, take stunning photographs and 4K video, play computer-grade video games, and countless other tasks.

Beyond what smartphones can do on-screen, they can do so much more off-screen. Thanks to audio-capture technology, motion-sensors, and the ability to connect to the Internet of Things (IoT), smartphones can also let us know how many steps we take in a day, how well we sleep, when our next meal should be, and even connect and work in conjunction with other smart devices like wearable fitness trackers and home automation systems. 

You likely know all of this (there’s even a good chance you’re reading this on your smartphone), but it’s important to reiterate because the processing power required for so many different kinds of tasks is largely responsible for one of the modern smartphone’s biggest issues: screen size. 

The Downsides of Bigger Screens

One of the biggest reasons, aside from a reduction in cost, why so many new people were able to incorporate cell phones into their lives starting around the early 2000s was that cell phones were no longer too bulky to carry around.

This is why it’s odd, then, that smartphones are starting to resemble their more bulky ancestors in size, with the past five years alone seeing an increase in screen-size of several inches across most smartphone brands.

While smartphones are certainly still lighter than their predecessors, this leap in screen size has made smartphones much harder to carry around comfortably on a day-to-day basis. Aside from decreased mobility, larger screens also mean more power consumption, which means larger batteries, which means higher price tags for you, the consumer.

Of course, we as smartphone users are also partly to blame for the ever-evolving size of smartphones. After all, we’ve become so reliant on them, we expect our new smartphones to always be capable of more. This results in manufacturers having to cram more and more technology into smartphone bodies every single year. 

This leaves the question: What’s the solution to a capable smartphone that doesn’t sacrifice in size?

Making Mobile Mobile Again

Fortunately, many people are realizing that, while it’s cool to keep up with the latest mobile trends every year, they don’t need their smartphones to be able to stream 8K videos while simultaneously taking front and back photos with perfect portrait mode. Rather, they just need a smartphone that does what they need it to do to help them in their daily lives, such as stream music, record GPS, and have the ability to download their favorite apps. 

This line of thinking has gained enough steam to create a minimalist smartphone movement, led by such companies as PALM with their credit-card-sized PALM Phone. Stripped down to only include the essentials, including a 3.3” screen, 32 GB of storage, a 12 MP camera, an 8 MP selfie camera, the PALM Phone is a great example of returning smartphones to their truly-mobile roots.

Beyond simplicity, these types of phones also cost substantially less than your standard new-model smartphone, often coming in at half or even a third of the price. This reduction in price comes in part from their much smaller bodies, weighing in at just 62.6 grams, in the case of the PALM Phone.

The substantially lower weight and higher durability of minimalist smartphones have also earned them appreciation from avid exercise enthusiasts, such as runners and cyclists, as well as certain on-the-go professionals, including teachers, nurses, doctors, and construction workers. People like construction workers, especially, can take refuge in the fact that minimalist smartphones tend to come with extra protective measures to better secure their smaller size, such as Gorilla glass. 


All in all, people are realizing that new features and new models don’t automatically mean better in the realm of smartphones. These things may be better from a technological standpoint, but if you don’t actually use most of the new features in your daily life, and you haven’t for the past three generations of smartphones, what’s the point of continuing to buy the newest, biggest, and bulkiest model?

If you find yourself only using a handful of features on your smartphone, it may be time for a minimalist upgrade. By ditching your current model in favor of a minimalist smartphone, you can free up space in your pockets, save substantial amounts of money, and pursue your physical hobbies or labor-intensive profession without the worry of breaking your phone, all while still getting to enjoy your favorite apps and features on your smartphone. 

For those still unsure, a good way to dip your toe into the minimalist smartphone movement is to first purchase a minimalist smartphone as a companion piece to your actual smartphone. This way, you can test out the waters, see if you’re satisfied with its performance, and then, if you’re happy, you can transition to using your minimal smartphone as your daily driver whenever you’re ready.

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