The first time I showed the Palm phone to the TechCrunch staff, they were excited. At the very least, it was a unique take on the category, designed to be a second phone for those moments that didn’t require a larger, bulkier device.
But reality set in pretty quickly. The device’s capabilities were severely limited by a number of factors, including size. The biggest issue, however, was a Verizon exclusive that only let users purchase the device as a second handset tied to an existing account.
Back in April, the company announced that the 3.3-inch phone could be purchased as a standalone device — albeit still through Verizon or US Mobile. Today, it’s expanding that, making the handset available unlocked, so it will work with AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and MetroPCS SIMs.
The phone’s available “at only” $350. That’s cheap compared to many full-sized, mid-tier handsets, but cheapness is certainly a relative concept. It still seems like a lot for a second phone, and while it’s certainly adorable, I’d strongly advise against anyone using it as a primary handset. Heck, it’s not even all that great as a standalone MP3 player.
If you’re still interested, you can pre-order it today — and Palm will throw in a $30 leather case with neck and wrist lanyards. It starts shipping in six to eight weeks.