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The Palm smartphone could return this year, but it looks underwhelming

It’s been seven years since you could walk into a phone shop and buy a Palm-branded phone: the Palm Pre 2. And while there may not be the same level of nostalgia for the brand as there is for BlackBerry or Nokia, TCL Communications is on target to release a new Palm-branded smartphone before the year’s out.

This, in itself, isn’t news. TCL had already made the announcement that a device was on the way, but there has been precious little information since. Now Android Police has spotted a listing for a device called the PVG100 appearing in both FCC and Wi-Fi alliance listings.

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There’s not much you can read into either, but one thing seems clear: the PVG100 – almost certainly a model number rather than the final product name – isn’t going to be high-end.

How do we know? Well, the only frequency band listed for the device on the Wi-Fi Alliance document is 2.4GHz. No 5GHz support suggests a phone that’ll target the lower end of the market. Bluntly, if you’re spending more than £150 on a smartphone, you should expect 5GHz support.

Less surprising is that the operating system is currently a conventional Android Oreo 8.1, rather than any kind of reborn form of webOS as seen on previous Palm devices.

Oreo isn’t the latest Android version of course, but given Android 9 Pie is only currently available on a small selection of devices, including the Google Pixel and Google Pixel 2, that’s completely unsurprising. And given webOS only lives on within some LG TVs and fridges these days, it’s even less surprising that TCL are trusting Google with this one.

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But without webOS, what exactly makes this a Palm device? That’s a very good question, and if TCL’s past form with its BlackBerry reboots are anything to go by, then the answer is probably cosmetic familiarity disguising a very familiar standard Android experience.

We’ll know for sure when the device – whatever it ends up being called – emerges in the next few months.

Are you excited about the return of the Palm brand? Let us know on Twitter @TrustedReviews.

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