The Palm smartphone reboot is shaping up to be disappointing

It’s been a long time coming, but it appears that the revival of Palm smartphones is imminent. It looks like, unfortunately, whatever’s in the works won’t be anywhere near as exciting as the Pre was so many years ago.

Android Police spotted that a device called the PVG100 made by Palm Venture Group — now owned by TCL — was filed with the FCC last week and passed through the Wi-Fi Alliance’s certification program back in June. Those are both late stage steps in the development cycle of any new device, so it’s likely we’ll see whatever this phone is in a matter of months.

While the filings don’t reveal much, the Wi-Fi Alliance page reveals two things: first, that the phone will run Android 8.1 Oreo, which is a good sign; and second, that it’ll only support 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, and not faster 5GHz networks, which is a bad sign.

Lack of 5GHz Wi-Fi support should be a deal breaker if you’re spending more than $200 on a phone, and it’s a limitation typically seen on phones in the under-$300 range. So chances are, the PVG100 will be a budget device.

Other that that, we don’t know anything about the phone, including how — if at all — it’ll reflect Palm’s heritage. Are we getting a Pre-style slider with a physical keyboard on the bottom? Or just some generic smartphone with the Palm name on it in a misguided attempt to reconnect with old fans?

One element that might offer some hints: this revival comes from TCL, the Chinese electronics company that’s behind Alcatel, which offers a number of budget phones, and more importantly, behind the last few years of BlackBerry phones, too. TCL’s BlackBerry devices include a mix of touchscreen-only devices and phones with keyboards on the bottom, so it’s possible some of that tech will make its way into a Palm-branded phone next.

TCL purchased the Palm brand back in 2014. In 2017, a TCL executive reportedly said a Palm phone would arrive the following year. And back in March of this year, Android Police reported that a Palm-branded phone was planned for Verizon in the second half of 2018. Judging by these filings, it looks like TCL is on track to hit that timeline.