This week’s post is going to be completely different from anything I’ve ever tried here. Today, I proudly assume the mantle of consumer critic. Yes, I’m still a motivational speaker, but I have to hone various talents while venue bookings are finalized.
Like far too many of us, I am addicted to my cell phone. Whether acting like a fool on Twitter or engaging in a few levels of “One Finger Death Punch 2,” that little black rectangle commands way too much of my attention. My self-awareness led me to check out a device called the “Palm Phone.”
The Palm is a device roughly the size of a pack of gum that theoretically replaces your existing phone when you desire to disconnect from your main device. It’s an Android device for those of you who care about such things, so if you favor iToys, you’re going to have a bit of a learning curve.
What attracted me most to the Palm was a feature called “Life Mode.” This is a feature where the Palm doesn’t vibrate, ring, ding, or send you any notifications until you power the device on. One of my biggest problems with my regular phone is that my attention wavers every single time I hear some kind of notification reminder go off.
Before any of you start on about how I could save money by just turning off my regular phone, thus alleviating these quirks: fuck off. I know. It’s uniquely American to throw money at problems we could easily fix by altering basic behaviors, and I got one of these fuckers at a steal, refurbished.
One other thing I should mention is this minimalist approach to device slavery has at least one big fan in Stephen Curry, the course pro for Holey Moley Extreme Mini-Golfing. I think Mr. Curry is also an NBA player, but basketball’s canceled so I’m going with what I can find out on TV and the internet quickly.
Right off the bat, the Palm looks cool. This is what I think most of us imagined phones would look like in the year 2020. It took slightly over an hour to charge and setup was somewhat easy. I say “somewhat” because I’m a dinosaur when it comes to technology, and it took over a day to get this fucking thing to work like I wanted. Even after that, I still couldn’t get it to make a call unless I was on a wifi network.
After consulting a cell phone repair guy, I still couldn’t get it to make a phone call. I’m told there’s a thing called “wifi calling,” but the asshole who lectured me about it for ten minutes at a cell phone store wasn’t very helpful enabling it. So one week after getting my hands on a Palm phone, I have yet to make a phone call.
Fortunately, these days, you’re viewed as an inconsiderate asshole if you actually speak to someone during a phone call. So you’re still good to go texting, emailing, and twitting. Unless you have large fingers—then you’re going to give yourself an aneurysm typing out the briefest remark. Like I said, this thing is small, and you’re going to have certain difficulties with it as a result.
Reading stuff isn’t a problem, though. The screen is surprisingly readable. And for its small size, the Palm’s screen won’t wear your eyes out quickly.
Where I found the best use of the Palm was in an area we all need help: Twitter. If there’s one thing a Palm phone lets you do well, it’s tweet more. And because you’re never seeing notifications unless you turn the damn thing on, you avoid Twitter unless you want to twit something.
During my week with a Palm phone I’d use it primarily before bed. I’d set my alarm for the next morning on the device, turn my main phone off, and put it in my nightstand drawer. I found I spent less time on a screen in the evenings, I slept exponentially better, and my eyes weren’t nearly as strained during the day. I sincerely hope these positive effects were due to the Palm so I actually didn’t waste money on this thing.
In addition to better sleep, I noticed my attention span grew a little more over the week because my attention wasn’t drawn to constant cell phone vibrations. Again, one could probably just turn notifications off on your primary device and accomplish the same result, but then you wouldn’t get the same American feeling of “justifiably” throwing money at a stupid perceived problem.
Theoretically one could use the Palm phone to restrict the amount of telephone calls received. You simply tell parties your phone can’t place or receive phone calls, so people have to text or email if they want to reach you. Of course you’ll need to leave your main phone off and carry solely the Palm with you, but you actually won’t get any calls, Eventually people will get the point and never call again. I guess that’s good for the introverts among us.
At the end of the day, I can’t really recommend a Palm to anyone who’s looking to replace their regular phone with something minimalist or reduce their cell phone footprint. You’ll still end up using your regular phone anyway during the day.
If you’re looking for an overpriced device that lets you act a fool on social media the size of a pack of gum, however, the Palm might be for you. And with just text and email capabilities, you’re bound to say something that will be taken out of context and people will stop talking to you altogether.
On second thought, in our weird virus-riddled 2020, maybe the Palm is the beneficial social distancing tool we all need.