After launching the Palm Phone in 2019, the reincarnated “Palm” is back again with its next new product. But it’s not another smartphone. Instead, the startup that now owns the Palm brand is jumping on the trend of true wireless earbuds. The Palm Buds Pro — yes, yet another “Pro” gadget — are available to preorder starting today for $99, though they’ll eventually rise to an MSRP of $129. For that price, you’ll be getting a set of earbuds with noise cancellation, bass-heavy 10-millimeter drivers, and IPX4 water and sweat resistance.
Palm says the earbuds fit into its “lightweight product philosophy” that began with the tiny, TCL-manufactured Palm Phone, which is no longer available. As for who’s making the Palm Buds Pro, Palm Ventures Group says “Palm manufactures the Palm Buds Pro with support from suppliers based out of China.”
With a quick 30-second perusal of Amazon, I found these earbuds with an identical design (minus the logo). It seems to be a fairly common OEM reference design, though Palm’s buds apparently have more microphones — three on each earbud — than those products. “Our engineers have developed one of the most advanced active noise canceling (ANC) and environmental noise cancelling (ENC) systems on the market,” Palm Ventures Group said in an FAQ on the product. The company says its leadership includes “the designers of Beats by Dre and Samsung’s most popular headphones.”
Palm Ventures claims the Palm Buds Pro deliver “studio grade audio” at their rather aggressive price point. Battery life is rated at up to four and a half hours when active noise cancellation is enabled; switching it off can extend that to 5.5 hours. Including case recharges, you can expect “over 24 hours” of total playback. The Palm Buds Pro have noise cancellation and transparency modes, and as I mentioned above, their six-mic architecture also has environmental noise cancellation to help people on the other side of a call hear you better.
The Palm Buds Pro will start shipping in early November. They only come in black, but Palm Ventures Group will also be selling silicone cases (with carabiners) if you’d prefer more color. They’re up for order on Palm.com now and will be available through Amazon on November 9th — but at that point they’ll cost the higher $129.
I haven’t heard the Palm Buds Pro firsthand yet, so I can’t say how they compare to their very similar-looking Amazon competitors or other options like the Nothing earbuds, which also cost $99. But these things couldn’t feel much more detached from the Palm of old. The Palm Phone at least had some unique qualities to it, even if it wasn’t the first tiny phone meant to keep you from using your big phone.
Speaking of the old Palm, have you watched our new documentary, Springboard: the secret history of the first real smartphone? It’s available now on The Verge app for Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku (with Apple TV coming soon).