Stephen Curry slides the gadget onto his arm. Encased in a spandex sleeve, it goes up past the New Testament quote tattooed on his right wrist–“Love never fails,” in Hebrew–and lands on his forearm below the short sleeve of his gray linen shirt. Curry breaks into an approving grin. “I can see I’m going to wear this when the time is right,” he says of the accessory. He’s gotten into road cycling lately, and he exuberantly mimes the act of glancing at the device while chugging from a water bottle.
Dennis Miloseski and Howard Nuk smile, too. The Silicon Valley design veterans, who look the part with neatly trimmed beards and head-to-toe black wardrobes, have invited Curry to their San Francisco office on this July afternoon to solicit his opinion. Curry isn’t merely a one-man focus group; the Golden State Warriors point guard and two-time NBA MVP is an investor in Palm, the company they cofounded, and carries the title of creative strategy director. Besides capital, he’s providing them with advice and—as Palm’s public face—promotional value which might be worth millions in itself.
Hold on—Palm? The once-mighty, now-defunct maker of the pioneering 1990s personal digital assistants and, later, smartphones? Not exactly. This is a brand-new startup, which has borrowed the original company’s name and at least some of its ethos. Its debut product, the device Curry has affixed to himself, is itself known as the Palm. It resembles a smartphone, makes calls, and runs Android apps, but it’s remarkably diminutive—more like a few stacked credit cards than the Hershey bar–size handsets of today.