Smart vs dumb phone

by Volker Weber

While the Treo 650 is still the best smartphone I ever came across, sometimes a "dumbphone" is better. That is why I am currently using my RAZR. Here is the long story:

I have used three different Treo 650s in 2005. The first one was a whitebox model which I never could write about since it had not been announced yet. It worked rather well, with one notable exception: Signal-to-noise ratio was not good. I had too much hissing and the speaker was not loud enough during phone calls. This turned out to be a software problem that was resolved with a few updates. I have had quite a few crashes with this machine but overall the quality was quite good.

The second 650 replaced this unit when the final version came out. The only visible difference was that the y and z keys were swapped according to the German keyboard layout. Treo #2 worked quite well until I hit a reset loop exactly two months ago. The only way to resolve this was to do a hard reset. Not a nice thing to do when you are not at home. Restoring all the files from backup put the machine back into said reset loop. Argh! It took me quite a while to sort out which file I should not restore.

A few weeks ago the space key on Treo #2 stopped working. If I pressed it really hard I could still get a space, but that is not what you like to do all the time. I quickly checked back with my favorite repair shop for handhelds (don't look anywhere else in Germany) and they would have been able to fix it under warranty. However, I would need to send it in for no less than one week. Did not really want to do that. Then the friendly people who keep me happy with all things Palm offered to replace the unit with Treo #3.

The machine arrived Tuesday and I restored all files from SD card. That was a really bad idea. It crashed left and right. Did a hard reset, hooked it up to Lucy and all was nice and dandy after maybe a quarter of an hour or so. At least so I thought. Then in the evening Ute complained I could not be reached by phone. I told her to try again, looked at the Treo and ... it rebooted exactly when the call came in. Bummer.

I removed all non-vital software from the Treo. All looked fine ... until she complained again that I could not be reached. And I had double checked before. Called from my office phone, called from another mobile. No problem. Ute calls. Chrash! I was furious. Treo #2 had worked for months without any problems, and now this.

After the Treo had rebooted, I tried to find out what was happening. You open the phone app, type #*377 and place the call. The Treo answers with a message stating the cause of the last reset:


That is not really helpful, isn't it? But I have a theory now. I have restored all my databases but not the pictures. Since I had linked Ute's contact entry to a picture, the phone app might be trying to find the picture and then crashes when it can't find it. I have now put a new picture on the phone and linked her entry to that picture. Now I only need to dare putting the chip back in.

Update: I just hit the "on" button and the Treo reset when waking up. Same error message, not related to an incoming call. There goes my theory. If you check Google you will finds loads of problems with this error message. My next candidate is the "enable local network time if available" setting.

It just has reset. There goes the network time theory. Calling Treo #4.


favorite repair shop for handhelds (don't look anywhere else in Germany)

100% ack

Andrea Altefrone, 2005-07-28

Had almost the same happening here after installing Chatter Email. Every inbound call would soft reset the Treo, outbound calls were simply impossible because either both keyboard and touchscreen would stop working or because of another soft reset when trying to establish a connection. Haven't figured out the details of the problem yet, though.

Stefan Rubner, 2005-07-28

I work for a telco in USA that provides Cingular service. I've been really close with the guy who is over the wireless sales group and I've heard more problems regarding the 650 than other devices. I had a 180 a couple of years ago (actually, I had 2 1/2 of them - first the flip broke on one and I transplanted a flip from another person's whose screen cracked; that was 1 1/2...) and it had its share of quality problems. I had thought they corrected it with the newer models.

Let us know when/if you test out a Moto Q. I would like to get my hands on one of those with Goodlink when Good releases Lotus integration!

Chris Whisonant, 2005-07-28

After updating my Treo 650 with the last firmware my Sandisk Extreme III 1,o GB SD Card stops working. When you put it in the Treo crashes immediately. The Card works properly in older Palms.

Detlev Buschkamp, 2005-07-28

So far my Treo 650 is behaving, but then I'm still running the OS it was shipped with, and I have only installed a couple of apps. As you know, I have found the 650 to be the best designed product I've ever worked with.

Nick Shelness, 2005-07-28

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