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March 1, 2005
Cingular Treo 650 Update: Swapping SIM Cards May Not Be Enough
So it has been about a week since my Cingular Treo 650 gave me a horrible case of buyer's remorse.
As I wrote here a few days back, about a week after I bought the device I realized that the voicemail number would change randomly, and rarely into a number that actually dialed voicemail. Much worse, I found that whenever I tried to dial a phone number the device reset itself. My Treo had effectively downgraded itself into a Zire.
So I went to Cingular, swapped the Gemplus SIM card for the Axalto SIM card and still suffered problems. Some of the folks I've spoken with who had similar problems found that once they exchanged SIM cards their Treos worked just fine.
I was not so fortunate.
It turns out that when I restored all the old files and settings onto my Treo, I also restored a file or setting that caused the same general conflict. So even though I had the new SIM card I had the old problems.
If you're in the same boat, be sure to completely uninstall your old desktop Palm software and then reinstall. And you'll need to do a hard reset of your Treo.
Since I use a Mac I was faced with the daunting prospect of reinstalling both the Palm desktop software and the Missing Sync software. As a workaround, I simply located the actual user backup files on my desktop, deleted them, and then the problem went away.
Fingers crossed. I have not had any random resets since wiping out the old backup files, so I will assume my problem is solved.
But before I put this affair behind me, here are a few anecdotes, rumors and lessons that I picked up along the way:
1. Treo and Cingular cleared rushed the Treo out to market too quickly. And it just didn't hurt customers like myself; dealers were also burned because when this problem first surfaced they simply assumed the devices were broken and exchanged them for new devices resulting in lost sales of those new devices (which are in hot demand). Which leads me to...
2. Do the folks at Palm or Cingular ever take a moment to read the Treo message boards like TreoCentral or Howard Forums. Had they done so, they would have spotted this problem early on and saved me and potentially thousands of others a great deal of frustration and wasted time.
3. And why aren't the dealers reading the same message boards? Some of them don't even read the email they get from Cingular because at least two of them had to be educated by their customers. One customer actually brought in a printout of a message board posting to prove that there was a SIM card issue. When the customers know more about the product than the dealers, something is wrong with Cingular's chain of communication.
4. The Palm and Cingular support Web sites could not be less supportive if they tried. Now, if I have a problem with my Treo, I don't even bother going to their Web sites; I just go to the message boards.
5. I've read a rumor that Palm has a software patch in the works for the the Cingular Treo 650.
6. If you've got a Treo that is beyond SIM repair, you might find that dealer is "all out" of replacement Treos. But they may be lying. Yes, there is a rush on these things but dealers are also reluctant to use Treos as replacements because they want to sell them. One customer resorted to calling Cingular dealers as a prospective new customer; once he located a dealer who had a Treo 650, he told them to hold it and when he arrived to replace his Treo, they couldn't give him the old "sorry, we're all out" routine (which they actually tried).
7. I think if Apple does get into the cellular business, it will do well. It has a distribution network of highly trained employees who really understand computers (as opposed to cellular dealers who typically know less about Treos than their customers). And it builds computers that don't crash. PalmSource hasn't figured that one out yet. I did read that PalmSource is looking at Linux as a future OS; this would be a big step forward in creating an operating system that doesn't crash when a software conflict rears its ugly head.
8. Finally, despite all the trouble, despite all the time spent on hold, I do like Treo 650 a lot and Cingular coverage in Escondido is pretty darn good. Fingers crossed.
Thanks for the all comments and emails.
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