palmOne Fixes Memory Problem on Sprint Treo 650

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palmOne has released a ROM update for the Sprint version of the Treo 650. This includes a number of improvements, the most significant of which makes this smartphone use memory much more efficiently. However, it doesn’t add Dial-Up Networking.

The Memory Problem

Last fall, when the Treo 650 began arriving in users’ hands, they noticed a problem: it couldn’t hold as many applications and files as they expected.

Treo 650 Previous Palm OS models were very efficient about storing data. If, for example, a database entry was only 14 bytes long, it only took up 14 bytes of memory. However, on the Treo 650, the minimum size for such an entry is 512 bytes. This means that the 14-byte entry will take up a full 512 bytes of the Treo 650’s memory.

The update just released by palmOne reduces the overhead of storing database records in the file system. It does so by compacting more than one record into a single 512 byte block. In effect, each 512 block is divided into 16 32 byte subblocks, which allows small and large records to be stored more efficiently.

Other Fixes

A number of other changes were made, as well.

  • Overall voice quality improvements, including fix for voice “choppiness” some Sprint PCS customers experienced
  • Internal setting modification to allow correct access to Sprint Affiliate roaming partner networks (previously released as Sprint PCS Treo 650 Roaming Patch)
  • TTY (also known as TDD or Text Telephone) optimizations and improvements
  • Optimizations for data calls
  • Includes VersaMail 3.0c which provides greater stability and improvements
  • Bluetooth Carkit drivers are now included in ROM (previously released as Carkit Update for Treo 650)

What Didn’t Get Fixed

Unlike most other phones with Bluetooth, the Treo 650 can’t be used as a wireless modem for other devices, like a laptop. This is because Sprint disabled Dial-Up Networking.

According to Sprint, the implementation of DUN in the Treo 650 is buggy, and it was disabled until Sprint could put together a patch that fixed the problems.

This wasn’t part of the ROM update just released by palmOne, but a Sprint representative promised that it will be included in a future update later this year.

How to Get the ROM Update

Treo 650 Updater 1.08 (Sprint PCS branded version) is available now on the palmOne web site. It is, of course, a free download.

If you are not a Sprint PCS customer, do not download this version of the software. It contains carrier-specific requirements that are incompatible with non-Sprint PCS phones.

It is not known at this time when versions of this update for other carriers’ versions of the Treo 650 will be available.

What’s a ROM Update?

The ROM is where the operating system and built-in applications are stored. Changes made to the files in ROM are permanent and will survive the device undergoing a hard reset.

Updating the ROM will erase everything that’s on the device.

Users should be aware that many third-party backup programs are not compatible with the Treo 650.

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