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Treo 700p Smartphone Nightmares

Just bought two (one for my partner and I) Treo 700p Smartphones from Verizon yesterday and I have played with it for about 8-9 hours now in various ways. So far I have a lot of hope in the unit; I have had a LOT of great experience in the past with Palm hardware and OS's and some of the design decisions made with this phone are clearly very smart.

However, this thing's software is riddled with bugs. First and foremost, the phone has major stability problems. The camera/camcorder software frequently freezes on start (blank white screen), and other miscellaneous software (contacts, calendar, hotsync) will cause the phone to reboot itself spontaneously without any warning. Occasionally, inserting my 1 GB SD card will cause the phone to "hard freeze" for 10-15 seconds -- sometimes it reboots, sometimes it comes back. This is true of both phones though I have a lot more contacts and data on my phone and its seems to be more unstable than my partner's.

The phone "power" button actually only affects whether or not the cellular antennae is active. Pushing it has no affect on whether or not the Palm OS is on (so it can't save you when an included or third-party app. gets stuck). The only way to reset the phone is using the button under the battery cover which I mention below. This is my biggest complaint.

The bluetooth interface for sending and receiving files can enter an infinite loop by the user trying to change the viewing mode while the phone is searching for devices. There's no way out and the phone has to be soft reset.

Doing a soft reset on this device requires turning the phone over, removing the battery cover (being careful not to let the battery fall out) and pushing the reset button with the stylus. It's something like juggling but a lot less fun. I wouldn't mind so much if I weren't doing it once an hour.

Despite being an Internet capable phone and having a nice web browser, the device has two HUGE flaws. Blazer, the browser, will allow you to download any file to your SD Card (good) but once it is on the card, there's no way:

  • Move it
  • Look at its size
  • Delete it

It's on the card, taking up space but it might as well be in a black hole (bad). There is no file manager included with this Palm OS of any kind. The only way to delete the .zip files I downloaded was to download the third-party FileZ file manager. I called VZW's DS Customer Support and went two levels up in the tech. support chain with the ticket titled "How to delete a file?" before someone could tell me that the only way to delete a file from the SD Card would be to use a desktop PC and buy an SD Card reader/writer. WTF?

On a related note, despite having broadband access EvDO with this phone and there being widely available sites from which Palm software can be downloaded in a matter of seconds, there's no way to actually get the .pdc files out of the .zip files you download from a site on the phone. You are forced to use a PC. Not a huge annoyance but still very surprising. All the storage space and computing power is there to do it; it's just missing, entirely.

Oh, and since you can't extract .ZIP files, good luck downloading zipped office documents from the web or emails.

And finally, the pTunes audio player included with the phone is crippled. I payed $500 x2 for these things and they couldn't even manage to include the full version. I had to pay $25 x 2 to download the pTunes with all the features including Ogg Vorbis support.

Is someone at Palm listening? How did this thing get past quality assurance? Should I return my phone before the end of the Verizon 15-day trial period?

(cross-posted to brighthand forums)


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 27th, 2006 01:04 am (UTC)
Return it
Palmsource have no clue.
Mar. 20th, 2007 01:42 am (UTC)
Treo 700p woes
Mine is spontaneously rebooting whenever I click 'calendar'... I've already done a hard reset ONCE this evening.

What a PITA.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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Jason D. Clinton

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