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palmOne Makes Semi-Official Treo 650 Memory Statement

Following wide online coverage of the Treo 650 memory debate, palmOne - using TreoCentral as an semi-official communication vehicle - has released the following statement:

"palmOne implemented a non-volatile file system (NVFS) in the new Treo 650 because of the strong benefits it provides: preserving data and applications if the battery runs down, and the ability to change the battery on the fly. The tradeoff for these benefits is that the NVFS uses additional overhead, which results in records on the Treo 600 taking up more space when transferred to the Treo 650.

We believe there is ample memory in the Treo 650 for new users to store their contact and appointment information as well as email and other applications. We do recognize, however, that there is a small percentage of Treo 600 owners who have almost filled the memory on their device, and they will likely have a problem upgrading to the Treo 650 because of the reduced effective memory size in the new file system. Fortunately, there is a relatively straightforward solution: Treo 600 owners can move applications and files to an SD card before beginning migration to a Treo 650. This should make the upgrade process go more smoothly.

We understand that this is not an optimal solution for our power users, and palmOne is committed to providing a great experience for all our users. Therefore, we will work to improve the user experience by doing the following:

  • Work on a system software (ROM) upgrade that will increase memory use efficiency to allow users to recapture most of the NVFS overhead space currently lost to them; and
  • Make available a free 128MB SD expansion card to Treo 650 purchasers on request to help with memory management until the ROM upgrade becomes available . (Details on this program will be posted on the support site in early December.)

To ensure that Treo upgraders take best advantage of SD expansion cards to save data and applications, palmOne will post additional tips on its Customer Support site.

Last month the company released a Software Developer Kit to help software developers take full advantage of the Treo 650 and the Tungsten T5, including memory optimization.

palmOne is committed to providing a great user experience. We will work hard to make the upgrade experience better."

In addition, palmOne has also added a thorough explanation of NVFS in their Knowledge Library.

Now, what to make of this statement?

On the one hand it is great to see that palmOne has taken the matter seriously, that it is committed to developing some "system software" solution granting Treo owners 'full' use of their memory and to also take corrective action by providing a free 128MB SD card.

On the other, it is regrettable that palmOne is still using some of the same 'spin' on the issue:

  • "Ample memory for new users":
  • "Small percentage of Treo 600 owners who have almost filled the memory"
  • "Not an optimal solution for our power users"

Furthermore there are some incongruencies from a technical and business standpoint.  On the technical side, I have to assume that the current data allocation of 512 bytes on the Treo 650 is considered 'optimal' and it is therefore not immediately obvious to me how changing this with a new "system software (ROM) upgrade" would provide a better overall solution.  On the business side, there will presumably be significant development costs for this "system software upgrade" and naturally also additional costs providing a free 128MB expansion card.  Would it not be more cost-effective for palmOne to forgo such initiatives and instead invest (what some have estimated to be as little as $6 per unit) in a full 64MB upgrade on the Treo 650?

Below is a quick poll to allow you to provide your own views about palmOne's proposed solution and statement as well as to share these with your fellow Treonauts.

The palmOne Memory Solution
1. How satisfied are you with the memory solution presented by palmOne (system software upgrade + free 128MB SD card)?

Very satisfied - palmOne have done a great job resolving this issue
Somewhat satisfied - it's not what I wanted but it is a solution that I can live with
Barely satisfied - I'll take the 128MB SD card but this really doesn't answer my needs
Not satisfied at all - I think it's unacceptable that palmOne continues to squirt around upgrading to 64MB
2. Do you agree with palmOne's statement that there is "ample memory for new users"?

3. Do you agree with palmOne's statement that "only a small percentage of Treo 600 owners who have almost filled the memory" are affected?

4. Do you agree with palmOne's statement that the memory issue affects only "power users"?


Via TreoCentral (Thanks Jonathan)

 Treonauts' opinions matter...

Posted by Andrew on November 25, 2004 at 12:09 AM

Treo News

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by Bryan T. | Nov 25, 2004 1:14:14 AM

I think you're being WAY too hard on palmOne! I understand you would prefer an upgrade to 64mb of memory, but the cost of that would be MUCH higher than $6 per unit. Changing the manufacturing process is like stopping a train. There would also be the additional cost of exchanging the units already sold and dealing with the "defective" units.

Let's look at what they're saying. They've essentially provided a work-around, and are giving away hardware to support it. They've apparently determined that they have the technical ability to reclaim the lost memory through a ROM upgrade.

This is totally fair. A reasonable temporary work around exists, and there is an eventual solution that doesn't involve manufacturing changes.

by Derek | Nov 25, 2004 3:35:07 AM

First, including software that could run programs off the SD card would be a better solution for me than a 128MB card (I already have a 1GB).

Second, while they're tweaking the software; could they please change the camera app not to switch back to internal memory EVERY time I toggle between photo and video? I mean its obvious that it does it: instead of having room for 8+ hours of video, I have room for 10 minutes; but its four or five more clicks just to switch it to the SD card AGAIN.

Oh, and since I'm totally new to the Palm; I have no idea how to move a document from the internal memory to the SD card from the Treo (and don't tell me I have to hot-sync and do it from the desktop or I might have to smack something).

by PJ Arts | Nov 25, 2004 3:36:23 AM

I hate to say this, but I do believe p1 when they say the majority of Treo owners they talk to don't have the concerns of the "Power Users." Let me explain before the howling starts:

1) p1 sold a TON of Treo 600's.

2) Being generous, I would say that no more then 10% - 15% of those Treo buyers haunt these blogs and websites.

3) We are, by nature, more inquisitive, more demanding, more experimental and more vocal...as a result we seem to be lot more then we actually are

4) The vast majority of buyers got them as gifts, through their companies, or as a "Vanity purchase." It was the latter that really pushed PDA's out of Geekdom and into the civilian world when the Vx was released, and every Exec just HAD to have one. They didn't really leverage them...but they had to show them off.

5) An example of the 'usual' Treo owner:
Tonight, my brother-in-law from Maryland came up for the Holiday. He is a high-end techie, working for the NSA in Washington. A year ago, he was in the market for a smartphone, primarily to get eMail and phone in one package. Needless to say, I convinced him to get a Treo, and he's been very happy with it. However, this is another case of ignorance being bliss. After almost a year, he didn't realize that he could assign specific ringtones to specific telephone #'s, use the Treo SD card as a flash drive, play MP3's, etc. It does his eMail and he can get calls. On top of that, he does his calendar and contacts on it. THAT's the typical Treo owner.

Now...having taken the one side, allow me to be devil's advocate and take the other:
It is the fact that this is the typical Treo owner that is the real problem. The majority are will never realize how much power is in their hands...never leverage it...never evangelize to others or get excited enough to get Palm religion.
Palm has got to focus on educating the 'typical' user of how to get the most out of his/her purchase, and them build Treos/PDA's that can fulfill those educated needs.

OK...enough insomnia for one night. I'm gonna try to get an hour or two of sleep before I have to get up and deal with all the visiting relatives.

by Jonathan Greene | Nov 25, 2004 9:13:16 AM

I think the majority (obviously not the readers generally responding here) of users tend to be the corporate users whoa re using provisioned devices. These will always have more than enough room for the use they are intended for - phone and mobile connectivity. These users won't fall into the trap of installing too much as they most likely won't be installing much at all.

I'd still love to see an upgrade to 64MB, but would be satisfied with a free card (not that I'd be using it much with the larger cards I already have).

by Fred | Nov 25, 2004 10:39:02 AM

O.K.,now I have to ask the question:
Should I wait for the software fix for the 650 and see how it really works or should I go ahead and buy a 600, given that it has 24 MB of memory.
I've gone from a Vx to a Tungsten T and was about to buy a 600 when I heard about the 650.
8 MB more of memory is very appealing, but I know the display isn't as good on the 600.
Any inpupt will be greatly appreciated.

by cpaDave | Nov 26, 2004 2:01:28 PM

Again the GSM waiting people are vindicated... by the time GSM is out everything will be fixed and we will get a much better smartphone without any hassles, right?

OK, the swamp I bought in FL wasn't such a good deal, but I think aluminum siding for the house should work out great...

by DPAM | Nov 27, 2004 8:42:47 AM

Guess what guys? They don't care how adequate you think this response is. If they did, the card would have been 1GB and not 128MB, and the promise to fix would have been stronger. But the point of this announcement is so that when a barely-treo-literate customer asks his sprint sales-person about the 'problems' he's heard about, Mr. Sprint has something to say : "Yes there is a minor problem if you're a power users but they fixed it with a free card". This is damage control not a solution. Karl Rove would be proud.

by MovieMan | Dec 1, 2004 1:59:07 PM

How can I get my free SD card?

The comments to this entry are closed.

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