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Finally: Treo 650 Sprint & Unlocked ROM Updates!!!

After many months of Treonauts waiting, palmOne has finally released the ‘new & improved’ official Treo 650 ROM updater for the Sprint and Unlocked version.  In an email, palmOne stated the following regarding each version:

Treo 650 Sprint CDMA
“Users can now access the Sprint software update and installation instructions.

The software update (version 1.12) provides improvements in several areas including:

  • Enables Bluetooth Dial-Up Networking (DUN) – allows a Treo 650 to act as a modem when paired with a Bluetooth enabled laptop.  (Use of this functionality requires the selection of an appropriate pricing plan from Sprint.)
  • Adds support for more Bluetooth carkits including Acura, BMW, Chrysler and Toyota Prius (see all compatible car kits)
  • Reduces post-dial delay before a call is connected
  • Provides additional ways to send a SMS message from the Missed Call Alert or Call Log 
  • Updates VersaMail to version 3.1 to enhance stability and add improvements

Now there's a new user guide that incorporates the changes after running the Treo 650 Updater: Treo 650 User Guide (PDF)

The update also includes enhancements from the previous 1.08 update released in March 2005.  The Customer Support page on the palmOne web site contains additional information.”

I guess that we should be happy that after waiting nearly 7 months for it, Sprint have finally made good on their promise to enable DUN…  Meanwhile, the other improvements will certainly allow more that one Sprint Treonaut to enjoy their Treo 650 to the max.

Early user reports have been very positive and signal that:

  • Memory management ‘may’ have been improved further
  • Keyboard lights brighten and dim along with the screen
  • Dialling out has become dramatically faster (but still ‘small’ lag)
  • Voice dialling delay is completely gone

Treo 650 Unlocked GSM
“Users can now access the Unlocked GSM software update and installation instructions.

The software update (version 1.13) provides improvements in several areas including:

  • Improved memory management -- includes non-volatile file system (NVFS) improvements that optimize memory handling and free up more memory.  palmOne implemented a NVFS system 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.  In the original implementation, NVFS stored each record in 512 byte blocks.
  • This software update 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.
  • Overall voice quality improvements and enhanced call clarity 
  • Updates VersaMail to enhance stability and add improvements 
  • Latest carrier settings files

I’ll be going through the motions of updating my Treo 650 unlocked ROM and add to this post with the results shortly but in the meantime please let me know how you get on with your own updates.

Finally, alas, there’s still no news on the Cingular Treo 650 updater but most people I speak to keep telling me ‘very soon’…

The update process itself went smoothly and I used the “Alternate instructions for users that cannot clear 15MB of free space on the smartphone”.  The only thing that I did after creating a ‘Temp’ user name was to set the HotSync to ‘Do Nothing’ for all my Calendar, Contacts, Tasks and Notes (right-click to ‘Custom’ in HotSync tray icon) a small additional step that saves time and ensures that the updater stays away from this critical data.  Also, a minor detail, in the instruction palmOne does not tell you how to then go about deleting the ‘Temp’ user name that you created but it’s only a very simple two click process which is explained in “Change or delete your device's User Name”.

What can I say after the updater installation? OMG!!! This absolutely rocks! Just to see that I’ve gone from 8MB+ of available free memory (after moving pretty much all of my apps to the card with PowerRun before the install) to 16MB+ is absolutely awesome! Evidently with 3,000+ contacts the previous 512 byte blocks were seriously affecting me…  It’s like getting an entirely new Treo 650.

Treonauts like to be updated on a regular basis

Posted by Andrew on June 16, 2005 at 09:49 PM

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» How-to: Upgrade Locked Cingular GSM Treo to an Unlocked GSM version from .: UNEASYsilence :.
Have a Treo? Hate the Cingular branding, and all their extra unnecessary programs? Tired that they drag their feet to issue a system update? Want to use your phone on another carrier? Here is a step by step guide to unlocking your Cingular Treo, and... [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 17, 2005 3:41:13 PM


by A. Davis | Jun 16, 2005 11:00:03 PM

Maybe I'm just reading between the lines, but Sprint also recently announced their EVDO rollout. While the Sprint 650 doesn't support EVDO, the rollout itself includes a lot more network capacity (something Sprint has severely been lacking in) and improves their existing 1xRTT network. I find it ironic that they released the promised DUN update so quickly after announcing their EVDO rollout which indicates they were waiting for the extra network capacity before allow users to DUN on over...

by A. Davis | Jun 16, 2005 11:03:35 PM

Oh, and I have it on good authority that the Cingular (AT&T wireless business) update should be forth coming soon. I won't speculate any farther, but about two weeks ago I saw an email from a PalmOne engineer to a Cingular corporate sales rep that said we could expect it in three weeks. Considering the timing of the Sprint and unlocked GSM releases, I can only hope I'll see it soon. Then again, the email said three weeks... and we all know how release dates go... especially with PalmOne. :)

by PhilippaC | Jun 17, 2005 3:55:42 AM

Anyone know if the unlocked gsm patch is suitable for unlocked treo's in the UK? I'm a bit nervous of trying it out!

by Tony McHugh | Jun 17, 2005 5:36:26 AM

Just logged onto Treonauts today and noticed the upgrade was available - did it in less than 30 mins, easy and best of all when I restored the old user name and the third party software I didn't even have to go and dig out the unlock codes again. I should mention this was following the path for upgrading when I did not have 15MB free. Love this blog by the way, read it everyday.

by Mark Daunt | Jun 17, 2005 7:22:16 AM

Just updated my UK gsm unlocked all seems fine.

by Tony McHugh | Jun 17, 2005 8:01:15 AM

just noticed after the rom upgrade my memory increased from 2.2MB to just over 9MB...Brilliant!!

by Lou | Jun 17, 2005 10:09:50 AM

The link for “Alternate instructions for users that cannot clear 15MB of free space on the smartphone” is broken

by Andrew | Jun 17, 2005 10:43:05 AM

Thanks Lou - fixed it...

Cheers, A.

by Sean | Jun 17, 2005 12:21:47 PM

What exactally is a Unlocked GSM unit?

by Andrew | Jun 17, 2005 12:31:09 PM

Sean - the unlocked model is a Treo 650 GSM which will accept _any_ SIM card from any GSM enabled wireless carrier worldwide - in the US this is Cingular/AT&T and T-Mobile.

It is particularly useful for international travellers who would like to reduce the cost of their calls by buying a SIM card on a local basis.

Cheers, A.

by Sean | Jun 17, 2005 12:34:36 PM

Thanks. I didn't know if I needed to get that update, but guess not. Just need the Sprint update.

by Hank | Jun 17, 2005 12:39:20 PM

Alternate worked for me. VersaMail now actually works with ActiveSync! I got 5 MB freed up.

So now that we have more usable Treos would you have rather waited 6 months without a 650 for them to get it right of go with the last sixth months of pain and discovery.

One question, with DUN does this mean I can get rid of PDANet!

by Andrew | Jun 17, 2005 12:47:20 PM

Hank - yes with DUN now enabled on Sprint you can get rid of PDANet but only if you plan to use DUN exclusively over Bluetooth.

If you want to also have the option of DUN via cable (for example because your laptop does not have BT built-in) then PDANet is still the simplest option.

Cheers, A.

by Lee | Jun 17, 2005 1:17:58 PM

how about something for us on VERIZON with treo 650

they can start by fixing the volume of the earpiece, which is WAY TO SOFT even on max. setting....

by Jeff | Jun 17, 2005 2:21:30 PM

Does anyone know of a reliable and affordable means of getting the AT&T/Cingular Treo "unlocked"? I have worked the customer service people over, told them I will be travelling international and that I would like to use pre-paid SIM cards. They will not give up the unlock codes. PalmOne won't do it as they say that Cingular's lock is proprietary. Any help?

by Dan Witt | Jun 17, 2005 2:34:15 PM

Here is a link to ChangeName. The link on the Palm website does not work.



by A. Davis | Jun 17, 2005 2:34:44 PM

Jeff - It helps to be in good with a corporate sales rep that has access to pre-sales tech reps. I'm responsible for our corporate account and my sales rep got me the unlock code for my phone through a technical sales engineer. Unfortunately, I can't tell you a magic unlock code that just works... there have been some forum posts about this at TreoCentral, however the unlock code for mine (provisioned through AT&T Business Wireless Division) was based on my mobile number and another number that I don't know how they obtained. So, depending on how you got your phone (through Cingular and a personal plan or through the AT&T Wireless Business side of the house), you might put in a request to your sales rep. Of course, with a business account it never hurts to mention that you might be buying 10 or 20 more of the units to roll out corporately... but not unless they help you unlock your phone. :)

by Ben | Jun 17, 2005 3:42:03 PM

Does anyone have any information on when T-mobile might be coming out with the treo 650?

by Tim | Jun 17, 2005 3:49:26 PM

There is a hack, I found via MAKE ( http://www.uneasysilence.com/how-to-upgrade-locked-cingular-gsm-to-unlocked-gsm/ ) that loads the unlocked Treo 650 firmware on the Cingular 650.

Then inherits all the fixes and them becomes unbranded, which is an obvious plus.

by Mike | Jun 17, 2005 8:40:36 PM

Quick question, you mentioned that the sprint update has the bluetooth car updater that would now work with the Toyota Prius. Does that bluetooth update applies to the Unlocked GSM? I have unlocked GSM and make sure it works with the bluetooh Prius

by Jake | Jun 17, 2005 9:11:36 PM

Wanted to know from the true treonauts if they have surfed the web with both the Sprint Treo and the Verizon Treo.

Is Verizon network speeds justify the considerable increase in monthly fees over Sprint?

by A. Davis | Jun 18, 2005 4:38:36 AM

[Editor's Note: This comment has now been expanded and included in a full post at http://blog.treonauts.com/2005/06/cingular_treo_6.html ]

Well, thank goodness it worked. :) My charger was at home, so I had to wait to do the update after I got home this evening. As it turns out, I've been sync'ing via bluetooth for so long that I didn't realize my sync cable was bad, so I was forced to wait for it to work over IR, which was painfully slow... but in the end it worked (more on this later). I followed the instructions from UneasySilence. Here's a simple run down:

Pre-req that UNEASYsilence's instructions left out: The GSM update page at PalmOne mentions upgrading a few things like DocsToGo and Zap2016 (these were the only two listed that applied to me) before doing the upgrade. On my system, I upgraded both of these to the latest version.

1) I started with an AT&T (Cingular, but without the Cingular logo on the case) GSM Treo650 with the firmware. I sync'd over bluetooth and backed up my system. I have a few extra SD cards, so I took one and blanked it out.

2) I downloaded the 1.23 upgrade referenced in the instructions. I unzipped it and had a new "PALM" folder. I copied the folder straight to the SD card. I then set my email clients (GoodLink and Snapper) to not auto-retrieve, turned off my radio, removed my SIM card, and removed my primary SD card, then did a soft reset.

3) The phone booted up and I popped in the SD card with the 1.23 update and followed the prompts. At one point, you have to click OK and it appears to do nothing, but just click it once. If you wait 10 to 30 seconds, it proceeds. I saw the progress bar, some scrolling text, then it reset itself prompted for my language, reset again, prompted to setup the digitizer, reset again, etc.

4) After all was done I popped in my SIM card and checked the phone version... it was at 1.23. Perfect so far...

5) Next I downloaded the 1.13 Software Updater (for firmware 1.28) for unlocked GSM phones from the Palm website and unzipped it.

6) Next I went into Palm Desktop and created a new user called UPGRADE.

7) First, I removed the SD card containing the 1.23 upgrade and my SIM card, then from my PC ran the executable that does the update (this is where I found out my USB sync cable is bad. I'd been sync'ing over BT for so long, but after loading 1.23, I couldn't get a bluetooth connection working properly. Thus, with no BT and not USB cable, IR was my only choice (thank goodness I had choices). I setup hotsync on both ends to use IR and let it run. For me, this process took close to an hour. I'm sure it would've been much faster via the cable.

8) The upgrade instructions tell you to sync and go through the reset hoops, then return to the installer and click next to go to step 2 of 2. I did this and it prompted to restore my data. At first, I was a little paniced as it said it was ready to "restore data for user UPGRADE", but I clicked next anyway and was presented with the choice to create a new user or use an existing one. I chose my normal sync ID and let it run.

It restored all my data, again over IR, in about 30 minutes. When all was done I was quite disappointed to learn that I had only gained about 1 or 2Mb of extra space (went from 6.1Mb to 7.8Mb free). But then I went into SnapperMail, copied all my mail to the SD card, deleted all of my mail from the phone, then restored it back from the SD card. Afterwards, I had 17.2Mb free... quite an improvement.

The last thing I did was to go back to Palm Desktop and delete the UPGRADE user, then perform a final hotsync. I popped in my SIM card and regular SD card, did a soft reset, then went over to PowerRun and told it to re-create all my shortcuts. One thing I found was that I had to re-run Dataviz-tech (which I normally leave in phone memory) and told it again move everything to the card. It prompted about progs already on the card and asked if I wanted to overwrite. I chose yes and all is working just fine.

I now have Firmware 01.28 and Software: Treo650-1.13-ROW. And in my bluetooth settings, I now have a "Dial-Up Networking" option.

Odds are pretty good that PalmOne will make an update to disable this "update hack" and protect precious Cingular/AT&T from unscrupulous individuals like myself. As such, I'm putting both the 1.23 zip file and 1.28 zip files on my website for future generations to abuse, errr... I mean enjoy. :) A copy of the instructions in this email are available at http://palm.nccomp.com/Unlockhack.html. The files (1.23 & 1.28) can found directly at http://palm.nccomp.com/PalmSoftwares.html or linked from the Unlockhack page...

by T. S. Lee | Jun 18, 2005 9:04:44 AM

I upgraded by Treo in Singapore yesterday and all seems fine. Free memory increased from 7Mb to almost 15Mb. The phone also sounds clearer with the Treo bluetooth headset. However, I got a white screen "hang" on 2 occasions today while using Versamail and Phone info while an instant message arrives at my phone. Had to soft reset in both cases. Does anyone encounter similar problem?

by Dean McGearey | Jun 18, 2005 5:30:52 PM

Well about time the "official" patch was released for the Unlocked GSM phones. I am happy to report that for the first time I can transfer without a problem Multimedia texts via T-Mobiles network. I guess the updated carrier settings are to thank for that. Also I note that the Versamail version is 3.0C (unchanged from the unnoficial 1.25 Firmware) whereas the Sprint version is reported as being 3.1.

by Jessica | Jun 19, 2005 3:46:27 PM

Quick question! I'm about to install the newest update for my sprint treo 650 so i can use the DUN with my bt laptop. Is there an additional fee from sprint on top of the fee i already pay for pcsvision for using the 650 as a modem??

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