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Treo 650 Updater 1.20 for Unlocked GSM

Palm’s latest upgrade for the Treo 650 Unlocked GSM was released a couple of days ago (currently only available for Windows users with a Mac version due shortly) and after spending some frustrating hours installing the new Updater 1.20 earlier today I can now finally claim that it is complete.

Before I get into the details of the installation I’d like to say that this is the worst documented Updater that I’ve ever had the displeasure to deal with.  Were it not for the fact that I remembered some of the tips provided with the previous Updater 1.13 I would have been at a complete loss as to what to do next – I can only imagine the thousands of Treonauts who will have given up altogether or called Palm’s support team for directions. 

The whole issue that I encountered is relevant to any Treonaut with less than 14 or 15MB of free memory on his or her smartphone – which I imagine is a pretty large percentage of people.  To check your available free memory go to Applications > Menu > Info which should read “Free Space: xx.xMB of xx.xMB”.

On the Updater 1.20 page, Palm states simply that “This update permanently takes up about 0.6MB (600KB) free space. If you use a lot of memory on your device, you may need to remove some data or applications or store them on a SD card before installing the update.” 

However, if you have less than 14MB of available memory I strongly recommend that you do NOT remove any data or applications at all.  Instead, FIRST read and follow the very simple “Alternate instructions for users that cannot clear 15MB of free space on the smartphone” starting at “Create A New, Blank User Profile” which had been provided by Palm for 1.13 but not for 1.20 (?!?!) – I guarantee that it will save you both time and hassle – such as repeated cancelled installs telling you that you do not have the required free memory on your device…

UPDATE: It appears that Palm has now deleted (??) the above support page which explains how you can go about creating a blank user profile and I unfortunately did not copy the page for my own benefit or yours so I’ll do my best to explain the steps here below:

  1. Backup your Treo by performing a Hotsync (plus for safety also backup to SD card using a backup utility such as Resco Backup [free trial available])
  2. Read further below about the “things you should know before you proceed with the Updater 1.20”
  3. Hard reset your Treo (read how) which will erase all of your data and make room available for the Updater
  4. Follow the Updater instructions – you will be asked to choose the “Treo User” you would like to Hotsync to.  Select “Create New User” and call it anything you like (for example: Updater2)
  5. Let the Updater 1.20 run fully on your Treo and complete installation then check to see in Phone Info that the upgrade has completed successfully.
  6. Hard reset your Treo again so as to delete the temporary new user that you created.
  7. Hotsync your Treo again and this time choose your old username to synchronize data with.
  8. Your Treo should now be fully restored and running the 1.20 software.

[NOTE About Using A New User Profile: 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 Palm 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”.]

Other things that you should know before you proceed with the Updater 1.20:

  • Turn off the phone and perform a soft reset
  • Make sure that you have an Unlocked Generic GSM Treo 650 smartphone as this Updater is NOT compatible with any carrier branded Treo 650 smartphones.
  • You’re running Windows 2000/XP (or Mac OS 10.2.6 to 10.4.x when the Mac Updater is released)
  • Are using HotSync Manager 6.0.1 or greater (Windows), or 3.2.1 (Macintosh). This is part of the Palm Desktop installation included on your Treo 650 smartphone CD.
  • Your Treo 650 battery is fully charged.
  • You have at least 0.6 MB (600k) free memory on your Treo 650 smartphone.
  • No SD or MMC expansion card in smartphone. If you run the updater while an expansion card is inserted, you will see an error message.
  • Must be installing the update on a computer with which the Treo 650 smartphone is synchronised (i.e. a user folder for the smartphone exists on the computer).
  • For Exchange ActiveSync (EAS, or wireless Outlook) users: This updater requires you to delete your EAS account, then re-establish it after the update.
  • Finally, make sure your data is backed up!!!  Perform a Hotsync before installing the Updater.  Also, if you don’t already have a backup utility installed on your Treo you may want to download a free trial of Resco Backup and make a backup on your SD card for added protection.

Having said all this, once you know what you need to do creating a ‘Blank User Profile’, taking basic precautions and otherwise following the instructions provided by Palm then the actual installation process thereafter is surprisingly quick and smooth – I was done in about 20 minutes.

Palm promises that the Updater 1.20 delivers many performance enhancements on top of the ones already incorporated in the previous Updater 1.13.  I haven’t yet been able to put all of Palm’s performance enhancements to the test but I can tell you that:

  • Improved memory handling for opening larger web pages: TRUE – now very large pages load much faster in Blazer.
  • Optimized Bluetooth performance and added support for additional headset or carkits*: I’ll need to test all of my favourite Bluetooth headsets again but I quickly paired my Jabra JX10 without any problems.
  • Improved voice quality: TRUE – although it doesn’t happen often, the one person who always complained about voice quality on my Treo 650 was my brother and naturally he was the first person that I called to test.  His verdict: MUCH better.
  • Improved device performance for heavy data usage such as email or web downloads: not yet tested.
  • Includes Versamail 3.1E, the latest version for the Treo 650 smartphone including an updated Mail Service (ISP) list which includes Gmail support: not yet tested.
  • Added support for Gmail attachment downloads via web browser: not yet tested.
  • Improved performance and increased stability with third-party email solutions that are offered directly from carrier partners: not yet tested.
  • Added support for wired carkits: TRUE – now after you pair a BT headset you get the option to choose either ‘Headset’ or ‘Car Kit’ profiles.
  • Updated carrier settings for data connections and MMS or when roaming internationally: not yet tested.
  • Masked password entry in browser to increase privacy: TRUE – now you get the ****** showing instead.
  • Improved customizable voice or sound recordings for specific callers: not yet tested.

Overall I’m feeling rather happy today to have a newly upgraded Unlocked GSM Treo 650 which promises to perform even better in the future – a very nice way to start the weekend.

Treonauts always love to be upgraded

Posted by Andrew on January 20, 2006 at 01:31 PM

Treo 650

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» Treo 650 Update Available from TechMoments
The latest update has been released for Unlocked GSM Models ... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 20, 2006 3:19:10 PM

» Now I Love My Treo Even More! from Omer Khan's Blog
Ask a Treo 650 user what their biggest complaint about their phone is. The chances are that 9 out of 10 will point to the instability of the OS (especially if you use software like VersaMail or Documents to Go). As I’d written in a previous post, I s... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 8, 2006 6:59:46 PM


by Alex Bergonzini | Jan 20, 2006 6:20:35 PM

I upgrade to 1.20-ENA too... ¿ Have you got some lag (blank screen (of death) between the boot and the dialpad screen ?

Do you feel more speed on your apps ?

by Ken Kilfedder | Jan 20, 2006 8:00:53 PM

The Linux Way

I didn't want to wait until monday (when I next get near a windows machine) to do this updgrade.

So I got hold of the Windows installer .exe file, installed Wine and unsheild and went on my way.

# wine Treo_650_Updater_1_20_ENA.exe

Runs the installer, but it stops once it realises you haven't got the Palm Desktop installed. Funny that. I went back to the terminal and hit ctrl-z, to get my prompt back.

# cd ~/.wine/drive_c/windows/temp/pft6f7~tmp/Disk1/
# ls *.cab

These two cab files contain the prc and pdb files you'll need to install on your device.

# unshield x data1.cab
# unshield x data2.cab

will unpack them.

Now you'll need to install all the .pdb and .prc files from all the directories. I used gpilot-install-file for that.

And finally:
# fg

Will let the wine process terminate.

And do you know what.... It still didn't work, but maybe this post will inspire others to try.

by Mac | Jan 20, 2006 8:18:08 PM

Link to "Alternate instructions..." does not show Create a New, Blank User Profile". Searched Palm's site for Updater 1.13 with no luck. Please advise.

by Felipe | Jan 20, 2006 8:44:23 PM

yes, palm should of mentioned it, but any treo user that has ever done a firmware update before should automatically do the empty profile upgrade.

the way i did it:
pc sync.
sd card backup.
hard reset the device.
pc sync, and selected my already created empty profile called update.
ran the firmware update following the on screen instructions.
hard reset treo again.
restored from sd card
hotsync again.

btw, the treo wasnt fully charged, it was around 25%.

by Borszczuk | Jan 21, 2006 4:47:28 AM

WARNING! Please note this upgrade may cause problems and increase the crash factor of your PDA! After I upgraded to 1.20 (GSM/Unlocked) I no longer can use PiLoc software (used to have accented characters) - any attempt to get the accented character via the keyboards causes instant crash. Some other users report "funny things" on SMS class 0 (to be displayed on the MS immediately). Never seen class 0 SMS since upgrade, so I am unable to confirm that.

by Andrew | Jan 21, 2006 6:57:51 AM

Mac - thanks for letting me know.

As I wrote in my updated post, Palm has for some reason deleted the page that explains this in more detail...

Cheers, A.

by sagiv | Jan 21, 2006 8:29:00 AM

MOVE TO 700w

by orr721 | Jan 21, 2006 9:37:14 AM

i have noticed that after the update you can't use Blazer for browsing through Bluetooth (aka reverse DUN). the app switches the network connection to GPRS immediately. anyone experienced this as well?

i can confirm that the update does not work with PiLoc v3.7b localization software.

by Rafael | Jan 21, 2006 10:18:54 AM

Maybe they removed the updater because updating in the alternate manner delineated above will result in your old versions of Documents to Go being re-installed, rather than the new ones the updater is supposed to install. Just a thought.

by Mike | Jan 21, 2006 12:26:27 PM

This Upgrade has SMS/Messagging TIMESTAMPS bug (especially sending across telco vendor).

Hopefully PALM fix it in the next ROM update.

by ck | Jan 22, 2006 3:45:17 AM

The installer doesn't seem to start after the updater files are copied over to my phone, what's wrong? Anyone? :(

by Eric | Jan 23, 2006 1:51:29 AM

The Cingular updater instructions include a link to instructions for GoodLink users (I'm one of those). The GoodLink instructions include the blank profile trick. Check them out here: http://kb.palmone.com/SRVS/CGI-BIN/WEBCGI.EXE?New,Kb=PalmSupportKB,ts=Palm_External2001,Case=obj(38570)

Hope that helps.

by Eric | Jan 23, 2006 1:57:43 AM

PS: the Cingular updater has Versamail 3.1E and it does have a much better supported list, including Gmail. It makes life much easier when configuring your email accounts.

by s.elements | Jan 23, 2006 2:51:59 AM

Any idea when we might expect an update for the Sprint 650?

by s.elements | Jan 23, 2006 5:08:28 AM

Andrew - I'm laying the gauntlet before you: which do you prefer; the Treo 650, or the Treo 700w?

No mincing of words now...

If you could choose one over the other, which would it be? I throw my lot in with the 650.

by Trevor | Jan 23, 2006 8:58:58 AM

If you want to see the instructions that disappeared from palm's site, try the google cache. (If this link doesn't work, just copy the original URL into the google search box and then click on the cached version that comes up in the results.)

by Bruce | Jan 23, 2006 9:47:55 AM

1. After the upgrade, NONE of my Sony-E. BT Headsets will pair; they all work on another unlocked T650 that hasn't been upgraded.
2. There is now a 20 sec lag for blazer to start. Actual web pages are faster after that.
3. Many files for other languages for DocsToGo are left on the Palm. Why doesn't it clean itself up and can I get rid of these?

So I would like to go back to the previous version; how do I do that?

by Andrew | Jan 23, 2006 9:53:27 AM

Bruce - thanks for sharing.

1. You will need to pair all your Bluetooth devices again after the update which should only take a couple of minutes.

2. I also noticed the same Blazer delay but faster page loading.

3. I hadn't seen the DocsToGo issue.

I'd still recommend you stick with this latest update as at least in my case I appear to have much better overall voice quality.

Cheers, A.

by Bruce | Jan 23, 2006 10:27:06 AM

Again, my big issue is the pairing of Sony-E. BT Headsets. The T650 can't discover any when they are put in that mode and I try to pair via the Bluetooth->Setup Devices->Handfree Setup application; as we have always done.

I've noticed other sites referring to "delete the pdb file" before pairing, but don't know which pdb file they are referring to.

I'll need to get this working to help my clients.

I've tested my wireless apps and they are running much faster (data processing).

Thanks, Bruce.

by Philipp Brinkmann | Jan 23, 2006 1:11:29 PM

After I updated my Treo I cant write SMS longer then 160 characters anymore. Has anybody encountered the same problem or does anybody know how to solve this problem?

by Borszczuk | Jan 23, 2006 1:44:08 PM

Bruce - I am able to write SMS as long as prior the upgrade.

by Greg | Jan 23, 2006 2:43:30 PM

Alex, try grabbing the Mac firmware download next time. They require less work to get at the prcs. :)

by phil | Jan 23, 2006 3:11:42 PM


Is this the Palm page you were looking for?

"Temporarily free up a large amount of memory on your device"

by Sherman | Jan 23, 2006 5:34:13 PM

Voice Recording - in Sounds (for Ringtones) or in Camera (to add to Picture) DOES NOT WORK !!!
Also, one would have thought that like on the 600 you could take a picture and decide if you want to send it as a email or mms. NOT ON THE 650 !
Has Palm given in to the providers, who sell MMS usage?

by Oliver | Jan 23, 2006 5:40:09 PM

Funnily, the german update instructions clearly say what to do in case of less than 13MB free memory. Including the hard reset/new user way:


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