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Palm 700p woes continue

I've been a longtime and loyal user of Palm devices dating back to when the company made software for the Newton. While there have been bumps in the road through the years (as there have been with every technology brand I've used), the manner in which the widely documented problems with the Treo 700p have been handled is just abysmal.
Written by Marc Orchant, Contributor on

Update: The update for Sprint customers has been released (as suggested in the last post to the Palm blog last week). Apparently a hard reset is required so make sure you have you have your data backed up before doing the upgrade. I'd suggest reading the comment thread on this post at mytreo.net before proceeding. No joy for us Verizon users yet.

I've been a longtime and loyal user of Palm devices dating back to when the company made software for the Newton. While there have been bumps in the road through the years (as there have been with every technology brand I've used), the manner in which the widely documented problems with the Treo 700p have been handled is just abysmal.

The company is not doing itself any favors, especially after the announcement of a new product category that has not been greeted with anything resembling universal admiration and interest (in other words, the Foleo is no iPhone). It has been almost exactly one year since I acquired a Verizon Treo 700p and there is still no guaranteed date for a firmware update to address problems with Bluetooth pairing, system hangs, application switching delays, and other usability issues.

Palm has repeatedly promised release dates. Then recanted. Promised again, And then "apologized" while providing no insight into the nature of the delays, the specific issues that will be corrected, or any creativity in providing relief to an increasingly frenzied group of ticked off users who are ready to abandon the brand as soon as their contract lock-in expires. Some are so angry they're talking about paying the walk-away fee!

I feel for the blogger named Paul Loeffler who has been put in the position of taking the brunt of the body blows being delivered on the Palm blog. Given how badly this has all been handled, I'm almost beginning to suspect that there isn't actually a real person named Paul. I think it's a Betty Crocker-like construct of the marketing or PR folks at the company who apparently don't get the basics of blogging.

After promising an update by May 28, the post in which that promise was made was "updated" late in the day to say, "oh so sorry... we're not actually shipping". In an update. Not a new post that would have shown up in people's RSS aggregators. Pretty cowardly or clueless if you ask me (I honestly can't figure out which it is). The comment thread is long, angry, and increasing in both of those vectors by the minute.

In the mean time, more recent devices from the company have been introduced and updated and still 700p owners wait. Sprint 700p users may see an update on or around the 4th. Verizon users (victims?) like me? No idea. Today's post (a day late and more than a dollar short) says:

The Treo 700p maintenance release (MR) is expected to be available on Monday (June 4th) for Sprint users via the palm.com website. We will post an update here on the blog with a link to the MR once it is live. We don't have a specific date for when the 700p MR will be available for Verizon Wireless users at this time.

I currently have two Treos in use in my household (650 and 700) and am just aghast at how badly this company is stumbling at a time they need to be executing flawlessly to brace themselves for the iPhone avalanche and increasingly strong alternatives from existing competitors like Nokia and RIM.

What a shame.

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