PalmOne moves to ease Treo 650 memory gripes

Handheld maker will provide software update for smart phone in effort to bump up memory capacity.

In an effort to address customer complaints about the Treo 650's memory capacity, handheld maker PalmOne plans to provide a software update for the smart phone's memory.

The Treo 650 and Tungsten T5 use a new nonvolatile memory, which ensures that data will not be erased when battery power runs out. The Milpitas, Calif.-based company also began using a new method of storing data on those devices, which has some Treo 650 owners upset.

The new data storage method saves information in larger blocks, consuming more memory capacity than in previous devices. This is less of a problem in Tungsten T5 devices, which come with 215MB of usable memory. However, the Treo 650 comes with 23MB of usable memory, which some customers--mostly those upgrading from previous devices such as the Treo 600--say isn't enough to store their data.

Some have even said PalmOne didn't let customers know ahead of time that the Treo 650 would have less memory capacity than the Treo 600. PalmOne unveiled the Treo 650 in October and started shipping it Nov. 22.

PalmOne responded to the complaints by posting details about the new memory and data storage method on its Web site and saying it will offer an update to improve the smart phones.

The company said customers complaining about the Treo 650's memory capacity make up a small percentage of overall 650 owners. Still, early buyers of a product often make up a core of a company's customer base and constitute an influential audience.

The updates include a free 128MB Secure Digital card that allows Treo 650 owners to save information on the card. Additionally, PalmOne is working on a software upgrade to improve the efficiency of the new storage method.

Further details on the SD cards will be available in early December, according to the company.

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