Backlight Problem Afflicts New Treo Models

According to a note on Handspring's Support Site, some of the new Treo 90 and Treo 270 units have a problem with their backlights. They have a defective component that will cause them to fail. However, this won't happen to all Treo 90s and 270s. According to Handspring, "units that operate for longer than six weeks without backlight failure are unlikely to fail in the future".

Apparently, there is no way to know at the time of purchase whether any specific unit will fail. Potentially any Treo 90 or 270 could have the defective component, not just ones from a single production run. The company has declined to say who supplied the defective part.

Handspring will replace all units whose backlights do fail. The company seems to be trying hard to minimize its customers' inconvenience. It will send an advance replacement unit, free of charge, and with expedited shipping. There will also be no charge to return the defective unit.

The company is currently checking its entire inventory to be sure none of them have the defective part. While this is going on, no Treo 90s or Treo 270s are being shipped. Handspring hopes to have shipments resume in two or three weeks.

Of course, the company says all new units are being assembled with parts that have been confirmed to not be defective.

The Treo 270 is Handspring's latest smartphone. Both it and the Treo 90 have a 12-bit color screen that requires a backlight to be readable in most conditions.

Thanks to Eugene for the tip. -Ed

Related Information:

Article Comments


The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. PalmInfocenter is not responsible for them in any way.
Please Login or register here to add your comments.

Comments Closed Comments Closed
This article is no longer accepting new comments.


No problem with mine.

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/24/2002 3:44:32 PM #
I got 6 units when announced without any problems.

Quick question

abosco @ 7/24/2002 3:45:16 PM #
Will these units with the defective parts be replaced with a brand new unit or a refurbished unit like Palm did with the m505?

FBI - Full Blooded Italian


RE: Quick question
drw @ 7/24/2002 10:59:59 PM #
One user reported on that he was told by Handspring support that they will be replacing the defective part in the treos that come back and ship them out as replacements.

I don't like that. You spend $499 and end up possibly getting a unit that may have slipped out of someone's holster while arranging the sprinkler, and it got wet. Or, you might get a unit that was dropped (on carpet so no visible damage, but you never know).

Another thing that's missing from the article is the tidbit that initially, Hanspring support was blaming users' 3rd party software for causing the screen to go out.

(I'm not on a mission to badmouth Hanspring. On the contrary, I like their design and want them to get it right)


RE: Quick question
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/26/2002 2:30:02 PM #
They are replacing with new units, not refurbished.

Unit Replacement

atrizzah @ 7/24/2002 3:43:05 PM #
I love my Treo 90, but I'm very disappointed in how Handspring has handled my replacement request. I sent in my unit about 2 weeks ago, due to the slippery stylus issue, and I still haven't received a replacement. Unlike those who suffer from the backlight problem, I was not offered a free advance replacement. I've called them 3 times to check on the progress of the replacement, and I just sent them an e-mail. So far, I still have no idea when my replacement will be sent. If this ever happens again, I'm going to demand a free advance replacement.

Peace Out
RE: Unit Replacement
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/24/2002 5:41:59 PM #
At least they let you send your Treo in to fix it... (when comparing to my NR70, I've had enough touble with their tech rep. that I've finally opened my NR up and fix it up myself :) )
RE: Unit Replacement
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/24/2002 7:56:40 PM #
I got my replacement unit with RMA, no problem but I noticed that the screen on the replacement unit was not was bright as my slippery stylus original even if they were set to the same contrast and brightness settings so the replacement may not be as good as the original.

In the end I decided that the stylus was too bothersome so I kept the replacement and mailed the original back.

I believe handspring will honor your request but patient is needed as they are probably dealing with this new backlight issue. They could use some help on Quality Control at their third party manufacturing plant.

RE: Unit Replacement
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/25/2002 10:07:03 AM #
When I called about my failed backlight, the express advance replacement policy wasn't in effect, so all they sent me was an empty box (and no prepaid return shipping label, even!). Who knows how many weeks I'll have to wait to get mine back. :(

Treo Backlight

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/24/2002 3:49:05 PM #
I was just talking about the treo backlight when I loaded up this page to see the first headline concerning it. I've had limited experience so far with two treo 90s, and the backlight has a pronounced unevenness, with partially unlit areas and overlit areas.
RE: Treo Backlight
drw @ 7/24/2002 11:16:58 PM #
Yep, at Fry's Electronics they have a Treo 90 right next to a "previously loved" Prism. The difference is striking. The prism is bright and evenly lit. The Treo has a light in the upper right corner, which spreads light unevenly. Reminds me of the light on a legacy cheapo seiko watch back when LCD watches first came out.


My backlight failed within a week

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/25/2002 12:13:29 AM #
I was wondering what the problem was when my backlight died... I just returned mine to the retail store where I bought it and got a new one. Hopefully this one won't have this problem. I am surprised, yet relieved that Handspring is handling this problem keenly. Hopefully they won't have problems of this magnitude in the future.

Seems that quality isnt a priority now.

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/25/2002 12:47:37 AM #
Sonys NR is having problems with Memory stick, handspring with backlit and the infamous static problem with m505.

I guess quality and durability isnt a priority nowadays. Its really risky now to buy a new handheld without waiting for a few months for user feedbacks thats why im holding back with OS5 til most owner of OS5 is happy.

RE: Seems that quality isnt a priority now.
abosco @ 7/25/2002 1:20:03 AM #
Not necessarily... Handspring has a problem with 2 out of 10 products, Palm has a problem with 2 out of 19 products, and Sony has a problem with 2 out of 13 products. I don't know if you can really count the memory stick thing as a problem but whatever.

2/10 = 20%
2/19 = 11%
2/13 = 15%

I wouldn't really say that they aren't devoted to quality, but some mistakes can be inevitable or unseen. All of these problems, (backlight problem caused by defective part, suds caused by static elec. but went unknown because at testing, the area was low in static charge, and memory stick problem is caused by pressing on the keyboard while accessing memory stick) are caused by freak accidental mistakes. These products are quality and are made to last a few years. And even if you are scared it will break, you can always buy a good warranty!


FBI - Full Blooded Italian

RE: Seems that quality isnt a priority now.
iain.collins @ 7/25/2002 8:52:26 AM #
I don't see that i has anything to do with 'quality and durability not being a priority these days'.

In the currenty informed consumer market place things are as quality driven as ever, or even more so (as Handsprings response to a fault with it's products, offering advanced FOC replacements, shows).

It's simply that current technology (software and hardware) is extremely sophisticated and has gotten complicated in a very short stretch of time and complex systems (like cheap to run, highly efficent, safe, comfortable, and environmentally friendly cars) are harder to build than older primative systems (like 50's muscle cars).

I wouldn't worry about adopting OS 5 too soon, as any problems will be easily fixable with an upgrade, though it is reasonable to want to wait before adoping new hardware (like the Oslo) if you want to be sure the hardware has no flaws (like the m505's bad backlight which prompted the m515)

PS: OT - I think Handspring's action in this case has been excellent and has saved them from a lot of bad publicity (as a poor replacement stragegy is exactly the sort of thing that would put me off buying from a company that manufactures hi tech hardware).

RE: Seems that quality isnt a priority now.
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/26/2002 2:26:24 PM #
How can you say something like "quality and durability are not an issue"? Be serious. Do you actually think these companies are enjoying the financail setback these situation cause? Grow up!


Register Register | Login Log in