HOWTO: Make that palmOne Treo 650 Even Better!

PalmInfocenter member Derek Kessler (aka PIC's Captain Hair) submitted a interesting article that delves into the recent hacks and modifications created to fix or circumvent some of Treo 650's current limitations. A great amount of help, graphics and editing was further provided by Kent at

Standard Disclaimer: Warning! "techie" supervision required, PIC is not responsible for any possible loss of data or warranty issues resulting from this article or anything here on in...

HOWTO: Make that Treo 650 Even Better!
By: Derek Kessler &

palmOne Treo 650 Treo hacks Bluetooth DUNWhen the Treo community felt left out in the cold by Sprint disabling the Treo 650’s DUN (Dial-up Networking) via Bluetooth connection, one user took matters into his own hands by writing a hack to foil Sprint’s measures. A person nicknamed Shadowmite on the TreoCentral message boards discovered a seemingly simple way to workaround the problem by removing a few lines of code that prevented the option from appearing onscreen. Very clever. So clever in fact that PalmOne apparently copied it as their own creation and released it to the public for download, according to one web site. Whether this really is true or not I can’t confirm.

But wait, there’s more! Shadowmite was only to eager to apply his skill towards other Treo 650 limitations, such as PalmOne’s missing drivers for its WiFi SDIO Card (which was apparently a move to appease the carriers). After realizing that the Treo 650 and Tungsten T5 are practically siblings internally, and the T5 already works with the WiFi SDIO card, he developed a new set of drivers that enable the 650 to work with it. I’m sure the folks at PalmOne, and the wireless carriers will love him for that. VoiP, here we come! No more wireless internet access charges.

-Kent, PocketFactory

  Treo 650 Hacked to Bits!
By Captain Hair aka Derek Kessler
Over at, things have really been jumpin’. Enough people were already hyped over the recent release of the Treo 650, but several were quite disappointed that the NAND flash used for the main memory had resulted in the device having a lower effective memory, especially for those with gobs of small records, such as contacts. But there has been much rejoicing in the past few weeks for three simples reasons: Bluetooth DUN, Wi-fi capability, and patches/custom ROMs.

Bluetooth DUN
For those who are not familiar with the Treo, it has always had the capability to Dial-Up Networking (DUN), where one could use their Treo as a wireless modem for their computer, allowing them to use their ISP anywhere they could get a phone signal. When pa1mOne announced that the Treo 650 was going to included Bluetooth, the Treo community threw a big ‘ole party, “Bluetooth DUN, yeah!”

Unfortunately, the first provider to get rights to the Treo 650 was Sprint, and due to their sales of PCMIA cellular cards and the associated data plans, it appears that they did not want the Treo 650 to be capable of Bluetooth DUN. While wired DUN was still an easily achieved option, the Treo community still had Bluetooth and wanted to use it. pa1mOne tells us that Bluetooth DUN was not ready for primetime on the Treo 650 and that a patch may be released in the future.

Enter Shadowmite. One day, just out of the blue, this fellow by the forum name of ‘shadowmite’ comes out and announces that he has hacked Bluetooth DUN! When asked how, he simply says that the DUN profile was already in the Treo 650 and fully functional. He searched through the software, found the few lines of code blocking the option from appearing on the screen, and viola, the Treo 650 is fully capable of Bluetooth DUN with any Bluetooth enabled computer or PDA. And all of this was done with a simple 2 byte patch. Yes, 2 bytes.

Wi-fi capability
pa1mOne has an 802.11b Wi-Fi SDIO card. pa1mOne has a Treo 650 with an SDIO slot. Do the math: Wi-fi card + Treo 650 = Treo with Wi-Fi. Right?

Wrong. Going along the same line as the Bluetooth DUN, pa1mOne had not released any wi-fi drivers for the Treo 650, even though they had for the Tungsten T5. Cellular radio and screens aside, both devices are practically identical, so shouldn’t the Treo be more than capable of using pa1mOne’s Wi-Fi card? Nope, as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoiP) threatened the amount that providers (currently the only one being Sprint) could charge for wireless minutes. If you use VoiP instead of your cellular phone, the provider can’t charge you for using their network.

Thus, seemingly caving to pressure from the cellular providers, did not release a wi-fi driver, claiming that the wi-fi and cellular signals would interact in bad ways. The users of TreoCentral were boggled, "Why can the PDA2K have cellular, Bluetooth, and wi-fi built in?" Reenter shadowmite.

Shadowmite gets his hands on a pa1mOne wi-fi card and is actually able to modify it so that his Treo 650 can actually use it. It’s not perfect, as it will overwrite a database needed for Vision access on the Sprint Treo 650 (and the equivalent when GSM phones come out), and the only way to get things right is with a hard reset, but it completely blew pa1mOne’s garbage press release out of the water.

Patches/Custom ROMs
It’s and exciting time to be a Treo-er. Or Treo-ie. Or Treo-naut. Whatever, those with the Treo 650 got a special treat. One of the board users had contacted pa1mOne, inquiring about a problem with the sound quality on his Treo 650. The way the story goes is that the tech support lady he spoke with sent him a beta version of a ROM patch to fix the sound quality of the Treo 650. Realizing that this had to be released to the Treo public, said forum member posted the patch on TreoCentral. Re-reenter shadowmite.  

So, our friend shadowmite downloads the patch and begins to deconstruct it, examining how pa1mOne did what they did. He finds a thing called the ROM loader, a powerful tool that lets the user simply modify any data to be in the Treo 650’s ROM, throw it onto an SD card, and patch his/her Treo. Just like that recent neat-o iPod graphics hack.

The ROM loader was a very simple creation, consisting of a Zip file and a few other doodads. The Zip contained all of the files to be loaded into the Treo’s ROM. Shadowmite successfully (and very easily, might I add) removed VersaMail, RealPlayer, and other programs from the Zip, put others in their place, and reflashed the ROM of his Treo, eliminating and adding the above stated programs. Violá, custom ROMs! And that included the sound quality patch.

Indeed, it is an exciting time to by a Treo-whatever.

Stay tuned for PIC's upcoming in-depth palmOne Treo 650 Review. Buy your own palmOne Treo 650 here

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So he has a real name?

mikecane @ 12/30/2004 6:42:57 PM #
Now that wasn't very painful, was it?

RE: So he has a real name?
Captain Hair @ 12/30/2004 6:52:49 PM #
Hey, you could've asked. But that wouldn't have been as much fun, now would it?

"People who think they're smart annoy those of us who are."
RE: So he has a real name?
mikecane @ 12/30/2004 6:54:46 PM #
You could have used it from the start. Don't blame me.

RE: So he has a real name?
Captain Hair @ 12/30/2004 6:58:27 PM #
I'm not blaming you. Nor am I trying to protect my identity. I'd probably be Derek Kessler here if it wasn't for Drew Carey's 'Who's Line Is It Anyway?' and Colin Mochery and the Superheroes skit. Something about a bald Canadian playing Captain Hair, Superhero, just cracks me up, even if it is something like three years later.

"People who think they're smart annoy those of us who are."
RE: So he has a real name?
abosco @ 12/30/2004 10:35:24 PM #
I like Foo's name, too. "The Kent at Pocketfactory"

NX80v + Wifi + BT + T637
RE: So he has a real name?
Foo Fighter @ 12/31/2004 12:13:27 AM #
Ryan was afraid someone might confuse me with the Kent at That happens all the time.

At least I'm not just any old Kent, I'm the Kent. The one and only. All others are cheap facsimiles. Copyright infringers.

Contributing Editor,

RE: So he has a real name?
Admin @ 12/31/2004 1:05:51 AM #
haha, that was a good typo. Your 15 minutes are over, back to normal Kent.
RE: So he has a real name?
Captain Hair @ 12/31/2004 1:18:50 AM #
Well, that's no fun. I liked The Kent.

"People who think they're smart annoy those of us who are."


Gekko @ 12/30/2004 6:48:59 PM #

You can't make a pig fly.

RE: Pig
Captain Hair @ 12/30/2004 6:52:15 PM #
Gekko, give the Treo 650 some time to mature. And pa1mOne as well.

"People who think they're smart annoy those of us who are."
RE: Pig
Gekko @ 12/30/2004 6:53:30 PM #

Time is not a luxury that Palm has. The MSFT waves are getting bigger and the big tsunami is coming - and Nagel and Company are frolicking on the beach - oblivious to it all.

RE: Pig
Captain Hair @ 12/30/2004 7:08:51 PM #
Dude, that was not a cool analogy.

Anyway, there's just one thing that I think pa1mOne could do to help save themselves, offer a <$300 Treo. And make it cool. Can you imagine what that would do to bolster their sales/marketshare?
I suppose I could make broad statements as well: They must innovate again. The TT was a landmark device for Palm, practically their rennaisance, but since Sony withdrew from the USA PDA market, pa1mOne was left with no competition (Palm OS), so thus no need to innovate. Unfortuantely, now the WM2003 crowd has encroached into Palm territory, ie being emminently more cool hardware-wise, and I hope that pa1mOne is going to wake back up.

"People who think they're smart annoy those of us who are."

Pigs may fly someday
Admin @ 12/30/2004 7:24:32 PM #
I have a sprint review unit Treo 650. I like it a lot so far, but it does have some obvious shortcomings. However, overall it is a killer device and mostly a pleasure to use. AIS, stay tuned for the review, if it wasn't for CES coming up I may have it done sooner.

PS - Gekko is your PDA memory half empty or half full :P


RE: Pig
icesalmon1 @ 12/30/2004 9:20:04 PM #
what's wrong with gekko? Is he paid by Msft to post those comments?
This is another typical post by him.
RE: Pig
LiveFaith @ 12/30/2004 11:09:35 PM #
You may be joking about MSFT, but this happens all the time. Especially on investment / stock boards. The strategy is to constantly and totally tear down, slander and destroy credibility at any and all points. Any sane person can tell it's slanted, but psycologically the seeds of doubt are planted, truth is at least diluted and hopefully the competition or the short-seller, as the case may be, helps "move the market of opinion".
Sounds like a pretty fulfilling career when ones life is over. :-(

Pat Horne;
RE: Pig
treo007 @ 12/30/2004 11:13:21 PM #
Speaking of Pigs...hey Gekko, nice analogy. There are 117,000+ people, their families, and the rest of the sane world that probably don't think it was so clever though. Get some class, pal.

RE: Pig
Captain Hair @ 12/30/2004 11:45:02 PM #
>You may be joking about MSFT, but this happens all the time. Especially on investment / stock boards. The strategy is to constantly and totally tear down, slander and destroy credibility at any and all points. Any sane person can tell it's slanted, but psycologically the seeds of doubt are planted, truth is at least diluted and hopefully the competition or the short-seller, as the case may be, helps "move the market of opinion".

Yeah, this stuff drives me nuts. There are several ways I deal with this kind of crap.
1) Research elsewhere
2) Take it in stride
3) Make snide comments (a favorite of mine)
4) Read the slant, process it, reguritate, and push the back button.
Don't let the fanatics get in your way! I'm a fan, not a fanatic, so you can let me get in the way. ;) Seriously, though, each handheld OS has its benefits (Palm, WM2003, BB, Symbian), and I'll admit that. But I'll still beat you until you're bleeding Palm. I'm simple that way...

"People who think they're smart annoy those of us who are."

RE: Pig
rsc1000 @ 12/31/2004 1:30:04 AM #
gekko is an tedious troll. Guess what? You are not telling us anything new and although most of us here have plenty of complaints with palmsource and palm1 - your insistance on trolling around PIC so that you can jump in and take up % 40 of all posts with redundant negativity the second any story comes outb is just so predictably lame.

Manic Street Preachers - Tsunami (song)
Admin @ 12/31/2004 11:30:35 AM #
I'd wager more animals, pigs and "wild beasts" survived the waves than did humans... check out the 6th sense article on the homepage notable links.

Please think of those that are suffering, and will continue to do so. It is not a matter to joke about.


RE: Pig
jasondeno @ 12/31/2004 4:01:57 PM #
-give the Treo 650 some time to mature. And pa1mOne as well.-

How much time do we have to give Palm to mature? Just curious. I mean when did the first Palm Pilot come out? Wasn't it something like 1996?

We keep talking about them like they need some growing time to get it right. No. They've been in business long enough and have been consistently loosing their market share. Giving them time is obviously not the answer.

I love my Treo 650, but you gotta wonder where this company is headed. I feel like they're heading to get bumped out of the main stream and into the realm of an eccentric few. Like the group who still likes toying with my old TI 99/4a. Fun, but not a viable business. And all by Palm's own hand.

I hope I'm wrong.

RE: Pig
TTrules @ 1/1/2005 1:03:04 AM #
Gekko is so rediculous. Making fun of thousands of people that got killed. Someone needs to block him.

One Palm to rule them all!
RE: RE: Pig
Shadowwire @ 7/30/2007 1:45:03 PM #
Nice gekko.
Apparently some people take stupid things like "posts on a blog" too siriously.

Give a man a fire and he'll be warm for a day.
Set a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

PalmOne's dishonesty

abosco @ 12/30/2004 10:42:39 PM #
It is understandable that as a business, they need to please who they are licensing their technology out to. But the simple fact is that PalmOne, over the past few years, has been lying to us a great deal. A little too much. 16 bit screens? Remember that? It was THIS forum that broke that story wide open. Now everybody's getting in on the game.

We should make a race. See how many people can successfully hack PDA's to make them better than the OEM can. I believe this fellow and his T650 are already in the lead, but "Deez" from Brighthand also has a few points to his name for the Toshiba VGA stuff. I'm sure there are a few hardcore Japanese coders that have done things only imaginable in dreams with their Clies. Control that robotic dog with the UX50's Wifi? What the hell? These men are braver than I, and all deserve some appreciation.

NX80v + Wifi + BT + T637

RE: PalmOne's dishonesty
Captain Hair @ 12/30/2004 11:51:02 PM #
You've just got to love these places. And I've only been here a year! I'm very proud to be part of the Palm community. Cheesy, I know, but the vast majority of the peoples I've encountered present an honest, open, agreeable facade and there are many many many [i]geniuses[/i] out there who do these wonderful things for the rest of us. We owe them all big time.

"People who think they're smart annoy those of us who are."

treo 650 / shadowmite

ardiri @ 12/31/2004 3:27:27 AM #
i own a GSM treo 650 - so, most of these patches/roms dont technically apply to myself; but, it should be noted that palmone has developed all the features one would normally want on the treo 650 itself; however, when marketing with carriers (who, provide the $$$) they have been asked to disable/remove specific features from the roms.

the fact that it is only a two byte patch doesn't surprise me.

the treo 650 also has the exact same kernel as the tungsten|t5, so, it also doesn't surprise me that the wifi drivers work by changing the device id/hal id checks in the application.

palmone could have released such drivers; but, are reluctant to due to limited quality assurance testing that has been done on all the products. of course, you do this at your own risk :)

i remember earlier versions of the ROWDY (rest of the world) rom image for the treo 650 had DUN support - however, the latest versions do not. this could also be disabled because of bugs. if you run into problems using the DUN patch, maybe it was disabled for a reason?

all in all - it should be clearly noted that these modifications should be used at your own risk. the plugged in program has had support for reflashing rom images way before the device was released (EVT and DVT units) - however, redistribution of these tools will be in violation of the plugged in program NDA; users make mistakes - and, palmone probably doesn't want to be responsible for them :)

Aaron Ardiri
PalmOS Certified Developer

RE: treo 650 / shadowmite
Foo Fighter @ 1/1/2005 8:53:42 AM #
What? A GSM 650? DO TELL! Which carrier is your model based on? I'm desperately awaiting Cingular.

Contributing Editor,
RE: treo 650 / shadowmite
ardiri @ 1/3/2005 10:04:58 AM #
    What? A GSM 650? DO TELL! Which carrier is your model based on? I'm desperately awaiting Cingular.

no carrier :) ROWDY unit (rest of the world unit) - no simlocking.

Aaron Ardiri
PalmOS Certified Developer
RE: treo 650 / shadowmite
Vincent2005 @ 1/12/2005 5:32:33 AM #
pls let us know the way how to get treo 650 gsm version ! I am desperately waiting 4 it !


That is so cool.

Strider_mt2k @ 12/31/2004 9:06:21 AM #
This is the kind of stuff we need more of!

It's even making me look at the 650 in a new light.
(It is kinda cool looking...)

If the handheld manufacturers are going to not enable stuff with no other reason than so they can make more money, weeeelll they are just begging for folks to do this kind of stuff to 'em!

It's an interesting topic on it's own, but my main interest is the mods!

I know some foks are going to mess things up and ruin their units by trying these, but great results often happen from great risks taken.

You could also think of it as evolution in action.

Wheres the Sandisk WIFI card driver hack

Tamog @ 12/31/2004 2:13:57 PM #
I was always proud to be a member of the Palm community...
However, there is one thing that gioes on my nerves a little bit. The Tapwave Zodiac accesses both PalmOne and Sandisk WLAN SDIO cards with the SAME driver. There's only a hard-coded device ID string in the driver that makes all the difference. Can't one good hacker/cracker change that and get the SanDisk cards working? This would increase the platform's hardware support, and also make users and companies more adept to buy Palm powered stuff!
Just my 2 cents..

Find out more about the Palm OS in my blog:
RE: Wheres the Sandisk WIFI card driver hack
Admin @ 12/31/2004 2:18:43 PM #
I'd be willing to assume a lot of us folks would throw some change into that fountain :)

ps - great work on your blog Tamog

RE: Wheres the Sandisk WIFI card driver hack
Tamog @ 1/1/2005 4:54:55 PM #
Hi Admin,
thank you for the compliment!
I would definitely throw more than just my change into the fountain. I would sacrifice my time, body and my Tungsten T3 for it. Anyone provide me with the card, and I shall try my best! Will just be a 50byte-Patch if I am correct(device ID) I am even willing to return the card afterwards....
Tam Hanna

Find out more about the Palm OS in my blog:
RE: What palmOne *MUST* do to survive
Gekko @ 12/31/2004 6:05:11 PM #

Hey Mike - If you're so smart, why are you so poor?

RE: What palmOne *MUST* do to survive
mikecane @ 12/31/2004 6:39:20 PM #
You rightists always drag out that INVERSION.

The proper question is: If you're so rich, why aren't you SMARTER?

Microsoft products.

p1's 32K Memos and 1K Clipboard.



RE: What palmOne *MUST* do to survive
rcartwright @ 12/31/2004 7:17:57 PM #
Gekko said "Hey Mike - If you're so smart, why are you so poor?"

Two mindless comments in less than 24 hours, real slick.

"The Anglo-Saxon-Scots-Irish people are the most warlike people in history, and their enemies forget it at their peril. "

RE: What palmOne *MUST* do to survive
mikecane @ 12/31/2004 7:31:13 PM #
Don't worry, there's a whole new year of such comments coming up! Quit while you're ahead.

RE: What palmOne *MUST* do to survive
LiveFaith @ 1/1/2005 1:47:28 AM #
Hey Gekko. Was Mother Teresa smart or stupid?

Pat Horne;
RE: What palmOne *MUST* do to survive
Gekko @ 1/1/2005 8:44:01 AM #

MikeCon is no Mother Teresa.

Pass the plate, Reverend.

RE: What palmOne *MUST* do to survive
mikecane @ 1/1/2005 10:42:42 AM #
It's no use trying to argue with Gekko on the basis of principles. He has none.

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