Palm Blog Update on the 700p Maintenance Release

As promised, Palm's Steve Sinclair has updated the new Palm corporate blog with a lengthy post concerning the status of the long-awaited, much-delayed 700p ROM maintenance release. In short, Mr. Sinclair and Palm are unusually outgoing in this blog entry and provide not only an updated estimated release date (May 28th) for the ROM patch but give a list of improvements and fixes that are expected to be contained in the update. Steve Sinclair goes on to give some reasons why Palm prefers to roll up a handful of bugfixes into a single, comprehensive maintenance release instead of issuing smaller intermittent patches. Despite earlier reports to the contrary, Mr. Sinclair states in today's entry that the 700p update is still in the midst of the carrier testing and certification process and awaiting final approval.

This blog entry is also well worth reading for frustrated Treo 700p owners upset at the speed with which the Treo 680 was patched versus the nearly year-long delay in addressing the 700p's issues. The essential technical differences between the Treo 680 and 700p updates are highlighted and discussed accordingly.

In addition to the flaky Bluetooth performance (generally seen as the most pressing 700p issue), Palm promises to remedy the SMS lag, "MP3 performance" (likely the skipping that the Pocket Tunes updates have not been able to fully address), the "phone app launch speed" (but no word on general device app launching lag), as well as additional unspecified issues.

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Happy Palm 700p user.

a_nonamiss @ 4/18/2007 9:08:20 AM # Q
Seriously, as a business user on a 700p and a software developer myself, I want to give a heartfelt Thank You to Palm for their honesty and communication. Hey... if you can't fix the problem, at least let your customers know that you are working on it, and provide as much detail as possible. The blog is a great idea.

Don't get me wrong. I'm as anxious for this release as any other 700p user, but I understand how software development works, and as long as I know they're working on it, I can be patient. As someone who spent a year using a WinMob device, (not by choice...) I can definitely say that the grass is NOT greener on the other side of the fence. The Palm has problems, but each and every day I used that WinMob device, I longed for the instability of a Palm. :)


Palm Pilot 1000 > Palm Pilot Professional > Palm III > Palm M100 > Sony Clié PEG-T415 > Palm T|T3 > Samsung SCH-i730 > Palm 700p

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Fingers crossed but not jumping for joy just yet!

hkklife @ 4/18/2007 9:51:10 AM # Q
That pretty much sums up my feelings. This blog updat (and the blog itself!) is a huge step forward from Palm. Let's just hope they keep it updated in a timely fashion. I think the Palm community at large (even non-700p & non-Treo users) owe a huge debt of gratitude to the TreoCentral community for their incessant discussion and keeping Palm "honest". Let's hope the combination of a soon-to-be antenna-free Treo lineup, the news from Analyst Day on the linux OS, Hawkins' next project, and the Palm blog & 700p update are all the start of a new chapter for the company, their products and their user base.

Of course Palm is still nowhere close to being out of the woods. My remaining questions & concerns with the whole 700p patch delay process are the following:

1. If Palm & the carriers are SO concerned with testing updates, why has the Q (and various other WinMob devices) seen 3x updates in its time on the market?

2. Why was the 700p given the green light for release in the first place with such severe bugs? Palm really needs to implement some sort of solid update policy going forward. Maybe something like a promise to address any major bugs within 2-3 months of device launch (like the 650's NVFS & the 680's battery woes) then with a major ROM update to follow within a year of the device's launch but PRIOR to EOL.

3. The recent "coming out" of Palm in regards to the update status and the 700p's bugs is a drastic turn-around from their tech support staff, the carriers' support departments and Palm themselves who previously would not admit to much more than mp3 stuttering. I'd still like to see a major revamp of Palm's miserable outsourced call centers. Either that or introduce something like Genius Bars into the Palm Stores.

4. Palm could offer some kind of freebie to the long-suffering 700p owners...a substantial trade-in discount on a 755p, a free copy of DTG 10, a free accessory, a 6 month warranty extension etc. While highly unlikely, the free 128mb SD card helped smooth over a lot of ruffled feathers shortly after the 650 launch debacle.

5. What happens to a 700p user who bought their device on release day in '06 and the ROM update kills their unit (I had horrible issues trying to flash OS 4.1 onto my old m505 some years ago)? Those units might be over a year old by May 28th.

6. And will the ROM updater run under Vista? What about Palm Desktop? Will users have to hunt down a Win XP or 2k machine to backup & restore their 700p after running the updater if their personal systems run Vista?

7. What flavor of FrankenGarnet will the 755p be running? #1. A slightly modified version of the 700p's OS that is still buggy & will require patching after purchase? #2. Essentially the same OS as the patched 700p? #3. An improved version of the patched 700p OS?

8. If Palm includes native SDHC support in this update (unlikely but still possible) like the 680, I'll be elated. A patched, reasonably stable, EVDO Treo with an 8gb SDHC is still a reasonable choice for the Palm OS faithful instead of a first-gen iPhone.

Misc. 755p + 700p thoughts: If the 755p is a-ok out of the box then that'll make me quite suspicious indeed. My guess is that Palm had the 700p "fixed" months ago (see the revised BT stack version in the Alltel 700p that is not in the Sprint or Verizon versions) but intentionally withheld the update so they could work out any kinks in the 755p and keep the 700p on the market for a full year. Then the update would come right after EOLing the 700p.

That's basically what happened to the T5--->TX transisition. The T5 was launched in Oct '04. It received a major ROM update in June '05 that finally made it nearly perfect. Then the TX came in Oct '05 and was basically like a patched T5 on steroids.

Pilot 1000-->Pilot 5000-->PalmPilot Pro-->IIIe-->Vx-->m505-->T|T-->T|T2-->T|C-->T|T3-->T|T5-->TX-->Treo 700P

RE: Fingers crossed but not jumping for joy just yet!
joad @ 4/18/2007 2:37:58 PM # Q
>>introduce something like Genius Bars into the Palm Stores.

All great comments above... but after dealing with Apple's "Genius Bar" a couple times I can tell you that it's far too brilliant an idea for Palm to consider. It would mean that Palm would have to open up their own branded stores, stock them with knowledgeable employees, offer appointments, have replacements "at the ready" so people can walk out happy.... this is just lunacy for Palm.

Sure, Apple is a bit of a bigger company, but people counted them out just as much as Palm a few years ago. Those Genius Bars seemed ridiculous until I actually needed to use them, and I was converted to praising Apple's CS.

The fact that Apple uses it's stores to *SUPPORT* (and sell Apple and other-branded crap) it's customers, while Palm uses it's stores to *SELL THEM MORE PALM-BRANDED CRAP AT RETAIL* really contrasts the 2 companies. When an idiot like me knows more basics than the manufacturer representatives at the Palm stores I'm sorely disappointed. For Palm to complain about people off-loading information in the forums seems disingenuous when their own stores don't offer much except cheerleading for every device...

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