Home |  News |  Investing |  Products |  Business & Tech |  Downloads |  Help & How-To |  GameSpotAsia
News & Investing

Top 50 FREE downloads
Office 2000 SuperGuide
JOIN our forums

  04 July 2000

ZDNetAsia > News > Story


       Refine Search

News
AnchorDesk
Features
Editor's Briefcase
Investing
Asian Inter@ctive Investor
Business & Tech
Enterprise Computing
SME
e-Business
Windows 2000
Linux
Products
Hardware
Software
Gadgets
Internet
FirstLooks
RumourMill
Help & Learning
TipZone
Y2K
Operating Systems
Tech Support
GameSpotAsia
Downloads
Magazines
 
ZDNetAsia Community Center



 
Palm will replace faulty units if customers insist

Palm Inc. is willing to honor a one-for-one swap of three faulty models of its popular handheld device if "customers are insistent". By Julian Matthews

KUALA LUMPUR, 3 July 2000 - "The cornerstone of the Palm experience is delighting our customers and we will make sure that they are completely satisfied," said Palm Asia Pacific Group marketing manager, Sharon Ee.

Ee, however, echoed earlier press statements that replacing the units was unnecessary as a diagnostic test and software patch available on its Web site would "address the problem very thoroughly and effectively".

"The diagnostic test and software patch can be easily downloaded and will completely resolve the issue. Most users will probably prefer the convenience of this approach rather than swapping the individual component or replacing the units," she said.

Palm informed users of the availability of the test and patch last week when component supplier Micron Technology Inc. reported faulty 8MB DRAM controllers on the Palm IIIc, IIIxe and Palm Vx models shipped between October 1999 and May 2000.

The buggy memory chips has the potential to cause random fatal errors and destroy data including telephone numbers, to-do lists, calendar and data entries.

Palm sought to downplay the issue by stating that only 3 percent of its products was affected and that all 2MB and 4MB units were free of the glitch.

A spokesperson for the Santa Clara, California-based company in an e-mail response told ZDNet Asia that the problem also affects products of Palm OS licensees and handheld competitors Handspring Inc and TRG Products Inc.

"Palm is working closely and collaboratively with Micron and the Palm licensees and OEMs to share code for the tests, patch and other information to ensure that all customers of all products affected have the best solution possible, " she said.

The spokesperson said Micron had notified Palm about the defective chips as early as 30 May 2000, after it was detected by Des Moines, Iowa-based TRG Products.

Handspring, TRG also affected
On Thursday, Palm made the test and patch available on its Web site for the Palm IIIc and Palm Vx models, while Handspring and TRG have also made similar tests available on their respective Web sites.

Ee said the patch will also be made available on an Asia Pacific site soon.

"We also anticipate releasing the test and patch for the Palm IIIxe shortly and will notify all customers when this is available. Palm encourages all customers of the Palm IIIxe to check the Web site periodically," she said.

Ee was responding to concerns brought up by ZDNet Asia readers and anxious users in posts on newsgroups and user forums. Affected users are skeptical whether a software patch can address a hardware problem.

"What happens when the memory becomes full or nearly full?" asked Palm Vx user David Chok, a consultant at a quantity surveyors firm in Sabah. "I keep all my schedules and more than 400 addresses and contact numbers in my Palm. Can I be assured that nothing will happen, and it won't go haywire when I need it the most?"

Chok, who encountered fatal errors with his unit prior to downloading the patch, also questioned whether Palm's solution of a "work-around" software fix instead of addressing the glitch head-on will affect the device's long-term performance.

Another disgruntled user in Singapore, who owns a Palm IIIc and a Palm Vx, said only his IIIc was affected. However, he had just replaced the unit after discovering a hairline crack on the back of its casing. "Life sucks when you have two rounds of problems for a new product," said the 20-year-old who declined to be named.

Palm had reported about 25 such cases of its IIIc color model developing hairline cracks in May and had offered to replace the devices.

The user said his unit was replaced in two weeks, but questioned why Palm did not make similar offers this time around.

"Palm's initial statement on the patch was very unsatisfactory. Why didn't they tell us outright what the problem was? Solving a faulty DRAM with software patch doesn't sound adequate," he said.

He added that Palm should have "come clean" and offered one-to-one replacement units immediately. "If only 3 percent are affected, why not?" he said, adding the incident had cast aspersions on the company's current quality controls.

Beyond the glitches, Palm users in Asia have also been forced to wait for orders, which the company blamed on shortages of key parts.

Palm said the problem is related to its supply side and the rise in production of cellular phones, which contains the same memory and LCD screen parts used to make Palm devices.

Palm is widely regarded as the market leader in the handheld computing device market with IDC's 1999 figures suggesting a 78.4 percent market share.

Last week, Palm reported Q4 2000 earnings of US$350.2 million, up 101 percent from the previous year and unit shipments of over 1.1 million, with a total user base of 7.1 million.

Palm's international revenues for the quarter, including Asia Pacific and Europe, have risen dramatically and comprise 40 percent of all revenues, with a sequential quarter rise of 61 percent and year-on-year rise of 124 percent.

www.zdnetasia.com
Comparing Pocket PCs and Palm Devices
Toshiba refuses to compensate for faulty laptops in China
Palm IIIc
Palm IIIxe

Talkback
Post Talkback


BREAKING NEWS
  Palm will replace faulty units if customers insist
  Parents get school info via SMS
  Fuji TV to boost Net business
  Rubber producers threatened by e-trade
  Communication market to reach US$9 billion
  More help for SMEs
  Hotmail users get bogus threat
  Napster to outline legal strategy
  Telemedicine reforms M'sian healthcare
  Smart and Friendly folds tent
More news headlines ... 
 
OTHER STORIES
Read More
PowerQuest's EasyRestore 3.02 released
MSC Venture Corp. eyes four startups
Singapore's PostKid.com gives parents school updates
Fuji TV to boost Net business
Korea to unveil new criteria for mobile communications
 
 
Is your e-Business platform flexible enough to manage a 100% increase overnight in your existing site traffic?
Yes
Probably
Uncertain
No
 

 Sponsored Links
spacer
VISAmrc   Visa Merchant Resource Centre - eBusiness expertise
Finatiq.com   Sign up for asia's first virtual banking services here!
Top 10 PCs   Superlight notebooks sleek new desktops the best prices
Iomega   Your answer to smart, portable storage solutions.
SUN.Com   3 out of 4 ISPs use SUN. Why? Click here for more information
Intel   See e-Business in action: case studies from Intel
Challenger   Asia’s Largest IT Discount Superstore
 
 ZDNetAsia Featured Links
spacer
Freebies   Free downloads for all your computing needs.
Fun   All you want to know from GameSpotAsia
Tips   All the help you need

Community Center |  Calendar |  ZDNet International
Home |  Feedback |  Privacy |  Terms |  Ad Info |  About Us |  Join Us
Copyright (c) 2000 ZDNetAsia. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of ZDNetAsia is prohibited. ZDNetAsia and the ZDNetAsia logo are trademarks of ZDNet Asia Pacific Pte Ltd.
Super Downloads
 
FREE!
ZDNetAsia has thousands of the best downloads: Utilities, tools, games, Internet and more.
Contests
 
Buzzword
• 
Win PhotoDraw 2000!
• 
GamespotAsia Trivia
• 
Crossword Winners