Why is that so many gadgets are just too damn clever for their own good?
I have a Treo 270. If it worked properly it would be a good smartphone (phone + PDA). If it worked properly, which sadly it does not. Charging its battery ought to be as simple as plugging in the power cable, and sychronizing it ought to be equally straightforward. Sadly not. The brilliant minds at Handspring (now PalmOne) decided that it would be better to have a single cable that both recharged the battery and synchronized with the PC. Sounds clever, eh? I wish it was...
Here's a typical frustrating experience. Plug in the cable. No response (a red light should come on). Fiddle around with the cable. Red light comes on. Red light goes off. Fiddle some more. Red light stays on. Press the button to synchronize. Bad idea - this disturbs the connection. Red light goes off. Eventually decide to charge it up first and synchronize later. Treo thinks otherwise, and fiddling with the cable causes it to try and synchronize anyway. Try to press the button to clear the error message when it fails to find the PC. This breaks the connection and the red light goes off.
Or there's the times when the red light is on but it isn't actually charging (don't ask me why). So I switch it on (which more often than not breaks the connection), or I try to switch to the phone application to see the battery icon (which - oh, you guessed). Or it spontaneously tries to synchronize and it displays an error message, and again I have to try to select the phone application to check if it is really charging. Also, I frequently have to do soft and hard resets to get it to respond.
Half the problem is the physical shape of the phone and the relative weight of the phone and the cable, both of which make it unstable. Because the base is not flat, touching the phone or the cable can easily disturb the connection. A cradle (as with the Handspring Visor) would probably help, but they don't supply one.
I have tried reporting this to PalmOne, and after suggesting all the obvious things they admitted that there was a problem. However, their best offer is that I pay them HK$1,500 for a replacement unit. I don't see how it can be an expensive problem to fix - the screen, the keyboard and electronics are all OK and it is just the connection that is dodgy. Also, I really resent having to pay that much for a phone which is now obsolete.
The easy way out is to buy another smartphone, but my dilemma is that the obvious choice is the Treo 600. I certainly don't feel like giving more money to PalmOne, and there is the obvious risk that I'll end up with another lemon. This phone has already been replaced once because the screen stopped working after about three months!