December 6, 2007

Treo problems:

I don't think I have mentioned it here before, but I hate palm based cell phones. As PDAs they are great, as smart phone...not so much. Despite my hatred of them, I have to support them at work. Here is my latest problem which thus far has gone unresolved by both Sprint and Palm

Device Affected: Palm Treo 755p

Symptoms: Phone does a hard reset randomly. Clears all user settings, deletes all email, contacts, tasks, and calendar from the phone. No entries are left in the crash log.

Other info:

  • No third party software is installed.
  • The hardware has already been replaced once, so it is not likely a hardware issue. (happening on 2 of 3 phones, the one that it is not happening on does not use versamail)
  • Uses Exchange ActiveSync (comes pre-installed on Treo 755p)
  • Exchange Server enforces a pin policy so the device must have a pin
Suggestions from Palm and Sprint:
  • Hardware is defective (both palm and sprint said this so we replaced the hardware)
  • Too much email in in box, device is running out of memory (palm suggested this...the device only syncs the last 3 days of email so roughly 30-100 emails)
  • Too many reoccurring events with no end date in calendar (sprint rep said this is a known issue and that it causes memory errors, but shouldn't cause a hard reset)
  • Try changing the batter (no really...a different Sprint suggested this)
  • Third party software is causing it (they apparently didn't listen when I said WE ADDED NO SOFTWARE)
  • Could be a problem with versamail...but there are no updates available so... (thats what a palm rep said, he suggested it was a problem but said there was no solution..awesome)
  • Maybe it's a conflict with the pin policy on exchange (this was a guess I had so I turned off the policy for those users...despite it not giving any other phones problems...then again these are the only palm based phones)

So far none of these have fixed the problem. Any Ideas?

please don't suggest we swap to a better device. I have begged and pleaded that they do so before they even purchased these things 2 weeks ago. But they refuse.

The Solution:
Through trial and error I think I have pinpointed the problem. It looks like the issue is with how the palm device handles the user policy from the exchange server that mandates a device PIN be used. The way this typically works is the user must set a PIN for the device, and it locks after 5 minutes of non use. Then, if the wrong pin is entered 5 times the phone will wipe it self to prevent theft of data. My assumption is, the phone is mis handling the rule and just wiping the device. We made these phones exempt from the rule and the problems have stopped (although there are others)

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