SMS is so reliable

Every couple of weeks my Treo 700p gets into a state where it can't send or receive text messages; none come in, and when I send them, they appear to go out but then never arrive. If I turn the phone off and then on again, everything starts working, and all the messages I should have received in the previous day come in all at once. My outgoing messages are gone for good, however. This happens even if the sender/recipent are on the same network (Sprint). When it's in the bad state, voice calls, web browsing and email still work fine.

I've heard of other people having this problem; is there a fix? There doesn't seem to be a firmware upgrade for the 700p yet; I haven't found one anyway. (I have "1.08-SPNT").

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29 Responses:

  1. ivorjawa says:

    My Treo is flakey. Flakey like a windows box. Similarly, I have problems every couple of weeks that require a reboot.

    PalmOS sucks. From what I hear, from people who have gone to WinCE, it sucks, too. Reboot your phone every two weeks.

    • jwz says:

      I guess PalmOS might, technically, suck, but I cut it a lot of slack just out of my complete amazement that they got what is basically an Apple ][ level of technology to do multitasking at all... I mean that's a pretty moby hack.

      • ivorjawa says:

        It's a 300MHz 68000 in the later Treos. Essentially. With 32M of ram.

        It's not an Apple ][, it's a Mac Quadra and more. The shame is that the OS doesn't really multitask well. Not as well as MacOS System 7, even. It's not as bad as DOS, but ...

        I understand that WinCE actually does true multitasking, but it tends to be a turd for other reasons.

        I'm holding out hope that the rumored iPod phone sucks a bit less.

        • bitwise says:

          I believe there's some kind of physical law that says that you can either have a decent phone, or a decent MP3 player, but the two can never exist in one device. I've been holding out for a decent player/phone for a while now, and every one that comes out sucks all kinds of ass.

        • hermeticseal says:

          its not a 300MHz 68000, its a 300MHz ARM, with a 68k emulator for old stuff that was never recompiled/ported to ARM.

        • transgress says:

          well for starters WinCE/PPC run everything in ring-0 ...

        • jkow says:

          PalmOS just wasn't designed to be a PC operating system. There is no shame in not doing real multitasking as for a handheld or phone that is not necessary. Of course, if you're putting an mp3 player into it, that need may change, which is not what PalmOs was designed for, though.

    • laptop006 says:

      I run a moto A780, which according to /proc/uptime has been up for 89 days and 14 hours, everything still working perfectly.

  2. lrc says:

    I just got my 700p a couple weeks ago. I'm afraid I don't have an answer, I don't do text messaging. But I do have a question. What are the super cool, must have, gizmos and programs for it?

    Also, since you've also drunk the Apple flavored Kool-Aid, have you, by any chance gotten it to sync via bluetooth?

    FWIW, the next generation of PalmOS, will be Linux.

    • jwz says:

      Tag phones.

      Do not, under any circumstances, use Palm Desktop and iSync. That way lies nothing but pain and sorrow. Pay the thirty bucks or whatever for Missing Sync. Snapper Mail is far more stable than the mail reader that comes with it. Bubbles. Dali Clock. Don't bother with Bluetooth unless you'd like synching to take eight minutes instead of forty seconds. Learn to love text messaging: fifty million Japanese teenage girls can't be wrong. I almost never use voice calls at all any more.

      • lrc says:

        Interesting, our trials and tribulations seem to be non-intersecting sets.

        I tried to find the firmware version of mine, but a quick inspection didn't show anything. I bought mine 4 weeks ago, today, so it's probably the latest version.

        Oddly, I haven't notice any problems with versamail. You talked about Snapper Mail being more stable. But I haven't had any problems with it being unstable.

        • jwz says:

          Firmware rev is in "Options/Phone Info" in the Phone app. I found that Versamail was really intolerant of imperfect network connections; I could only get it to actually download my POP3s mail after retrying 3-5 times, and it would basically never succeed it if I didn't do it manually. Whereas, Snapper hasn't been a problem at all. They're pretty much the same, UI-wise, so if you aren't having trouble with Versamail, there's no reason to change.

          • lrc says:

            I have Treo700p-1.06-VZW
            Hardware A
            PRL Rev: 50619

            So, the big difference seems to be Sprint vs. Verizon.

  3. nightrider says:

    This whole time I thought it was just me.

    Or maybe just Verizon.

    Or maybe just my phone.

    I'm on the Verizon Treo 650. I have the *exact* same problem with my SMS. Not only that, but to compound my frustrations, the voicemail system was having a similar problem; I would miss a phone call, a message would be left on voicemail, but the voicemail icon wouldn't appear on my phone. I would call in to my voicemail just to see if there were any new messages (because after the 3rd call, I found it suspicious that I wasn't receiving VMs,) and sure enough, voicemails were waiting.

    I called Verizon and told them about the problem.
    They would say "Oooohhh... that's interesting... let me check the delivery software..." and they'd put me on hold for a while, then come back. "Wow. That's really weird. Your phone shouldn't be doing that. We think we fixed it. Download the new phone software that we just updated." (the dial-in software updates). I would download the software patches, and the phone would be OK for about a month, then revert back to the missing SMS issue. I repeated this process with Verizon about 4 times... Things have seemed to have mellowed out as of late.

    As far as I can guess, it's an issue with routing on their end. I don't know the tiniest bit about cell software but somehow, they manage to get software-based hiccups in their SMS delivery system on their network that keep things from being sent to your phone. (You know that part already.)

    The only solution I can offer you is to call the Sprint customer service line and see if they can track down the problem. It *is* fixable, to some extent. You just have to find the person working at Sprint who knows where to look/how to fix it.

    ... and good luck with THAT. You'll need it!

  4. korgmeister says:

    My Sony Ericsson has shitty firmware. So shitty that the manual actually advises I reboot it every day. If I don't do that, bad things tend to happen.

    Likewise, getting into the habit of regularly rebooting it might be your best available option. (Unfortunately, rebooting a Palm OS device is incredibly annoying, something I've learned the hard way)

  5. unwiredben says:

    I've not heard of SMS problems with the 700p on Sprint internally -- we're working on a firmware update for that device, but it mainly a patch to address a set of Bluetooth problems.

    1.08 is the most recent released firmware for that device at this time.

    • jeremiahblatz says:

      I get much SMS flakiness with my Earthlink 650, which I assume is exactly Sprint except for billing. *2 lets me confuse the hell out of the Sprint support drones...

      • jeremiahblatz says:

        P.S. By "much flakiness," I mean "exactly what jwz described." My apologies to our esteemed host, I can offer naught but sympathy.

    • effendi says:

      Sprint should check out The treocentral discussion forum, where people discuss the SMS lockup issue and all the other issues (missing SD card, ptunes skipping comes to mind) that people run into and discuss on a daily basis.

    • unwiredben says:

      Clarification: I work for Palm as a software developer, not Sprint. We're responsible for firmware updates, with Sprint involved in the debugging and certification process.

      • tiff_seattle says:

        Ahh it was just late night drunken snarkiness. Sorry. Strangely enough, software for mobile devices brings that out in me :P

  6. meadelante says:

    This doesn't help much but I do tech support primarily on smart phones, though the 650, and I've basically accepted this as a fact of life. However there might be old codes/missing account codes their tech support could check on that'd force the treo to use alternate means and therefore make it unpredictable. I see it often on accounts where they bought a treo after setting up their account.

  7. lohphat says: a former Treo 650 user I feel like a traitor. I moved the the Crackberry platform and *it just works*.

    The basic issue is the PalmOS has no memory protection. Java's not perfect, but it's an order of magnitude saner. I can count the lockups I've had on one hand in the last year with a BB when I could run out of fingers in a week with a Treo.

    Platform bigotry aside, it is what it is. Stable.

    I used to hang out at Treo Central for all my monthly firmware upgrades and user hacks to overcome its stability issues.

  8. rbeef says:

    I have the exact same problem. My "solution": have a script send me a text message every morning at 9:00 AM. In my case, I have a screen-scraper that grabs my checking account balance, so I can watch for being overdrawn. If it's 9:00 and I haven't gotten the message, I reboot the phone. Granted, I probably don't use my phone as much as you, so I at most lost a couple of outgoing messages.

  9. radparker says:

    My girlfriend has the same phone from Sprint. SMS is unreliable on hers, too. I'll get text messages from her 4-6 times over, or never. I hate it.

    • akamoe says:

      My ex-girlfriend has a PCS phone from Sprint, and I get exactly the same thing you describe.

      Maybe it's just that Sprint sucks in general?

  10. magneticwoman says:

    this is totally unrelated but i think you need to watch this... you should do that on a windows machine or just download this:

    wait until the end... trust me it's worth it. unless you don't like dresses that move by themselves using invisible robotic parts controled by remote control... (oh and there are also mostly naked ladies if that doesn't convince you)

  11. felis_concolor says:

    Hmm... that seems much better than mine. I have a 650, and every so often (was every day for a while, now it seems to be every 3-4), it'll get in a similar state, but it won't respond to calls either, and gets warm, like something is stuck in an infinite loop at 100% CPU. Battery drains down quick too. A reset fixes it.

    This, and a bunch of other little annoyances are what finally pushed me towards Symbian (last week actually). I don't know if it's any "better" yet, but it feels more modern, and well, it's a worth a shot.

  12. oblio says:

    i have the same phone, same experiences, same firmware. no update. lame.