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Verizon's Dirty Little Treo 650 Secret
#1  Bob Russell 05-31-2005, 10:12 AM
One of the great features of the PalmOne Treo650 is that you are connected anywhere. Sure it's a great combination of cell phone and pda, but wireless is the awesome bonus.

Well, if you are a Verizon customer, don't count on it unless you're rich! Verizon's dirty little secret is that the Verizon version of the Treo 650 has been crippled, meaning that you can't connect with data any way but via Verizon's very expensive data plans. ($45/mo unlimited. $25 for 10meg/mo. And a single page can easily get close to 100K even with pictures turned off.)

For the average person, this means that with the Treo 650 you have a cell phone and you have a pda, but that's it. I think most people are not likely to pay $45/mo (which is $1080 for 2 years!)

As a result I HIGHLY recommend that you avoid the Verizon version of the Treo 650!

But I do like the Treo 650, so I'd do some shopping around to find the right carrier version for your needs.

It might be okay if you need the very good signal coverage of Verizon and are willing to either forego the data plan or shell out the $45, or live with less megabytes and byte counting. But I'd personally have rather paid the ~$200 fee to change carriers if I had known all this in advance. I could kick myself for not checking more carefully.

Don't know if it applies to the Treo 600 also or not. If I had bought it from a Verizon store, I would have returned it and canceled my service contract even now. But I don't have that option, and I guess I'm too lazy to do all that via ebay.

Note: I probably should have waited a week or two to post this info. I'm feeling a bit burned right now and frustrated at being trapped with a plan and phone that isn't going to give me wireless data at a price I can afford. I'm sure that affects the tone of this post greatly. But I want people to have the info. I'll edit this post later if I need to tone it down. So for the moment, just pardon my heated disgust at Verizon and my situation, and take out the information for what it's worth.

Like I told Alex, I'm extremely frustrated right now. Mostly because I wasn't smart enough to make the right choice, so I'm stuck for a year or two with a Treo but no data connectivity when I could be browsing away remotely with someone like Sprint.

The worst thing about the crippling of the Treo by Verizon is that you can't even do WAP web browing like what you can do with almost every other (WAP) "web enabled" phone they have. This is the part that frustrates me most. I would have expected Verizon to at least allow me to use the functionality of WAP browsing that I had on my previous $50 camera phone. It would have been great with the larger keyboard and screen.

I figured I'd add a WAP browser and simply change the network connection to either Verizons proxy server for $5/mo, or if they didn't want to provide that, I would use a public proxy server. But when I went to internet connections it said that "National Access" (Verizon's pricey data network) was locked and could not be changed. I should have done more research, but there's not much info about all this yet, and Verizon is very unwilling to share the info. Certainly they don't want to publicize it. Even their customer reps don't understand it all. I would have gladly paid another $100 or even $200 for an unlocked version, except the unlocked Treos sold are not compatible with Verizon. (Another reason to avoid Verizon!)

I don't believe you can use wifi or bluetooth to connect to the internet either, unless a hack shows up and you're willing to take a chance on it. Hopefully someone will provide a hack. Shadowmite has something, but doesn't seem confirmed much for Verizon phones, and I don't know if it handles WAP or bluetooth or just wifi. If others try it first with success, I'm just desperate enough to give it a try. But, of course, it's quite risky to do something like that anyway.

Bottom line is that Verizon forced PalmOne to cripple the device and force users to only connect via Verizon's very expensive data network. I can't afford $45/mo, and don't want to count megabytes, so I'm cancelling my data plan. Funny thing is that now, not only does Verizon lose the $20 or $25 per month I would have paid for a reasonable unlimited data plan, but they also lose the $5/mo I would have paid for WAP browsing.

The Treo is a great device, but much less great than it would have been if I could have at least used it for home connection to my wireless network via wifi, or if I could have had a reasonable monthly data plan like other carriers have.

One advantage of Verizon that I must admit to is that they have better coverage area. However, I suspect that Cingular/ATT is catching up fast. Personally, I'd have given up coverage to get data at a reasonable price, and I recommend that anyone with data needs avoid Verizon.

I made a big mistake, but hopefully this post will serve as a warning to future buyers out there.
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#2  Chaos 05-31-2005, 10:39 AM
That does suck... I can't be certain, but I may remember something about various patches for Verizon's Treo, to remove at least some of those limitations.

I can't find any in a quick search right now, but I'll try more later.
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#3  Pride Of Lions 05-31-2005, 01:00 PM
Sorry to hear of your plight, Bob. It bothers me the "fine print" these companies use to screw us customers. If they had any integrity at all, they'd place all of this information in the light and inform us up front of these different "quirks" before we signed on the dotted line. Also, the multi-year contracts bother me. Being "married" to a company before finding out their foibles is completely unfair. I'm with AT&T/Cingular, partly because I've been with them since Cellular One and I'd rather deal with the devil I know than the one I don't. I'm afraid if I fell for some other company's BS I might regret it later and then it'd be tough to go back to AT&T/Cingular and get the sweetheart deal I have now.

I'm a fan of unlocking a phone for use with other carriers, but I don't see much said about it on forums. It must not be the "right" solution. I just feel like the customer should take theiir phone with them to these different companies and not have to buy their "special" version. Whatever happened to "The Customer is Always Right"?
POL9A
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#4  Alexander Turcic 05-31-2005, 01:35 PM
I asked Bob before if he wanted to unlock his phone, but I guess loss of warranty is an issue here.
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#5  Bob Russell 05-31-2005, 02:21 PM
Yeah, I wasn't willing to consider the hack before. I've changed my mind after we talked because I discovered I couldn't even use WAP browsing. So loss of warranty or not, I'm willing to give it a go. I've got my old Verizon phone as a backup and am willing to buy another pda if I have to.

It's just a matter of finding the hack that does what I need for my ROM version, and waiting for other people to test it enough that I feel like the odds of success are pretty good. That may mess me up for upgrades, but I'm willing to forego upgrades if I can get WAP functionality back. There's a browser called WAP Universe that seems nice. They do indicate that there are rare fatal errors, but I can even live with that.... I'm almost desperate!

I suppose I could afford to switch carriers even now if I wanted to badly enough. But I couldn't bear the thought of paying all that money just to switch carriers. I've got to keep some money around for my next super-pda also!
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#6  sUnShInE 05-31-2005, 02:51 PM
Well I guess this answers my question.

Why can't you get out of your contract?
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#7  derekweb 05-31-2005, 02:59 PM
Note to self ::: Stick with Sprint.
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#8  Bob Russell 05-31-2005, 03:47 PM
Quote sUnShInE
Well I guess this answers my question.

Why can't you get out of your contract?
Technically I could switch carriers for a fee of something like $160 or $180 or whatever the charge is.

If that was my only expense and trouble, I'd do it and switch to another carrier. But remember that I also have a Verizon-only Treo now that I would have to sell. Plus I would have to buy another Treo and start service with another carrier without my nice DevCon discount.

Plus there's no official place to ask the detailed questions that you really need answered. And an new unlocked Treo runs for about $700. Which still doesn't guarantee there are no more gotcha's!!! (Wouldn't that be a kicker if I paid all that and got surprised the second time around with more problems!)

I don't need the headaches or expense, so I'll probably either wait for a hack or live with a 10meg $25/mo data plan with Verizon. As much as I don't want to give them another cent, I may have to just admit that I'm defeated and have been beaten by their tactics and suffer through the shame and expense of their data plan until I can leave Verizon more cheaply. (Like when I want a new pda anyway.) But I can tell you one thing... Verizon will need a pretty awesome deal to ever win me back as a customer.

Or... maybe I could even teach myself how to hack through into WAP access on the Treo? I think I only need to replace that "National Access" with something else to get to a WAP proxy server like all the "cheapo" phones can do. How hard can that be?
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#9  Bob Russell 05-31-2005, 03:51 PM
By the way, lest the Treo 650 get caught up in this too much, I've got to point out that the Treo itself is great. I'm really impressed with many aspects of it, and it's built very solid. I love the one-handed control of apps. And the way they've both integrated and separated the pda and phone functions is awesome.

In fact, even without a wireless data plan, it's well worthwhile. It's just that if I had chosen another carrier besides Verizon I might have had all that and much, much more by getting a reasonable data plan on top of it all.
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#10  Antoine of MMM 05-31-2005, 05:12 PM
Ok, so dont ask my why it took me so long to register but I finally have (thanks BobR);

back to the topic:
I've always said that VZW isnt a smart choice. Service aside, they do not cater to the customer and are only slower than Congress when it comes to moving with the times. I'd tell you to sell it BobR for as much as you can and use the money to cancel the contract and put towards an unlocked 650. Granted, you will be forking out more funds, but there is something to be said about being mobile without a chain to your wallet along the way.
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