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Handspring hit by Palm DRAM bug

But the fixes won't work because you can't upgrade the Visor's OS...

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PalmOS licensee appears to have acknowledged that the DRAM bug affecting both Palm and fellow licensee TRG handhelds is also present in its own Visor range.

According to PalmStation.com, a recent addition to Handspring's tech support site includes a test application that checks whether a Visor contains one of the dodgy 8MB DRAM chips.

The test app certainly checks the Visor's memory, but doesn't appear to fix the problem if it detects it. The bug, identified this week by TRG, causes potential data loss when the DRAM chip becomes full - essentially, the chip's self-refresh circuitry isn't working correctly, and data held on the chip can be corrupted.

Palm has issued a series of patches for its affected machines - which it estimates amount to less that three per cent of Palm devices shipped between October 1999 and April 2000 - which bypasses the self-refresh procedure. TRG said its sers should upgrade to PalmOS 3.5.1 for the same result.

Handpsring, however, simply asks owners of machines that yield a negative test result to "contact Handspring CustomerCare for the latest information on this issue".

Of course, Handspring is the victim of its own design here: to save costs, the Visor stores its OS on ROM not Flash RAM. Consequently, users can't patch or upgrade their OS as TRG and Palm users can. Presumbly Handspring customer services will arrange to ship out a new device to owners of duff Visors. ®

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