Faulty chips corrupt data in handhelds

In the US, some handheld computers from Palm and TRG Products carry a faulty memory chip that can damage stored data, a problem users can fix with a free software download, the companies announced separately yesterday.

About 3 per cent of Palm handhelds and about 90 per cent of TRG handhelds have the problematic 8Mbyte DRAM (dynamic random access memory) chip, which can corrupt data such as stored telephone numbers, to-do lists and address book entries. The affected models are the Palm IIIc, the Palm IIIxe, the Palm Vx and the TRGpro.

Palm has a website where users can test their machines and, if necessary, fix them with a software patch. The address is http://www.palm.com/support/dram/.

The site has patches for the Palm IIIc and the Palm Vx and "shortly" will have one for the Palm IIIxe, the company said.

Meanwhile, all TRG users are encouraged to upgrade their handhelds' Palm operating system to version 3.5.1, which fixes the problem, a company spokesman said. They can do this by going to http://www.trgpro.com/support/update.html.

TRG began selling the TRGpro handheld in January of this year.http://www.trgpro.comhttp://www.palm.com

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