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Palm Releases WiFi Patch for All Treos (Not Really, April Fools!)

Sun Apr 1, 2007 - 12:19 AM EDT - By Mike Overbo, Dieter Bohn, Chris Kingree


Update:In case you forgot, it was April 1st when this story was posted, April Fools Day. So, (sadly) it's just a joke. Happy April everybody! Original story below:

Speaking in a phone conference today, Palm CEO Ed Colligan revealed that Palm has been building WiFi chipsets into Treos since the release of the Treo 700. Shockingly, the WiFi chips were hidden inside the battery. Colligan announced that Palm is releasing a firmware update for all modern Treos (Treo 700p, 700w/wx, 680, and 750) enabling the hidden chip.

"Until now, we were unable to achieve the battery life we were looking for," said Colligan, "so it was of utmost importance that we not allow anybody to discover the hidden WiFi functionality. Now, however, with the release of Windows Mobile 6 and certain software improvements we've made to the Palm OS, we're pleased to announce that we're enabling WiFi on all Treos."

Colligan said later in the teleconference that the battery was the perfect place to hide the WiFi chip - "We knew that many people would be taking these devices apart to see what makes them tick - but it's incredibly rare for anyone to bother taking a battery apart."

The biggest stumbling block up to this time was clearly the PalmOS, which was unable to properly negotiate with a cellular radio, a Bluetooth radio, and a WiFi radio at the same time. For the past few years Palm has been working behind the scenes to enable this functionality, however. Joe Fabris, Palm's Director of Wireless Solutions, elaborated: "Our recent agreement with Access had a hidden clause allowing us to incorporate certain elements of Cobalt into the current PalmOS. So, yeah, it's pretty freaking awesome."

The lack of WiFi has long been a widespread complaint about the Treo, this firmware release fixes that deficiency. Colligan commented on this issue "It's been really hard, we've had to bite our tongues quite a bit. In the end, though, it was worth it."

TreoCentral has been using Beta versions of this patch for a few years now, unable to report on it because of strict non-disclosure agreements. We're happy to report now that the patch works fine on both PalmOS Treos and Windows Mobile Treos. Battery life after applying the patch is great, we've been getting as much as 60% of our previous talk time after applying the patch.

You can download the firmware update here.

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