Treo Internet Connection Problems Resolved

But not very satisfactorily.

palm Treo 700p Smartphone (Verizon Wireless)A few days ago, I reported “The Trouble with Treos.” In short, I’d bought a Treo 700p so I could access the Internet from my off-the-grid camping shed on Howard Mesa. Although I’d been told that the Treo would “tether” with my Macintosh for an Internet connection, I later learned that feature wasn’t supported by Palm (maker of the Treo) and Verizon (my wireless provider).

Motorola Q Phone (Verizon Wireless)Today, while running an errand in the Phoenix area, I stopped by the Verizon Wireless store where I bought the phone (Happy Valley, north of Phoenix) and spoke to the woman who sold it to me. I believe her when she says she thought it would work. But I also don’t know why she didn’t tell me about the Motorola Q phone, which definitely would work. Could it be because it cost $150 less?

Could I Love My Phone?

Now, after spending the past week sending photos to my TumbleLog and text messages to Twitter while on a business/vacation trip to California, I’m rather attached to the darn phone. Just the other afternoon, while Mike was driving from the LA area to Santa Barbara, I was stuck in the back seat of the convertible he’d rented. With no chance of participating in the conversation between Mike and his cousin due to wind noise, I amused myself by exchanging a series of photos with my brother in New Jersey who was lounging by his friend’s pool with his friend’s family, his wife, and his dog. I sent him photos I’d taken earlier in the day, as well as a few scenes from the Mustang’s cramped back seat as we made our way up the coast.

That’s something I couldn’t do with my old phone.

I know that other people have been doing stuff like that for years, but I was never into the cell phone thing. Now it’s almost an addiction. And I just don’t want to give up my new phone, even though it doesn’t do everything I want.

But I’m a logical, reasoning person — at least at times — and it makes no sense to be emotionally attracted to a smart phone that doesn’t do what it’s supposed to. So what was I to do?

Make it do what I needed it to.

Doing the “Impossible” — Poorly

So I got on the Web and I tracked down a software package called USB Modem. Available in Mac OS, Windows, and Linux flavors, this package includes software for the Treo as well as drivers for my Mac. I installed a few things, configured a few things, plugged in my tether, and connected to the Internet. In other words, I was able to do what Verizon had belatedly told me I couldn’t do: connect to the Internet using the USB tether cable.

But the connection seemed painfully slow. I fired up the Speakeasy Speed Test and tested it out. Sure enough, I had download speeds of only 120Kbps and upload speeds of only 20Kbps. Sheesh! This is broadband?

To be fair, I ran the same test on the Bluetooth DUN connection. I got 135 down and 85 up. Not much better.

Then I ran it on my house connection just for comparison. 524 down and 516 up.

(All these tests were done with the same computer.)

At Least I Have a Reason to Keep the Phone

The only good that comes out of this is that now I have a reason to keep the phone. True, it’ll cost me another $25 to buy the software to do the tethered connection — I was using a demo version to make sure it would work before I coughed up any more hard earned money — but at least it does work.

It just doesn’t work as well as I’d hoped. Or as well as the salesperson at the Verizon Wireless store said it would. Very disappointing.

I still have three weeks to decide.

Anyone out there use a Q phone with a Mac? Please do use the Comments link or form to share your experiences, good and bad.

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