Slugishness and random soft resets… The banes of the Treo 650… I first attributed the problem to Palm OS being a bit out of its depth on such a complex device. But the randomness was too high – I could not correlate the problem with any specific application nor could my favorite inside source at Orange nor apparently any of the people involved with debugging the Treo there. It had to be a hardware problem.

With time and aggravation came the insight that all these problems might be correlated to SIM accesses. My engineering friend at Orange suggested using a piece of paper stuck in the tray to hold the SIM steadier. It did improve the situation somewhat. Later I found that during a sluggishness event, pushing hard on the tray sometimes instantly gets the system back to normal speed.

So it definitely looks like the system barfing on SIM access problems. These problems should not take place and they are caused by a bad SIM tray design. But the operating system should handle them more gracefuly, for example with a “SIM not available” dialog.

Meanwhile I have found another solution that seems to support the SIM access hypothesis : Cingular Wireless proposes a Treo 650 SIM Tray Replacement that works somewhat like the piece of paper jammed in the original tray. So get that and meanwhile remember to push hard on the tray when sluggishness occurs. I am now looking for a way to get that new SIM tray in Europe…