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Smartphone Experts Cradle

Tue Sep 6, 2005 - 12:10 PM EDT - By Douglas Morse

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Well, I was having some serious HotSync issues before I received Smartphone Experts Cradle for the Treo 650. My HotSync was working sporadically, then not at all. I tried some of the common tricks: resetting the Treo, rebooting the computer, switching USB ports, removing the refinding the device in Device Manager.

I also went over to Palm�s support website and browsed over to the HotSync Troubleshooting Guide. Eventually, I downloaded the USB registry Utility which is certainly not for the faint-of-heart. I read the fine print and realized that you need to download the latest version of the Palm Desktop and HotSync Manager. WAIT!!! TOO LATE!!!

After I ran the program, I realized that you CANNOT download the latest software for a Treo. You MUST use your original disk—which I had misplaced. So I went a couple of weeks without syncing figuring either the problem might simply go away or I might get around to fixing it.


Fortunately, the cradle came. The Smartphone Experts Cradle is decisively simple � or cheap, depending on how you want to look at it. Plug one end into of the USB cable into the computer; the other plugs into the cradle. A little green LED on the cradle lets you know it is plugged in. Pop the Treo in the base, and when you have a firm connection, the charging light on the Treo goes on. Yes, the Treo can charge solely from a USB connection like the Bluespoon AX headset. Charging is just a bit slower via USB.

I pressed the HotSync button on the cradle, hoping and dreading that it would work. Hoping because my problem would be solved. Dreading because that would mean my original Palm HotSync cable was toast.

Nothing happened. So I went digging for that disk.

I have stacks of CD ROMs on spindles dating back from, well, whenever. I also have a little blue CD ROM holder-folder with all of my important system and application software. It wasn�t in either a spindle or the special Blue Book (where it now resides).. It was just shoved on a shelf in the bookcase. I ran the utility, reinstalled the software, and somewhere along the way, I got this very special message from Windows:

"Unknown Device
Recommendation: Try reconnecting the device. If Windows still does not recognize it, replace the device."

I did not follow Windows' suggestion and get a new Treo (Ed: Maybe you should replace Windows ). I knew the problem was a software one (thanks Microsoft for blaming the HARDWARE). As is common with hardware-software incompatibilities, errors, what have you, I eventually ironed it out and couldn�t tell you exactly what sequence fixed the problem.


So how�s the cradle? Well, it works just fine and does exactly what it is supposed to do. It holds the Treo at a nice upright angle on the desk where it belongs with the green LED on the base nicely complementing the Green charged LED on the Treo itself. Press the button and with a satisfying click, HotSync the device. Sometimes the Treo needs to be rocked slightly to make sure there is a good fit. Also, I like to be able to use the keyboard while the Treo is in the cradle � and the last row of keys is a little hard to get too.

One nice option here is to purchase the ten dollar A/C adapter to charge the Treo directly from a wall outlet. If you�re willing to spend fifteen bucks more, there is always the fancy Seidio InnoDock Cradle which allows you to charge the Treo while in many cases and has a 3.5mm stereo output jack. James gave the product a RAVE review which you can read here.

The other options to consider are the Pacific Rim Desk charger or the expensive Palm Cradle kit.

It may seem obvious, but the cradle may not charge the Treo while the computer is off because the USB ports are not getting power. So the little green LED on the front of the cradle is essential lest you forget your computer is off and you won�t get a charge. So you may still want the charging cable that comes with the Treo either nearby or in another room where you keep the Treo often. I found that the USB cable alone did charge the unit in a reasonable amount of time.

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