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  1.    #1  
    I used to have the Seidio car kit. When I got a new car, I decided to see if any other kits were available. The Seidio kit was okay, but both the microphone cord and the mount itself wore out pretty fast.

    After some review, I chose the THB Bury Freedom Plus carkit. It looked nice and solid, provided me with easy physical access and battery power to the phone, and even included an antenna for better reception. $199 from treocentral.com (mtdn store doesn't carry this)

    Pros:
    1. Holds phone very firmly. No slack, and no popping free like my old Seidio kit.

    2. Has antenna, which provides 2 extra bars in many locations (unlocked GSM on t-mobile)

    3. Has much better speaker sound than the old Seidio I used.

    4. Callers told me that it was so clear they didn't know I was driving. Several people I talk to on a regular basis went out of their way to thank me for upgrading.

    Cons:
    A. The mount covers the top, so you can't grab the stylus without removing the phone. Frankly, this ended up being a non-issue for me. I put an old-style Palm III stylus near the phone, which is easier to grab when in the car anyway ;-)

    B. There's no cigar lighter power cord for this unit. If you want to try it out, you must do (or pay to have done) the hardwire electrical. (Seidio has one)

    C. There's no way to switch to an earpiece for "private call". You have to pull the unit out of the holder and hold it normally. (same with Seidio)

    D. The routing of sound to the speaker is done via software, not using the headphone attachment like the previous Seidio unit. So if the software is unhappy, you have issues. The rest of this article deals with the pros and cons of this issue.

    First, the palm support site hides the software you need for this. If you have an unlocked GSM phone, you won't be able to find it. Here's the link.

    http://www.palm.com/us/support/acces....html#software

    This installs an installer. You run the installer, and it adds the new icon and deletes itself. That icon gives you two choices:

    Auto-answer after X rings
    -- this works well

    Auto Wireless Mode
    -- lets the car turn on the phone if you forgot to do this for some reason. This is worthless in my eyes. Worse yet, when I first enabled it, it started looping by first enabling then disabling the phone. Repeat until I got out of the app and re-entered and disabled it.

    Experience:

    It doesn't tell you that you need to reboot, but it never worked for me unless you rebooted after you installed the kit. So do a soft reset.

    After this, I found that I could put the phone in the cradle and it worked Excellently. However, if I removed it from the cradle and made a call, then put it back in the cradle, it never saw the car kit again.

    I did a lot of debugging, and had a conversation with Palm Support (* see bottom) and nobody had any idea. Alan said that the Treo 600 carkit didn't work with Goodmail, but there were no known issues with Treo650.

    So I removed a lot of apps, and EDITED: figured out that the problem was STOIC (STay On In Cradle). Whatever it is doing to enable the screen when its on power is conflicting with the car kit software. If you disable STOIC and then Delete it, the car kit will start working. No reset is necessary.

    It works so well that you can start a call and then get in the car and it switches to the speaker auto-magically. Nice.

    CONCLUSION:

    1. The sound quality is excellent. Much better than the Seidio. People I talk to say that it's so quiet that if I'm not talking they wonder if we got disconnected.

    2. Speaker function is disabled by the carkit. So no listening to Pocket Tunes when you're in the car. *Comment on TreoCentral says that you can re-route this output to the car speaker using a shareware application called Freedom.

    3. I'm not in love with the idea of software audio routing. Especially not with Palm's lack of Q/A. I expect that more problems may be found. Why doesn't this kit use the hardware connectors on the serial port at the bottom of the Treo like the Seidio does? Is the software routing really necessary for good sound quality?


    PALM SUPPORT:

    Palm has no clue. Phone calls kept getting re-routing to different groups, like the web developer group (doesn't do any support, nevermind car kits), the sales group and other stuff. They were even more clueless than usual. Finally, after 8 disconnects and hours on the phone, a manager patched me directly through to Alan at CellTech Solutions. Turns out that this is the right person to talk to, but the crosspatch confused me and I was a little upset by the time we talked. Alan was always polite, and chatted with me about this. He said that he had seen this on Treo 600s, but not on the 650. He asked me to test out removing applications, and to let him know which one conflicted so that he could get it resolved.

    If you want to buy this unit, or if you need support with it, I recommend calling him directly at 888-820-4838 or alan@celltechsolutions.net.
    Last edited by jrhett; 05/04/2006 at 02:09 PM. Reason: Fix Alan's e-mail address.
  2.    #2  
    Direct Seidio comparison, FYI

    1. Sound quality -- THB Bury

    2. Speaker -- THB -- The THB Speaker is adaptable and can be mounted anywhere the cable will reach. It's also a standard plug, and you can replace the speaker with another of your liking. I like this flexibility. Seidio's speaker is mounted to the mount, and you have no flexibility.

    3. Microphone -- THB -- the noise cancelling technology really works. Everyone compliments the new system. It has a thicker cable than Seidio and less likely to die. (Seidio does appear to have fixed this in their latest microphones)

    4. Antenna -- THB -- Seidio doesn't include an antenna. If you get an antenna, you have to separately attach it and disconnect it every time you plunk the Seidio into the holder.

    5. Physical mount -- THB. The Seidio mount is a plunk in holder with no top. After 9 months of plunking, the connectors wore down and it started jiggling loose during phone calls and especially after going over bumps. The THB kit holds the Treo securely.

    6. Software -- Seidio needs no software, has no conflicts. THB software is working well for me right now, but software is always chancier than hardware. (but solving this might prevent #1 and #2)

    7. Price -- Seidio -- 4500M is $129, the THB Bury kit is $199.

    minor stuff

    The Seidio microphone cord is longer than the THB one, which gives you more flexibility.

    The THB manual is written in 16 or so languages. Which means one sentence per page in 16 languages. Stupid way to write a manual.
    Last edited by jrhett; 04/30/2006 at 04:01 AM. Reason: spelling fixes.
  3. #3  
    Does anyone know WHY the THB won't work with a Sprint/Vzw phone? Given what the thing does, I don't see why there would be a difference. (It is stated in the ad that it will not work with Sprint/VZW)
  4.    #4  
    Okay, so I finally found the conflict. It is STOIC (STay On In Cradle). I don't know what STOIC is doing, but that's what prevents it from working.

    Disable STOIC, then de-install it, and the carkit works fine. No reboot required.
    (but remember to disable it before deleting it, as it says on its screen)

    Sad commentary:

    Given Palm's horrible Q/A, here's my guess on what's happening.

    [in the carkit initialization sequence]
    Step N.. turn on screen
    * fails because STOIC has already turned the screen on
    Step N+1 FATAL ... error. die.

    This is fairly typical bad programmer logic. What do you do if a non-critical step fails? What if you are trying to set something which is already set? Did you evaluate what that return code would be?

    Since this is Palm, the answer is likely not...
    (note: Microsoft is no better and fairly often much worse)
  5.    #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by sndtubes
    Does anyone know WHY the THB won't work with a Sprint/Vzw phone? Given what the thing does, I don't see why there would be a difference. (It is stated in the ad that it will not work with Sprint/VZW)
    As my comments talked about, it would be related to the fact that it is software. Perhaps Sprint didn't want random carkit support, etc. So they simply never enabled the software for the phone.

    Also note that the Antenna would be different, so it would be a completely different kit.
  6. #6  
    Quote Originally Posted by sndtubes
    Does anyone know WHY the THB won't work with a Sprint/Vzw phone? Given what the thing does, I don't see why there would be a difference. (It is stated in the ad that it will not work with Sprint/VZW)

    Alan, from CallTech Solutions, told me that it's because of a lack of software for it. When placed in the cradle, it will use the external antenna and charge the phone. The only problem is that the audio won't work. You can purchase the kit and use a BT headset, though.

    I think if enough people complained to Palm and/or Sprint, maybe this can get solved. I've tried. No one at the regular Sprint support knows anything about this. With Palm, you have to call during the day, and I was always working or at school.

    Personally, I think they may have signed some kind of deal with those Parrot BT car kits. Alan said that they've had the THB ready for quite some time, and have just been waiting on the software from Palm.
  7. #7  
    Will the Thb car kit ever work with a Sprint 650?

    Can anyone customize the software? I miss using it and have the 650 cradle
  8. #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by phillytreo600 View Post
    Will the Thb car kit ever work with a Sprint 650?

    Can anyone customize the software? I miss using it and have the 650 cradle
    I have the Treo 700P Sprint and I am using the THB kit which is for the Treo 650 as indicated on the box. I have downloaded the car kit software (have to look up from where) and everything works as promised. So, maybe the software will work for the 650P too?
    Last edited by brichter21; 09/14/2006 at 04:23 PM.

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