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Toshiba Recalls Some PDAs

Oct 21, 2002 | PCWORLD.COM Toshiba is recalling some of its Pocket PC E740 personal digital assistants to correct a manufacturing flaw that could, in some cases, result in lost data.

The recall, announced Monday, is limited to units with serial numbers between 7201461L and 92041620L. The company won't say how many units are affected. The product was released last June.

The recall is totally voluntary and no customer has yet complained about the problem, which came to light during a routine quality check, according to Toshiba. It appears that the backup batteries in these units don't engage properly. Without a working backup battery, removing the main battery or letting it run out entirely will erase any data currently in RAM.

Is that likely to happen? Not according to Oscar Koenders, Toshiba's vice president of product marketing and worldwide product planning. The Pocket PC E740 warns you if battery power is getting low, and recommends backing up your data. You even have a choice for the backup: Save data to flash RAM (the PDA comes with both Secure Digital and CompactFlash slots) or to a PC via the USB cradle.

"That's probably the reason why no customer has come to us with a complaint," Koenders says of the ease of backup.

Getting a Fix

If you've got an E740, check the serial number on the back of the unit. If yours is in the range mentioned above (serial numbers that begin with a letter are not affected), Toshiba urges you to contact it for a repair. You can call 800-788-1653 or visit Toshiba's site to make the request. Toshiba will mail you instructions and postage-page packaging. You should back up any data on the PDA before you return it.

In the meantime, you can live safely with the defective E740--at least until it's convenient for you to return it--by taking some reasonable precautions.

First, never let the battery fully discharge. If you get a warning that the battery is low, save what you have and don't use the E740 without the AC adapter until you have plugged it into the USB cradle and allowed it to recharge itself.

Second, back up your data regularly. The E740 comes with software for this purpose.

Finally, if you need to remove the battery--to replace it, for example plug the PDA into a wall socket via an AC adapter first.

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