Dell finally ships Axim ROM update CDs

Dell Inc. is shipping a long-awaited ROM update to its Windows Mobile 2003 Axim handhelds on CDs, a company spokesperson said Friday.

The ROM update fixes performance problems related to the firmware needed to make the Windows Mobile 2003 operating system work with its Axim handhelds, said Jess Blackburn, a Dell spokesperson.

The Round Rock, Tex., company had planned to distribute a fix via its support Web site, but scrapped that plan after a few enterprising Pocket PC 2002 users discovered the patch on a Dell FTP (File Transfer Protocol) site and hacked the patch to give themselves free upgrades to the new operating system.

The ROM update was only supposed to be available to Axim users who had purchased their handhelds after the June 23 launch of the new operating system. Several of those customers also obtained the patch from Dell’s FTP site, but encountered problems when attempting to install the patch.

Dell needed to fix the installer problem and make the patch more secure before it could distribute the CDs, which led to frustrating delays for many Axim users who have been unable to productively use their new handhelds since June.

Customers who purchased an upgrade version of the operating system from Dell will also start to receive their CDs shortly, Blackburn said. The upgrade CDs will begin shipping to U.S. customers on Sept. 17, and began shipping to European customers this week, he said.