Palm has warned that a minority of its machines may have a faulty memory chip.

The fault exists in only three per cent of its handheld units, particularly those manufactured between October 1999 and April 2000. The models affected are the Palm IIIc, IIIxe and Vx models. A software patch is available to address the problem in the IIIc and Vx products, with a patch for the IIIxe available shortly, says the company.

The problem exists in some of the 8MB DRAM chips. Most units are unaffected, including all 2MB, 4MB and most 8MB models. The faulty components have now been removed from Palm’s manufacturing process.

Without the patch, units with faulty chips could have damaged information, such as telephone numbers. The patch eliminates this risk. It’s available for download from Palm’s Web site. The patch takes one minute to install.