Upon pulling it out and getting it turned on, I noticed that there was a discoloration on the screen, sort of like a frost bloom. I saw a few little dings and such, especially the marks below the power connector, which one gets by jamming the cord at it in the dark (or being drunk like Harry Watson).
I poked about on the web to start with setting it up. I got it to the point where it prompts you to log into your data profile. I could either log in, create a new one (which I didn't want to do), or learn more. I didn't see the little data icon. I rebooted. I saw the little data icon, but only for a few seconds. I kept getting the "you're not in the network" error, and then when I did manage to get my info entered in time, I got an error saying to contact Palm.
I chatted with Palm, and Palm said to call Sprint. I told Palm that I didn't have another phone to call Sprint, and that Sprint's chat looked to be down for the day. I tried calling on speakerphone just to see what would happen, and started out by explaining that it was a tech issue with the phone I was calling from, but I was wondering if there was anything they could do in any case -- it didn't seem to have a stable connection to the data network, and the previous handset had been stolen, and could they check -- sure, they chould check. And the call dropped.
By that time it was pretty late, so I went to bed to try chatting the next day.
4:13 PM 9/15/2010
Yesterday's funtimes started out as follows:
10:20:50 AM : Connected to sprint.ehosts.net
10:20:50 AM : Session ID: 
10:20:50 AM : LUNATIC: Initial Question/Comment: My replacement handset does not have a stable data connection. This is a technical support issue, but I have no landline. I have power-cycled the phone.
10:21:00 AM : TECH has joined this session!
10:21:00 AM : Connected with TECH. Your Reference Number for this chat session is .
10:21:00 AM : Thank you for contacting Sprint. My name is TECH.
10:21:11 AM : LUNATIC: Hello.
10:21:20 AM : TECH: Hello
10:21:30 AM : TECH: How many times you have done power cycle?
10:22:09 AM : LUNATIC: I have lost count. More than five times. Including taking out the battery and putting it back in.
10:22:35 AM : TECH: Are you able to access Internet from this phone?
10:23:22 AM : LUNATIC: I am not. This is a new phone that I am trying to set up. The old one was stolen. Every hour or so I see a data connection icon for a few seconds, but it always goes away quickly.
10:23:55 AM : TECH: Please allow me a few moments to access your account and check this.
10:23:58 AM : LUNATIC: ok
10:29:11 AM : TECH: Please power cycle your phone again by switch off the device
10:29:16 AM : TECH: Take out the battery
10:29:26 AM : TECH: And replace it after 5 minutes.
10:30:13 AM : LUNATIC: OK, battery out.
10:30:21 AM : TECH: Ok
10:35:50 AM : LUNATIC: Putting it back in.
10:35:58 AM : TECH: Ok
10:36:43 AM : LUNATIC: Starting up.
10:36:58 AM : TECH: Please follow the steps
10:37:03 AM : TECH: Press the green Phone key.
10:37:08 AM : TECH: Tap Menu.
10:37:16 AM : TECH: Tap Preferences.
10:37:17 AM : LUNATIC: There are no green keys on the keyboard.
10:37:34 AM : TECH: It is at the left side of the phone.
10:37:48 AM : LUNATIC: Are you talking about the Palm Pixi?
10:38:04 AM : TECH: Yes.
10:38:26 AM : LUNATIC: If you mean an onscreen button, it is not yet set up to the point where it shows me the regular button to dial the phone.
10:38:53 AM : LUNATIC: Since it has not had a data connection, setup has stalled at the point where I am trying to sign in to my existing Palm profile.
10:39:48 AM : LUNATIC: I have a prompt to sign in to my Palm profile, a prompt to create a new Palm profile, a button to tell me more, and a white handset prompt.
10:40:11 AM : LUNATIC: When I pick the white handset icon, I have the option to make an emergency call, or call customer service.
10:40:15 AM : LUNATIC: Or cancel.
10:40:46 AM : TECH: Are you getting all this on palm pixi?
10:40:55 AM : LUNATIC: Yes. This is the Palm Pixi.
10:42:26 AM : TECH: Ok
10:42:40 AM : LUNATIC: Meanwhile, I have my phone sitting in a place where the previous identical handset got a data signal, and this phone does not have the icon indicating that it has a data signal.
10:43:46 AM : TECH: Let me refresh your device from here also.
10:45:56 AM : TECH: I have refreshed your phone from here.
10:46:06 AM : TECH: Please try to access Internet now
10:46:54 AM : LUNATIC: I still have no data icon, and the sign in to the palm profile failed with the following error message:
10:47:26 AM : LUNATIC: "Sign In Failed: You need to be connected to your wireless service provider's network to sign in. When you are in a location with service, please try again."
10:47:45 AM : LUNATIC: Keep in mind that this identical spot on my desk gave me service with the previous handset.
10:47:48 AM : LUNATIC: Shall I reboot?
10:48:46 AM : TECH: It might be some technical issue with your phone. I would recommend you to contact our dedicated department called technical department.
10:49:02 AM : TECH: Please contact at 888-211-4727 and follow the prompt for technical
10:49:27 AM : LUNATIC: How do you propose that I do this, when I have no other telephone in my home other than the handset that has the technical problem?
10:50:17 AM : TECH: I understand that you don't have an extra phone to make a call to our technical department.
10:51:07 AM : TECH: Please visit the sprint store with this phone. The rep from store will connect your call with our technical department
10:51:22 AM : TECH: I will also put a not on your account regarding this.
10:51:31 AM : LUNATIC: Thank you.
10:51:57 AM : TECH: Your welcome
10:52:12 AM : TECH: I appreciate your understanding and time
I wandered into the store some time later, with book in hand (Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, a re-read, this being the book that the shelf had thrown at my bed some days earlier), pen and paper for backup. I explained: new handset, previous one stolen, no data connection in places that should have one. I handed over the phone, carefully wrote down the login credentials (*erk*), mentioned that the login credentials worked on the Palm website, but not so much on the phone, and Palm had said that they'd look into ... after my data connection was stable.
A lady came in, with a hyper little 3-year-old. We chatted. I wrote out the alphabet and numbers. The kid drew a bit. They left. A guy came in, and we chatted about the woes of missing phones, and his buddy who lost or dropped his phone 4 times in a row, and finally had it attached to a key-card leash to keep from losing it or dropping it quite so hard. I was intrigued by the possibilities.
An hour and a half later, a manager emerged from the back room, saying that this was the 4th handset they'd tried, still no luck.
I had a sudden and horrifying thought. I tried to make my statement as tactful as possible. "I know you've hopefully already tried this, but ... on the off chance you haven't ... my previous phone was stolen, in case there's some sort of block on the *account*... but likely you've already ... "
The manager's face told me all that I needed to know. Shortly thereafter, the redheaded tech emerged from the back room with my phone in hand (minus the leash); she said it was all set up and ready for me to put in my password to the services it was connecting to.
I looked at the handset, and realized something else: there was no discoloration on the screen. In all the swapping about, they'd left me with what must have been the 4th handset.
I went to the little discount store and got a few cheap accessories, chiefly including a regular cellphone leash with a mini clip, a cellphone leash with a bell, and a keycard leash with the retractable cord. After some experimenting, I found that the best configuration was to take the clip, attach it to the keycard leash, and clip that to my jacket pocket's buttonhole, then put the plain leash on the phone and attach the keycard leash to that, and to attach the belled charm to the end, so it made an obnoxious jingling noise any time it was disturbed. One custom anti-pickpocketing solution!
[edit: unfinished sentence is no longer unfinished. When I got home, I confirmed: different serial number, but the same battery. Heh.]