PDA manufacturer Palm has warned that some of its handhelds have a faulty memory chip that can damage stored data.

About 3 percent of Palm handhelds have the problematic 8MB DRAM (dynamic random access memory) chip, which can corrupt data such as stored telephone numbers, to-do lists and address book entries.

The affected models are the Palm IIIc, Palm IIIxe and Palm Vx. The company revealed that about 200,000 Palm handhelds manufactured between October 1999 and May 2000 have the faulty chip, which was produced by Micron Technology.

However the problem can be corrected with a free software download. The download and a diagnostic test to identify if your Palm is one of those affected, is available on Palm Web site at http://www.palm.com/support/dram/.

The site has patches for the Palm IIIc and the Palm Vx and will shortly have one for the Palm IIIxe.