Psion PDAs Resurrected?

UMPCPortal reports on a new 3G-connected handheld computer called the PsiXpda: PsiXPDA UMPC Launches in UK, US, Europe. Apparently, PsiXpda is made by a former Psion engineer with rights to use the Psion 5 series design, which explains that familiar sliding clamshell shape.

Psion was the original PDA maker, creators of the world’s most popular mobile phone operating system (called EPOC back then, now known as Symbian) and inventors of the term “netbook“.

Although producing admired (even loved), fast, stable and energy-efficient machines, Psion as a consumer PDA company went to the wall as it dithered in the “one box vs. two boxes” debate (would consumers prefer an all-in-one computing and telephony device (i.e., a smartphone), or a PDA with nice screen and keyboard connected to a separate mobile phone?). Their last EPOC-based device available was a sub-notebook, the Series 7 (the corporate version was the “Psion netBook”), released in 2000; they merged with Teklogix soon after and refocused on handheld devices like those used in warehouses.

The PsiXpda is a new handheld/UMPC that appears to keep the old Psion flame alive: small, fast, that unique clamshell. However, it lacks the other main attraction of the original Psion: the light, fast EPOC/Symbian operating system. Instead, it uses Microsoft Windows XP; the developer is aware of Google’s Chromium OS, but is taking a wait-and-see approach. He seems to have no comment on the now open-sourced Symbian.


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