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Psion next generation to roll out on Tuesday

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The next generation of Psion machines will launch in London on Tuesday (15 June), and will include improved communications and Web software and - finally - Java support. These are all matters of some embarrassment to Psion, which made airy promises at the launch of the Series 5 two years ago. The 5, as it turned out, didn't have sufficient beef in it to do a serious job of Java, and the promise was quietly forgotten (except at The Register, of course). At least one new machine, the 5mx, will be launched on Tuesday. This reportedly will have a 36MHz ARM processor and 18MB of memory. Psion is normally sewn-up tight in the days preceding the big announcement (which is usually every second June), but we note with some displeasure that marketing director Geoff Kell seems to have been blabbing in the popular prints. Sack him, Mr. Potter, we say. But that particular new box doesn't seem to be all the story. Psion uses Cirrus Logic ARM chips, and by a massive coincidence Cirrus earlier this week announced the EP7211 system-on-chip module. It's based on the ARM7TDMI core, and by a further massive coincidence is aimed at handheld devices in the $150-$300 bracket. Further down in the coincidence department it supports Windows CE and EPOC32. That makes it a probable contender for a low-cost, high volume Psion, but there's also scope for a rather beefier model (our sources suggest Psion is planning two simultaneously, or close together). The EP7211 uses a dynamically selectable clock circuit that can switch between 18, 36, 49 and 74MHz, so Psion could potentially produce something a deal more powerful than the quoted 36MHz. Further along in the coincidence department, Psion Enterprise, formerly Psion Industrial and the bit that produces more solid, specialist units, seems to have hired an expensive PR outfit for another event Real Soon Now. Psion Industrial said earlier this year it would have a Java-enabled machine by the summer, and Psion only spends money on expensive PR outfits immediately prior to launches. So go figure. ®

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