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Psion pulls plugs on modem business

We're running out of eras to end here, folks...

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Psion has pulled the plugs on its Gold Card modems and related products - a not entirely unexpected move, considering it pulled out of consumer PDAs last year, and that the bright idea it had about where the modem business would go was knocked on the head around the same time.

This is however the end of yet another era for the plucky British company that invented the PDA. For years, as a matter of policy/bigotry, the Psion High Command argued to The Register that PC Card expansion was an unacceptable power drain when applied to pocket devices. That, dear readers, is why Psion resisted PC Card slots for so long. Yet at the same time, the company developed a highly lucrative PC Card modem business via the purchase of modem company Dacom.

So, for a time, Psion-Dacom was making a major contribution to Psion plc revenues. The switch over to built in modems in notebooks destroyed that revenue, and although the Dacom purchase had originally been about acquiring the communications technology that would be needed for future generation PDAs, that one seems to have gone by the wayside, or disappeared into the maw of Symbian, in the interim.

Psion had, as we said, figured this out a while back and tried something else. Or several things else. Psion Infomedia, "formed in 1999 to develop new products exploiting the convergence of computing communications technologies," is no longer with us, and Trivanti was closed a year ago. The Great White Hope Psion Infomedia product, the Wavefinder digital radio, is weirdly still (allegedly) available at the Psion shop, priced £99.95 and tagged with the improbable warning "Due to extreme current demand for the Psion Wavefinder, deliveries may be 4 or 5 working days later than expected."

This is actually quite a good deal, if you can't find one bargain binned for £50, but you'll have to dump the brain-dead Psion software and use one of the alternatives instead, if you want to actually use your computer as well as listen to digital radio. We've no idea if Psion will really ship you one if you try to buy it, however. Our final digression (we promise) is simply to note what you'll find if you go to this once important and formerly Psion site. Oh dear oh dear.

Anyway, the deaded products this time around are as follows: Gold Card WANGlobal, Gold Card ISDN only, Gold Card ISDN Upgrade, Gold Card GSM Upgrades, Travel Modem 56K, Gold Card LANGlobal, USB Series. They will be formally end of lifed six months from today, and will be repairable under warranty for two years and three months after that.

We can't, offhand, think of any more eras at Psion that could end now. Apart from the one, that is... ®

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