Feeds

The return of the Psion-sized PC

Is that a QWERTY in your pocket?

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

The Psion-sized PC is back, in the form of an Atom-based pocket computer.

The return is thanks to two names familiar to the Epoc community - former Psion employee Paul Pinnock of Croydon repair shop POS Ltd, and broadcaster Ewan Spence, an editor at AllAboutSymbian. Or as we still fondly think of it, AllAboutER6.

The first offering from the new company, the Psi)(pda (easier written and pronounced as PsiXpda), is certainly Psion-sized, if not quite the legendary form factor. It's a slide-up, rather than a fold-out "spectacle case" hinge - so the keyboard isn't quite of the Psion vintage - it looks like the WinCE Psion knock-offs, or the larger Nokia Communicators.

The PsiXpda runs Windows XP, but it's open for hacking, the company stresses. So Linux and Android, and perhaps even Symbian, may soon be running.

PsiXpda

There's no doubting its compact credentials. The device packs an Atom processor, a 1850mAH battery, 1GB RAM and an 800x480 screen into a 174mm x 84mm x 25mm device, weighing 430g. The Series 5MX checked in at 168mm x 90mm x 23mm and weighed 360g, including the two AA batteries. So it's heavier than the 5MX or 3MX (275g) but smaller in two planes.

The compactness comes at a premium: the device will retail for around £500.

Psion Series 5

Pinnock acquired the old Psion plant machinery at the end of the 1990s. After Psion withdrew from the consumer electronics market in 2001, Pinnock and former POS employee Ewan hoped to resume manufacturing Revos as replacements for the then substantial Psion market. The two almost snared a PalmOS licence for the hardware.

Psions were a ubiquitous sight in the 1990s, offering touch typing in a device that fitted in the shirt pocket, and a bunch of powerful computer features. Clever industrial design maximised the surface area for the QWERTY keyboard, which appeared bigger than the device itself - a nice trick. (Psion still owns the patents for these designs.)

Now that the laptop is cheap and ubiquitous, it's hard to see a shirt-pocket computer being quite as popular. But then again, nothing on the market today offers touch typing, and instant on, in such a compact and convenient package.

Instant on means instant off, which makes it a much more social device than a laptop. And the software of today - email, social networking, IM, Twittering - demands a good keyboard. Something ought to cater to this market: social hardware for social software.

You can find the Xpda here - and get nostalgic with our history of Psion, The Last Computer, here. ®

Update: It does look like a rebadged Asian UMPC, the EKing S515. Stand down.

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
Google has spaffed more cash on lobbying this year than Big Cable
Don't worry, it'll be cheaper when they use drones
EE fails to apologise for HUGE T-Mobile outage that hit Brits on Friday
Customer: 'Please change your name to occasionally somewhere'
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?