Feeds

The return of the Psion-sized PC

Is that a QWERTY in your pocket?

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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.

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
Ofcom tackles complaint over Premier League footie TV rights
Virgin Media: UK fans pay the most for the fewest matches
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
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?
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.