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Psion throws itself away in gay abandon

Massive u-turns of our time
Mon Feb 16 2004, 10:51
THE FOUNDER OF Psion, David Potter - has told The Business that his company is planning a series of mobile products that will utilise Linux as their OS.

Potter was quoted as saying, "We believe that the open-source operating system Linux opens the door to new possibilities in the mobile sector." This statement comes mere days after Psion has sold its share in Symbian to Nokia and its software arm, Psion Software, to Visto.

So the company which majored on telling everyone they need to pay for a decent mobile OS, now thinks it should be free. Curiously Psion appears to be copying Motorola which famously dumped Symbian after producing the A920 handset for Hutchison and has actually launched a Linux powered handset in the shape of the A760.

Motorola also backed out of building a Symbian powered wireless PDA in conjunction with Psion codenamed Odin.

The question is - having once been the leading supplier of consumer orientated handhelds in Europe - can Psion rebuild its distribution channel again? Potter appears to have forgotten that the reason given for cancelling its consumer range three years ago (the company still sells industrial handhelds through Teklogix) was that there was no demand for a Bluetooth enabled successor to the Psion 5.

So will dispensing with the need to pay royalties to Symbian save enough money to make Psion's new generation of robust mobile devices competitive? Potter claims his company will launch a sub-notebook by Q3 2004 and a handheld with a miniature keyboard shortly afterwards.

One thing is true - Psion still has a very loyal set of users. The INQ itself still uses a Psion 5 to file many of its stories.


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