Psion Going Back to its Roots (Updated)

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One of the biggest news stories of late has been Psion’s decision to sell its share of Symbian to Nokia. This gives Nokia control of the Symbian OS, but it raises the question, “What’s next for Psion?”

According to eWeek, Psion’s plans can be summed up as Linux on sub-notebooks.

Apparently, the British company wanted to use the Symbian OS on devices other than smart phones, but the other members of the Symbian partnership, like Nokia and Sony Ericsson, had no interest. That’s why Psion decided to drop out and start fresh.

As part of the sales agreement, it got 93.5 million British pounds, plus it gets a royalty payment on each Symbian device Nokia sells for the next two years. This means Psion has a lot of money to throw into research and development of its new products.

David Potter, founder and chairman of Psion, told eWeek that he believes desktop and notebook computers have become too powerful and complicated for the average user. He intends for Psion to put out devices that are simpler and easier to use. That’s why he wants to put out sub-notebooks running Linux.

“With the latest hardware, you’re putting great big tractors on people’s desks. They become very complex and fragile. I think Linux is the way that’s going to be taken forward, with a whole variety of products and offerings,” he told eWeek.

This won’t be the first time the company has made products in this category; the company recently released a sub-notebook that runs Windows CE.

Psion is expected to reveal more of its plans on March 2.

Update: According to The Inquirer, Psion will launch its first new subnotebook before October, and a handheld with a built-in keyboard not too long after that.

Psion’s History

Psion was founded in 1980 by Mr. Potter to develop software for the first home computers. After a few years, it went in a different direction by releasing the Psion Organiser in 1984. Since that time, it created a series of handheld products of increasing sophistication.

In 1998, it became one of the founding members of Symbian, with its operating system EPOC (which supposedly stands for Electronic Piece Of Cheese) forming the basis for the Symbian OS. It announced last week that it was pulling out of Symbian.

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