Psion – A Brief History #clove20
How Psion changed over the years.
As part of the 20th birthday celebrations, we have a rare blog post from our MD Chris Love, who delves back to the early days of Clove and provides us with a brief history of the Psion devices that set the path for Clove and many other devices today.
The Psion Siena was launched in 1996 and was sold alongside the Series 3c /3mx. It was designed to attract a larger audience of users to the Psion range, with its smaller slimmer size and numeric keypad. The OS was still EPOC but many programs had to be re-written due to its small memory size. The Siena included an infra red port for printing and connection to PC’s.
Not a great success in terms of volume sales, but it probably led to the design of the Revo.
Launched in 1997 it superseded the Psion 3 and became a light version of the 5mx. It lacked additional memory slots but did dun all the software for the Series 5. It led to more females using the Psions and was probably the route that Psion would have built design in future models if they had continued. The keyboard was excellent to use even though it was quite compact.
The Psion 5 was launched in 1997 and won many accolades from both the technical and national press. An advanced operating system in EPOC, a clear backlit screen with icon based applications and a touch screen, made it a hugely popular product and well ahead of the rivals at that stage, although major manufacturers were now looking at entering this market sector.
It has a unique sliding clamshell design which allows the keyboard to slide forward and counterbalance the display. The Keyboard was a joy to use and allowed easy entering of data, with many books being written on it at the time.
Memory could be added and the operating system allowed easy development of programs and the list of programs available for the 5 and 5mx was impressive, including a route planner from Palmtop BV, who went on to form the company that now dominates the Car GPS market with its TOM TOM devices.
Already you could browse the web, email and handle internet banking (notably with Lloyds Bank at the time) using their travel modem.
Psion Series 7
The Psion Series 7 was launched in 2000, a design well ahead of its time and would be the base for the netbook designs from companies such as ASUS years later.
Larger than a palmtop, but lighter and more portable than a laptop, with a full colour touch screen, it allowed users to be truly portable and yet productive. Its design even today outshines many of the netbooks that eventually replaced it. We were pleased to supply 250 of these to the UK gas safety organisation, named CORGI at that time with the Psion Series 7 for their field inspectors
Psion also launched a NETBOOK in 1999 which was designed to be used by the mobile enterprise market, its major difference it that its OS ran from the RAM, which made it faster and easier to load customised versions of the software to suit individual applications.
Did you use a Psion (we expect many did)? What did you like or dislike about it? Could you imagine going back to it?