Psion and Epoc Palmtop computers

The finest miniature business computers

The full range of Psion and Epoc compatible computers.

I've found the Psion series really interesting pocket computers, especially suited to business work and organising events where access to a desktop computer is difficult for long periods. They really can act as a partial replacement for a desktop computer. With the expansion of of Symbian's Epoc operating system into the mobile phone area, they may expand further.

Psion 3 (1991)

Obsolete (but very clever) 16 bit 8086 compatible hardware, with very well written multitasking software. 320x80 display. Proves once again that good software is far more important to performance than is fancy new hardware. SIBO operating system.

Psion 3a (1993)

Released in 1993 as an upgrade to Psion 3 (1991), with a larger 480x160 display, and some additional applications included, and larger memory available. SIBO operating system.

Psion 3c (1996 upgrade)

Communication port brought onboard, upgraded applications, larger memory (1 MB and 2 MB), 480x160 display, with backlight. Really nice SIBO computer. Released 5 Sept 1996. SIBO operating system.

Psion Siena (1996)

Half sized 240x160 screen, low cost and smaller (150x73x19mm) version of the 3c, using AAA batteries. The cheapest SIBO. Released 5 Sept 1996.

Psion 3mx (1998)

Internal modifications to increase the clock speed by a factor of three. Last in the SIBO range. Please note that I have only one unmaintained page relating to Psion SIBO programs.

Psion 5 (June 1997)

First 32 bit Epoc version, with a faster and more capable ARM processor, 4 MB or 8 MB of RAM memory and 6 MB of ROM with the EPOC operating system and applications, IrDA connections for GSM mobile phone and printing, Type I Compact Flash for disk space, backlight, and a larger 640x240 touch screen display. Epoc operating system Release 1, and applications, which were available for licensing by other hardware makers. This model was updated to Epoc Release 2 around August 1997, when Rom 1.01 was fitted. (Epoc Release 3 was a software patch that accompanied the Email and Web applications from Message Suite.)

Geofox (October 1997)

A wonderfully clear 640x320 display, and glidepoint mouse instead of a touch screen, this system was about the size of a paperback novel. Included CF and PCMCIA slots. Software was Psion 5 compatible, using Epoc Release 3. Sold only over the web. I played with one of these at Comdex in 1997, and really wanted to buy it. Alas, the business failed after less than a year.

Philips Synergy Clip-on

Philips Consumer Communications designed and prototyped a small Smartphone clip-on for their Illium GSM phone. I saw one at Comdex, however Philips never released it as far as I could tell. It had email, SMS, web browser, and Epoc Agenda, clock and calculator. Fitted on the back of the phone.

Oregon Scientific Osaris (1998)

A lower cost (US$350 and US$400) version with a 320 x 200 display, 8 MB and 16 MB models and different ARM CPU. Two AA batteries. Has a serial port, IrDA, and Compact Flash port, plus DC power port. 112 x 70 x 12.5 mm, 75 grams. The only computer released with Epoc Release 4. www.oregonscientific.com/

Psion 5mx and 5mx Pro (June 1999)

Twice the speed, and 16 MB of memory, using Epoc Release 5, but only minor patches to the applications. Had the email in ROM, and a revised Web browser on CD. The Pro was sold only in Germany and had 24 MB of RAM, with the operating system loaded into it from Compact Flash, not resident in ROM.

Ericsson MC218

Rebadged Psion 5mx, expanded to 12 MB ROM with Ericsson applications including a WAP browser and mobile phone support. Usually sold with Ericsson cellular phone modems.

Psion netBook (June 1999)

Psion Enterprise produced this larger format model for the corporate market. VGA colour display (the first colour Psion), and 190 MHz StrongARM CPU, plus a Compact Flash and PCMCIA slot. Hope to eventually have support for Ethernet and video output. 32 MB RAM with expansion to 64 MB. It loads the Epoc Release 5 operating system from CF or serial port.

Psion 7 (September 1999)

A cheaper retail version of the netBook, with a slower processor, and 16 MB RAM (expandable to 32 MB), and not updatable. Not expected to support Ethernet or video output. Most Psion 5 software works fine.

Psion Revo (October 1999)

At 200 grams the smallest and cheapest Epoc 5 system, this reverts to a 480 x 160 display without backlight, and only 8 MB RAM, but the same CPU and speed as the Series 5mx. It can not be expanded, and uses a built in rechargeable battery. Lacks some internal software (Sketch, Comms, OPL editor). Most Psion 5 software works fine on the Revo, although some displays badly.

Psion Revo Plus (September 2000)

Twice the memory, but otherwise unchanged from the original Revo. Came with an external WAP browser. Manual is now supplied in PDF (boo, hiss) on the PsiWin CD, but online help has been expanded.

Ericsson R380 mobile phone

Modified Epoc 5 based GSM mobile phone with reduced facility PDA in 2 MB RAM, showcased around March 1999, and released towards the end of 2000. This phone can not be upgraded with other applications. Has 360 by 120 display, voice recorder, on screen keyboard, Jot recogniser, contacts, SMS and email, Calendar (Agenda), Clock, Calculator. Revised R380e of 2002 has ink notes in the phone, upgraded WAP, Tetris, 25% better battery capacity, as well as serial now has USB (but no cable).

Psion Enterprise netPad

Rugged water resistant pen tablet with 640 x 240 backlit colour display, up to 64 MB memory, originally due second half of 2000, now in 2001. Seems to be ER5 (not ER6) with JVM, replaceable rechargeable Li-Ion battery for 8 hours, 200 MHz StrongARM CPU, MMC memory card, not CF, IrDA. User configurable operating system loaded into Flash memory. Applications are Mail, Web, Word, Sheet, Contact, Agenda, Jotter, Voice, and software keypad. 215mm x 85mm x 28mm, 20 ounces. Released Nov 2001. www.psionusa.com/EnterpriseSolutions/Netpad/index.html

Parthus InfoStream (October 2000)

Pen only communicator and organiser system on a chip, using up to 200 MHz ARM 92XT CPU in 0.18 and 0.25 CMOS. Range of OS supported, optimised for Symbian. Chip supports colour LCD 1/4 to VGA at 1 to 16 bits per pixel, MMU, PCMCIA and PCCard, up to 28 interrupts, 3 UARTs including IrDA and SIR to 115 kbps, GPIO, 10 channel DMA, RTC, etc. For OEM developers, not end users. Be interesting to see who develops using it. www.parthus.com

Symbian Quartz

Codename for Epoc 6 based quarter VGA screen Palm type communication (cellular) device reference design. Earpiece (possibly with Bluetooth) for calls. Designs started appearing in 2000, mass sales in a few years. First example (using ER5) is Ericsson R380 phone around September 2000. ER6 was announced in October 2000, but many will wait for more Bluetooth support and chipsets. Probably use CIC's JOT character recognition. There were once lots of photos of CeBIT 2000 prototypes are available at Milan Tjioe's site at www.psionumc.cjb.net and at dermatology.azn.nl/zhou/cebit200.htm

Symbian Crystal

Codename for Symbian reference design smartphone with colour 240 x 320 display and ER6 (SDK released Nov 2000). Expected mid 2001. Reference displays look very like the Palm UI, with no file manager. Pen input is not mandatory (there is a soft keyboard on display, and Jot has been demonstrated). These models are expected to sell through the same channels as mobile phones.

Symbian Pearl

Symbian smartphone reference design displayed in June 2001.

Psion 9?

All creative photo adjusting, but check www.theregister.co.uk/content/archive/13827.html and photos were once at http://wapland.no/art/1204/html

Ericsson communicator

Ericsson are already selling their R380 EPOC 5 based phone in Europe and the USA at the end of 2000. They also seemed to have a full working prototype Quartz design at CeBIT, so that may appear in 2001. Seems to be a tri-band GSM with quarter VGA and HSCSD (High Speed Circuit Switched Data) but not GPRS (expected in production models). Looks like Bluetooth and maybe GPS location also. Sound player also? Maybe, as they do have the MP3 add ons.

Motorola Accompli 003 Phone

The Register has a short article at www.theregister.co.uk/content/archive/14240.html. This is basically a quarter VGA 256 colour tri-band GSM and GPRS phone with a multimedia card. ARM based, with 48 MB of memory and EPOC 6.1 OS, and probably Bluetooth. (Not the same as the Accompli 009 which is more like a PDA). This was probably the cancelled Odin project.

Nokia 9210

Combined PDA and GSM phone, not as much of a brick as the Geos based 9110. Runs Symbian ER6. The USA GSM frequency model will be called a 9290. Has been released in late 2001, became a best seller in Europe, and a range of Epoc 5 applications have already been converted to it. The 9210i model of late 2002 preinstalls additional 3rd party applications such as Opera with Javascript and CSS support, a Flash player, and a RealOne player. Memory is now 16 MB application, 16 MB user (6 MB preinstalled apps), and 8 MB of SDRam execution memory (same as earlier model).

Nokia 7650

Symbian 6.1 smartphone. Released mid 2002. Based on the Pearl reference design.

Sanyo Epoc Phone

Only joined Symbian in 2000, but announced a phone before the end of the year. No details.

Sony Ericsson's P800

A smartphone has a 208 by 320 touchscreen colour display, narrower than the Quartz reference model, 12 MB of memory, a VGA digital camera, and uses Symbian OS v7.0. Uses a browser from AU Systems for HTML, cHTML, i-Mode and WAP. Suitable for GSM and GPRS.

This site will look much better in a browser that supports W3C web standards but it is accessible to any browser or internet device, including Psion Web and similar PDA or limited browsers. Netscape 4.x users - turn Style Sheets off. Your style sheet support is too broken to use (sorry).


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