My love for... Psion - Part 2

By Blue2k on Tuesday 5 April 2011 18:08 - Comments (2)
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Psion had already introduced their most successful PDAs when I acquired my 5mx: the Series 3 range, the Series 5 and then the Series 5mx. I believe their Series 5 range is considered to be their Swan Song, but the netBook was a great device too in my opinion (I'm writing this on a Psion netBook). The devices were far ahead of their time in interesting ways. They weren't particularly flashy or extremely fast, but instead, excelled at battery life and user experience. The Series 5 keyboard is still considered to be one of the best keyboards for mobile devices ever made. Their battery life is still unrivaled, the netBook I have here in front of me will last me for more than 11 hours on a single charge, and with the additional batteries I have it'll last me for about 48 hours! All their devices are instant on (and off), and losing data is very, very rare when the batteries do give out. I've never lost a single bit of data from the Psions I owned.

Psion 5mx

There is a fine line between nostalgia and making a point I've found. This netBook is definitely behind the times in certain aspects: no USB, limited internet capabilities and no compatibility with the latest Windows, OSX or Linux software for example. But there are still a few aspects that even the latest devices can barely match. The instant-on nature of the Psion devices in general make them extremely handy for work on-the-go or work that gets interrupted a lot. The focus on battery life is not only apparent in hardware, but even the software is aggressively tuned for power conservation. The usability provided by the excellent keyboards on both the Series 5 range and netBook, coupled with the portability, is something that very few (or no) devices currently on the market can deliver.

My love for... Psion - Part 1

By Blue2k on Friday 1 April 2011 01:15 - Comments (10)
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It started about 12 years ago, when my father bought himself a new PDA. It was something called a 'Psion 5mx' and it looked absolutely fascinating to me. It was like a small computer that could fit, with some force applied, in your pocket. It had a touch screen and, even though it was monochrome, sported a half-VGA resolution. It looked absolutely stunning when you opened it: the screen folds back, the keyboard slides out; something from the future had somehow found its way to my dad! I immediately fell in love with the device and 'borrowed' it so often from him that on my next birthday he decided to give me one for myself. I remember unwrapping the box and being completely flabbergasted, defintely not what I had expected! Psions were not cheap when they came out, but as with most parents, they had some kind of feeling that it'd be something that would resonate well with me.

Psion 5mx

I've always had a great interest in computers and technology, but owning the Psion 5mx put everything in overdrive. Because Psion started (with the Series 5) providing a development environment right on the device, you could write your own applications. With a language called OPL and the built-in editor you could compile and run your own creations with the touch (pun intended) of a button. I had found my calling... the next few years I spent writing software and experiments on the Psion 5mx. Even on vacation I'd be either on the couch or outside in the sun programming, or as I liked to call it: having fun. It received a special place in my heart over those years, and once in a while I'll feel sad that Psion's appearance in the consumer market has disappeared.