Psion was the UK pioneer of Handheld Computing, long before the Smartphone became mainstream. The Psion Organiser, its first Hardware product, was a groundbreaking success and effectively created the Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) category. This Pocket Computer allowed to store Contacts, Agenda and Notes all in one place. It was programmable with removable ‘drives’, which were the precursors of ‘Solid-State Disks’. Headquartered in London, Psion was a vertically integrated Organization with its own Software Applications, Operating System, Electronics, Digital and Analog IC Design and Manufacturing. At its peak, Psion shipped over 500K units per annum.
We were with Psion during its best years, leading the Design and Development of their B2C products; MC400 & MC600, Series 3, 5, 7 and Revo, together with B2B products; HC100, Workabout and a range of Accessories. Working with an external Industrial Design Team, Mechanical Design, Tooling and Moulding were carried out in the UK. We also coordinated the Electronics and PCB Design, including Custom Silicon. Manufacturing was originally done in the UK at Psion's own factory, which included Surface Mount Technology (SMT) lines, Final Assembly and Test. We then helped outsource the Manufacturing to Taiwan in order to reduce costs.
Psion InfoMedia, one of two new business Start-Ups (the other being Symbian), was established to exploit ‘convergence’ opportunities. We helped create the Core Team, which operated as a ‘Virtual Company', using external Design, Marketing, Development and Manufacturing resources. The first product ‘WaveFinder’ was a Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) receiver for the PC. This product provided an innovative, cost-effective Digital Radio, which could receive both Digital Audio and Data Services simultaneously, allowing Commercial Radio Broadcasters to experiment with new multimedia content.
InfoMedia Handheld Concept
WaveFinder Digital Radio
Psion formed Symbian with Nokia, Ericsson, Motorola and created the 32-bit Symbian MobileOS, intended as the base for a new range of Smartphones. While Symbian MobileOS powered some 125 million phones at its peak, Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android eventually curtailed its success. When Psion withdrew from the Consumer Market, it focussed on rugged B2B products, but was eventually acquired by Motorola Solutions.