back to article Psion founder retires

The founder of mobile computer firm Psion has stepped down from his role as chairman of the company. Psion announced Dr David Potter's retirement on 26 June this year, when it appointed John Hawkins as his successor. He formally takes over as chairman at the firm today after serving on Psion's board of directors since 2002. …


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  1. Chronos Silver badge


    Yes, perhaps it was, but I'm disappointed. Psion could have been so much more had they only stayed true to their roots. For example, had they continued with the Series 3/5 concept, taking it to its logical destination, they could have been ruling the netbook space by now. A waste, a sad waste of so many talented engineers, developers and designers. What have we got to show for Psion's innovations instead? Symbian and a lawsuit over the trademark "netBook." A pitiful legacy for a company that showed so much early potential.

  2. Andy Barber


    Don't forget that Psion developed an early version of 'Office' type software for the Sinclair QL, (Merlin Tonto,) called Psion Xchange creating an interoperating word processor, spreadsheet, database & a graphical display. OK it's clunky by today's standards but in the 1980's it was cutting edge. In the 1990's I visited quite a few firms still running QL's; if it works, don't fix it. The PC I replaced it with in 1994, cost as much as FIVE PC's now.

  3. Martin 6 Silver badge

    Anyhting better yet?

    The Nokia 8100 is almost as good as a Psion 5, except the keyboard isn't as good and you can't just use a couple of AA batteries.

    Still they've only had 10 years - maybe in another 10years.

  4. Sean Timarco Baggaley


    "Psion could have been so much more had they only stayed true to their roots."

    Eh? Is there still a market for ZX81 and ZX Spectrum games?

  5. Charles Manning

    Pity they went to sleep.

    If they'd kept refreshing the Psion7 they'd have had something better than EeePC.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I can't help but see the parallel between the success of the iPhone due to its sexy image and a massive deveoper community producing hundreds/thousands of apps for all sorts of weird and wonderful uses, and the success of the Psion Series 3.

    The Series 5 and 7 never really matched their success, given that PDAs had gone mainstream by then, and I don't think it's coincidental that the same kind of developer community didn't emerge after the Series 5 launch.

    There were certainly some ver nice and powerful apps, but not over 3000 programs covering every need like the Series 3.

    Perhaps there's even a parallel between that and the success of Firefox and its extensions? Regardless of what people actually do, they just like buying into something that seems so versatile?

    But perhaps any new Psion today would have little in the way of physical advantages. I can't see any 'proper' device still running off AA batteries, and the screens on any device are miles better than even the original Series 3a. Integrated connectivity ports are standard, as is some kind of wireless link, and even small keyboards have come a long way in the last ten years, though the Series 5 is still lovely to use, and the Series 7's should have been licenced to laptop manufacturers in the 90s because even by today's standards it's magnificent.

    Shame on Nokia & co for not licencing or buying Psion's patents to make their hardware better years ago. No one's benefitted from them ever since, not even Psion themselves (when was the last time Texlogik released a device using a Series 5 keyboard?).

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    "Psion could have been so much more had they only stayed true to their roots."

    I for one would welcome "Grand Theft Horace".

    The Series 3a was great. Still my favourite PDA to this day. Did everything I needed and mind blowing battery life on 2 AA's. Could even play a good game of Manic Miner. On the downside in the first year I had a keyboard failure and a hinge broke. I know I wasn't alone with these problem as I knew 4 other owners.

    It all went wrong with the Series 5. Very poor build quality, poor battery life, was trying to be a laptop. Yes the keyboard was great but it no longer fitted in your pocket. The rubberised casing began to flake off after a months use and then the hinges went. I didn't bother to send it back under warranty because I really didn't like it and Ebay hadn't been invented!

  8. Wayland Sothcott 1 Bronze badge

    Is there still a market for ZX81 and ZX Spectrum games?

    Actually the old games are popping up on new mobiles.

    The Psion 5 has an excellent keyboard and it runs on very low power.

    I hate PDAs but compared to most the Psion is actually well designed and useful.

    It is a shame that Psion gave way to Windows CE which is rubbish.

  9. Chris O'Shea

    Nokia 8100?

    Martin 6, do you really mean the 8100, because that appears to be a phone released 13 years ago by Nokia


    I'm sure there's a connection between Psion and the *Sinclair* computers you mention, aside from being British and in competition around the same time. Not sure what though.

    The Psion 3 and Psion 5 were brilliant machines (with some flaws, replaced the hinge SEVEN times on my 3, and the ribbon cable four times on my 5 ... still I only replaced them when I decided to have a single smartphone - which turned out to be a Symbian one, P910i, rather than carrying two devices around with me ...)

    ... if only Nokia could produce something similar to the Psion 5 (touch screen, ran for days on two AA batteries) though obviously phone requirements, bluetooth and wifi are all battery eaters! But with a good enough keyboard and a nice folding case (I haven't tried an N97 yet, but the keyboard on all those phone/sliders always looks quite small)

  10. Steve Button
    IT Angle

    Not relevant any more.

    This is news about a company which is no longer in the CE business, and is not relevant to most people nowadays.

    I'm still nostalgic about my Revo, 3C, 3S, etc. and the N900 looks like the closest thing to a replacement.

  11. Dave Coventry

    What a waste x 2

    I agree with Chronos.

    Having known some of the early crew in Harcourt Street when they were producing the PSION ll and the series 3 and 5 PDA's I always felt that the move to Symbian which swamped the company was not all that well advised.

    The fact that Sean Timarco Baggaley appears to feel that the ZX81 and Spectrum games were what defined PSION and appears to be completely unaware of some of the revolutionary work done in those years in no way detracts from the mind-blowing work that they were doing at the time.

    They were a BRITISH company producing revolutionary BRITISH designed hardware in BRITAIN with very little support.

    Good luck on your retirement, David.

  12. Mark 192

    Feeling old

    I'm still got the thank you letter somewhere that David sent me when I purchased their first adventure game for the ZX81. I always felt that was a nice touch. I wish him well.

  13. KarlTh

    @Chris O'Shea

    The link with Sinclair is that Psion wrote quite a few Spectrum and ZX81 games back in the early 80s.

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