back to article The new, new Psion is getting near production. Here's what it looks like

Last week Gemini, the venture that re-invents the Psion 5 design for the 21st century, took delivery of pre-production units. Planet Computing invited us to see how the project is progressing. Since the final Psion pocket computer design (the Revo) appeared 18 years ago, the device category has died; there's nothing with a …

  1. Bloodbeastterror

    Wow... memory lane...

    I had a 5MX and I loved it. The software was brilliant (e.g. not just a birthday reminder but also the age of the person) and the keyboard was superb. A computer for the pocket and no mistake.

    The one flaw it had, the one which eventually killed mine, was the ribbon connector between the keyboard and the screen. With constant opening and closing normal fatigue eventually broke it, and it wasn't user-replaceable (not for me, anyway). I was very sorry to see it go.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Wow... memory lane...

      The one good thing about the sliding keyboard was you could hold it with thumb and forefinger on the hinge and front edge of the keyboard respectively and clap it shut with a slight push.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wow... memory lane...

      http://www.psionflexi.co.uk/

      Ued them in the past

  2. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Great start ....

    How can we stop it being bought up by some megacorp and stripped of what makes it good ?

    I *do* like the Debian angle ....

    1. LeeE Silver badge

      Re: Great start ....

      I really like the idea of being able to run the same linux on a pocketable device as I do on my servers, workstations and laptops/notebooks. Atm I'm using an old MSI Wind as my not-quite ultra-portable but one of these would remove that 'not-quite' qualifier.

    2. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: Great start ....

      Agree - it was a wise decision to use an existing OS, and a choice of Android or Debian should give plenty of use cases. Wishing them all the best. I'd probably get one of these once they have it ironed out.

  3. FuzzyWuzzys Silver badge

    I always had a soft spot for PSION kit, especially the Psion3 I had, built in programming language in your pocket in the early 90's? Mindblowing! Times have changed and the pocket computing market is absolutely stuff with players, that's a tough gig to play and I wish them all the best against the cheap and cheerful imports that are two-a-penny from the Far East.

    1. chippyash

      Want one now!

      I'm with you on that. Loved my Psion and was very sad to see its demise. Real portable computing when others (at the time) were carrying round huge lunch boxes to do the same thing. And a real keyboard. Running Linux - brilliant. Can't wait to get my hands on this ;-)

  4. highdiver_2000

    Is there a real market for this type of devices? Note if this is executed really well, it goes against Chromebooks.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      IS going against Chromebooks

      a good thing or not?

      It is nice to see someone trying something different but I can't help but think this is a device who's time has past.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: IS going against Chromebooks

        I can't help but think this is a device who's time has past.

        On the contrary, I think that the market for this kind of device is just about to start. Lots and lots of people would love to be able to do e-mail and some ssh stuff on something the size of a phone. Yes, you can do it now but a real keyboard makes a huge difference.

        The mobile market now completely dwarfs the PC market which means that niches previously served by the PC market are being served by the mobile market. It's certainly a niche: lots of people will just want bigger and bigger screens and cameras, but some people will be happy with something like this (plus perhaps a few cables). I've ordered one with WiFi-only as a potential companion for my standard phone.

    2. Nik 2

      Pocketability

      It's the ability to slide into the inside pocket of a suit or coat that would differentiate it from small laptops, for me.

      Can files created or saved in Android be seen from Linux, or are they on completely different partitions?

      1. LeeE Silver badge

        Re: Pocketability

        "Can files created or saved in Android be seen from Linux, or are they on completely different partitions?"

        I imagine that the Android filesystem could be placed in a folder on the Linux filesystem but that would make it rather fragile. I'd prefer and, quite frankly, expect them to be on different partitions. It shouldn't be a problem to mount the Android partition on Linux though.

      2. steelpillow Silver badge
        Go

        Re: Pocketability

        "Can files created or saved in Android be seen from Linux, or are they on completely different partitions?"

        Just install your fave cloud storage app on both systems and stick it all up there. Then your other boxen can see it all too.

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Pocketability

        "Can files created or saved in Android be seen from Linux, or are they on completely different partitions?"

        Being on a different partition wouldn't stop Linux being able to see it. This Linux laptop has several partitions. For one thing, it's always good to keep the home directories on a separate partition so that the partition(s) holding the OS can be reformatted if a new OS is to be installed.

    3. Daggerchild Silver badge

      Speaking as someone who's been waiting about a decade for something like this, and will bite your arm off for it, yes, there is a market, even if it's only "specialist".

      And by specialist I mean people who pour data into computers, and need a proper input system, rather than passively drawing information from them, as 99% of people do. This market segment will always exist.

      I now watch people who are oncall take their laptops with them to the pub, to be able do work that I used to be able to do with a small device in my coat pocket. Losing such devices was not progress.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "I now watch people who are oncall take their laptops with them to the pub, to be able do work that I used to be able to do with a small device in my coat pocket."

        Nokia Communicator? I used to have one of those & if I wasn't retired I'd certainly be in line for a device like this. Waaaay back I was using a Nokia to check the (internal) emails on a Unix server; "DBAing his box on his phone" (and from the pub, of course) flabbergasted a couple of visiting USians.

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          large screen phones can get various bluetooth keyboards built into covers or cases. it is annoying charging two devices but the concept does work.obviously this means android not pure Linux , but that also means it works and works now. ive seen covers for galaxy notes that have keyboards and extended batteries. notes have sd slots, lte, hdmi, usb3 and unlocked bootloaders for putting whatever you want.

          the market is there but im not sure about mainstream adoption. it is very rare that i dont have a case or bag with me if i need a device with qwertt size real keyboard and OS. I just use my dell 10" venue pro with keyboard.

          speaking of which you can get smaller venue pros with hard keyboard cases too.

          1. strum Silver badge

            >im not sure about mainstream adoption

            This may be a major point.

            Back, when Psion (almost) ruled the Earth, there were lots of little shops, selling lots of different devices, with lots of different form factors. Of course, most of them went under.

            Today, we have PC World and Amazon. If this device doesn't appear there, it won't appear, period.

            1. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

              Keyboards

              I rue the demise of the mobile keyboard.

              Bluetooth keyboards are hit and miss, mostly the latter, usually the case is quite flimsy so you can't pick it up and type without the phone itself flailing about like a dead fish.

              Samsung a few years ago sold a phone with a nice slideout keyboard, before they went full scale building iphone clones.

              This Psion device looks quite like the old Toshiba Librettos of the mid 90s, tiny little laptops.

              I even liked the netbook craze of the mid-late 2000s, even the cheap Windows CE ones had a nice small form factor and proper keyboard.

              Touchscreens are grand for flicking through facebook/twitter/reddit/insert your social media of choice, or watching cats falling over on you tube, but have always been crap for proper typing.

              1. Orv Silver badge

                Re: Keyboards

                I had an LG Phenom for a while, which was a clamshell a lot like this thing. I loved it. It only had two problems:

                - It was badly balanced -- if you sat it on a table it would tip over every time you poked the touchscreen.

                - Windows CE 2.0. 'nuff said.

        2. Daggerchild Silver badge
          Pint

          "work that I used to be able to do with a small device in my coat pocket."

          Nokia Communicator?

          Bingo. Have a pint :-) One of the few phones you could ssh in with, then write keyboard-symbol soup/shellscript in screen, without screaming.

      2. OffBeatMammal

        agreed! I remember years ago using a Sony Vaio "Picturebook" as my on-call device, tethered to my (1st gen) LG 3G flip-phone (if I couldn't find a landland!). Now luckily with remote desktop software and an iPad Mini I'm pretty much good to go, but sometimes the on-screen keyboard is enough of a frustration that this form factor would be good to get back to

      3. Horaced

        Hmm ... yes, you're right. Most people are passive pullers.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Is there a real market for this type of devices? Note if this is executed really well, it goes against Chromebooks.

      Well, I once hacked a Cisco router using a Psion Series 3A and a serial cable (with permission, I hasten to add, but our installer had screwed up and there was nobody else with the required level of clearance but me). Given the prominence of the location where I hacked this, the IT manager of the place kinda paled when he saw me do it with kit that small - rumour has it that I rather changed who closely they screened people coming in afterwards :).

      However much marketing tries to sell it, typing on a flat screen really sucks compared to a proper keyboard, and if it's anywhere near what the 5MX had it's going to be luxury (yes, yes, let's keep the Yorkshire men at bay for now :) ). As a matter of fact, I'd say that even just the keyboard itself on a bluetooth link to a phone would have value as it's very small. If they get the keyboard shortcuts right, it may even be a useful device for people who as sight impaired because there too, prodding away at a flat sheet of glass is far inferior to a decent keypress and if it can run Debian it ought to have enough poke for voice feedback.

      Last but not least, the other major advantage of this device is that it may support SD cards for storage. One of the most irritating issues with Psion was that they locked up their approach to storage in patents, which is why in the days of the Organiser II nobody else could make memory packs using EPROMs.

      I'm going to keep an eye on this, very interesting.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Storage

        One of the most irritating issues with Psion was that they locked up their approach to storage in patents, which is why in the days of the Organiser II nobody else could make memory packs using EPROMs.

        The 5 and 5MX took standard CF cards, and while I can't recall if the native EPOC format was something other than FAT, it could read my camera's cards.

        1. Valheru

          Re: Storage

          Storage-IO is my first thought. If it has M2 I will buy one.

      2. zumbruk

        <AOL>

        I too have used the serial connector on a 5MX to program routers, and a PIX firewall.

      3. Shadow Systems Silver badge

        At the AC re: accessibility.

        Thank you for mentioning it. I was about to do so & you've thankfully beat me to it. Enjoy a pint!

        I'll add that the capacitance buttons idea is a fucking nightmare. Buttons you can't feel to know they're there, get no haptic feedback from to know you've pressed them, & a device that suddenly starts "doing strange shit for no fucking reason" is the exact opposite of what is needed to make this device suitable for someone with vision problems.

        A device we can keep in our pocket, pull out with one hand & open with the other, that gives us a physical QWERTY keyboard. Keys we can feel, that make an audible click to indicate we've pressed them, so the device doesn't "start acting strange" bit, is a perfect device for us to check email, browse the web, listen to music or Youtube, write reports, edit files, or do 90% of what we need to do with a computer. As long as it has that Screen Reader Environment (SRE) to give the audio we need, blind folks would buy it in droves.

        I'd certainly buy one if it had that SRE, it'd be infinitely easier to take with me than a laptop, the laptop bag/backpack, the power brick, all the dongle cables, blah blah blah. Something the size of a smartphone that I can get real work done on?

        Shut up & take my money! =-D

    5. MyffyW Silver badge

      Reminds me of the Olivetti Quaderno from circa 1993, which was a fine form factor but embuggered with NECs take on the 8086 processor in an era when the 386 was well established. Glad to see they're upping the processor spec.

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        "Reminds me of the Olivetti Quaderno from circa 1993, which was a fine form factor but embuggered with NECs take on the 8086 processor in an era when the 386 was well established."
        I still have mine and the manual says March 1992. I thought the cpu was a 286, but looking it was a V30HL running at 16 MHz. I thought it an excellent replacement for my Tandy 200 when I purchased it. Twenty meg of hard disk!

      2. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Battery power

        Reminds me of the Olivetti Quaderno from circa 1993, which was a fine form factor but embuggered with NECs take on the 8086 processor in an era when the 386 was well established.

        Compared to Intel's 8086 the V30 (V30HL for the Quaderno) was definitely nippier, and while there was a version of the Quaderno with a 386, it couldn't run half as long on batteries. So it depends on whether you prefer processing power or runtime.

        And if you really want runtime, get a 5(MX).

    6. Christian Berger Silver badge

      Well

      Chromebooks are rather locked down devices which require you to jailbreak them... resulting in what's essentially a bog standard laptop. The default software on Chromebooks is essentially a Google-client.

      The great advantage of this is its form factor. It's essentially a laptop, but much smaller. And it's not as locked down as Android, so you can actually _do_ stuff with it.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Well

        "The default software on Chromebooks is essentially a Google-client."

        What I'd like to see on this is an S/W equally well integrated with the server but with the your choice of server - such as your own NextCloud box on your own network.

    7. fobobob

      I'd be a likely target; I find tablets to be unwieldy for non-touch-oriented stuff like typing... even with an external keyboard (you'd think the larger layout would be better, but the general lack of things like dimpled key caps and reasonably long travel impair their usability for me). Had good times with my HP Jornada back in the distant past, and this keyboard looks somewhat better.. loses the symbols and function keys, but isn't as scrunched up vertically...

    8. Stoneshop Silver badge

      No contest

      Is there a real market for this type of devices? Note if this is executed really well, it goes against Chromebooks.

      That would require Chromebooks to be capable of being folded over twice while not gaining any thickness.

      Something the size of a Chromebook had better be a full-blown laptop running Linux or *BSD, not some front-end for an ad-slinging, data-slurping cloud. And this is still a fully autonomous system, but now scaled down to fit in a jacket pocket.

    9. Orv Silver badge

      I don't really see this as a Chromebook competitor, at least not for current ones. A Chromebook works fine for what I need it for, but it's a relatively big device -- you can't get them much under 13 inches, which is two big to just throw in a purse or pocket. What I'd really like is a Chromebook the size of an EeePC, but no one makes that.

      Mind you, if it sells well it will get bigger with every revision as people demand larger screens, just like netbooks did...

    10. Wayland Bronze badge

      I have a Psion 5 which I'd like to use. Amazing battery life and amazing keyboard. Now if it ran Linux then it would be a pocket laptop.

    11. F512dmx
      Linux

      My kingdom for a Psion 5mx keyboard

      I think that there has been a market for PDA's like Psion shortly after people found that tablets really don't get the job done. A lot of people out there do need keyboard to get any sort of work done.

  5. 0laf Silver badge

    This was the closest I got to putting money in a startup. I really liked the Psion 5 I had. It was just a great functional little tool and used it in preference to a laptop on many occasions.

    If this comes through I might well get one when they become available.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      I reminded folk here a couple of days ago that the Gemini, featured on the Reg a few months back, is due to ship in December. However, for completeness, I felt I also had to mention another Indiegogo campaign, one for a snap-on physical keyboard for Moto Mod phones.

      The Gemini looks lovely, but I can't help but think that keyboards - unlike other phone components such as screens, chips and cameras - won't go out of date as quickly. As such, one might be paying for a lovely feature that is married to hardware that may become outdated. The opposite might also be true - keyboards and keys are susceptible to failure - so being to remove a keyboard from a phone and send it off for repair (or swap for a new one) without the hassle of setting up a new phone strikes me as being desirable.

      There's advantages to both approaches, and the Moto Mod keyboard campaign isn't as far developed as this fine Gemini effort.

      1. Dabooka Silver badge

        RE: Moto Mod Campaign

        Interesting, but that looks like a mighty small keyboard with tiny buttons

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: RE: Moto Mod Campaign

          Interesting, but that looks like a mighty small keyboard with tiny buttons

          That's right, I have *big* hands (thank you very much).

  6. corestore

    Put a small screen and a numeric keypad on the front...

    ...and you've also reincarnated the Nokia Communicator! Now that I would also go for.

    1. steelpillow Silver badge

      Re: Put a small screen and a numeric keypad on the front...

      Except, the voice assistant should be able to do everything the display and keypad did, and with less fuss.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: Put a small screen and a numeric keypad on the front...

        it didnt understand my melodic scottish barritone.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Put a small screen and a numeric keypad on the front...

          "it didnt understand my melodic scottish barritone"

          You're not supposed to sing to it.

          1. Pompous Git Silver badge

            Re: Put a small screen and a numeric keypad on the front...

            "You're not supposed to sing to it."
            Egads man! I do hope you're not going to suggest he play his bagpipes at it!

  7. werdsmith Silver badge

    I held back from backing it because Indiegogo. The Sinclair debacles etc.

    I do hope this becomes a generally available on retail things when it hits version 2 though, I will be there with my credit card.

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Let's be honest, until you can buy it, actually buy it - with guaranteed shipping dates and everything, not just pre-orders and promises - it doesn't really matter.

      And then you leave it a few weeks anyway to see if people are horrified by it. THEN you put in an order.

      Until you can order it and get a tracking number in a matter of minutes, it's still just a pipe-dream whether it's a new iPhone, a piece of software or some Kickstarter gadget. Until then, the specs are liable to change, the user experience will vary, and it might still never ship, ever, at all (like some of the Spectrum stuff you mention).

      I've now taken to saying "That's pretty cool, I'll come back in six months and see if it actually exists for purchase" for everything now. Never been properly stung because of such caution, but have come close a couple of times and been around for a lot of horror stories (e.g. the OpenPandora, etc.) and lost faith in these things coming out.

      When I can click a button on Amazon with delivery in a couple of days, then I'll check reviews and see if it's actually any good.

      1. wheelybird

        But of course if everyone took this approach projects like this would never get off the ground due to a lack of funding.

        Take the approach that crowdfunding is a form of investment and that the exit strategy is the item you're funding. As with all investments there's a chance you'll lose you money, but if you don't then you'll have helped to develop something new and received it for less cost than if you buy the item when it's generally available.

        1. Lee D Silver badge

          Confusing "customers/consumers" with "investors" is your mistake here.

          Me wanting a product has absolutely nothing to do with some investors putting up cash to build a product I might want.

          I want to be a customer. I don't want to be an investor. If your product can't get investors, likely you have no potential customers. Hell, take pre-orders as a way to indicate interest in your product to investors. But asking people who might buy a device to fund its creation is like saying "You want a car? Yeah, you'll have to stump up £10k for Ford to design one first. By the way, no guarantees". That's not how it works. Ford have investors who do stump up the money in advance, NEVER buy the product themselves, and they'll rarely be driving Fords!

          They are entirely different roles, which are only blurred in things like crowdfunding, and this is exactly crowdfunding's problem (P.S. I have backed several Kickstarters - where I was guaranteed the product by people I've bought from in the past, with fixed delivery dates before I ever pressed the button - I received every one of them). But if the product being crowdfunded was popular, some investor somewhere would invest, with a percentage requirement. If nobody is willing to invest, but you have thousands of potential customers? That's not sustainable as a business.

          I can get thousands of people who say they like my ice cream. Are any of them going to fund an ice cream shop? Would anyone then lend me half-a-million on the basis of that recommendation? Will they rent me an ice-cream van. No. That's not how it works. It doesn't mean the ice-cream isn't good. It means it's not a sustainable business proposition. Which affects your future custom and the lifetime of the business. Do you want to buy a product from a company that won't be around in a year because no investor would touch them with a bargepole and they are operating only by people continuing to front them money with no guarantee of delivery? That's almost a Ponzi scheme.

          Investment and consumption are two very different things. Don't dabble in investment unless you understand how it works. If the product can only exist if I front people money, then it's not a viable product.

        2. DJO Silver badge

          Take the approach that crowdfunding is a form of investment and that the exit strategy is the item you're funding.

          I'd say a gamble rather than an investment, if you win you get a shiny toy at ~40% off retail, if you lose, you lose - you might get a proportion of your money returned, or not as the case may be.

          This is the first time I've been even remotely interested in a crowdfunding project, in fact more than remotely especially as the UD$/Sterling rate isn't as bad as expected given Trump & Brexit ($400 = £300) so I'll hopefully have a nice new shiny for Christmas, or be an even more miserable git than usual.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      I guess the Pebble would count as one of the few examples that worked. Unfortunately, you have to be prepared to take a bath with any investment like this.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        I feel that if the thing is successful then there will be similar devices popping up on banggood and gear best for a few quid. If they are not there already. The Chinese seem to be able to get a design working and into production in very quick time and with some ease.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > I held back from backing it because Indiegogo.

      That nearly stopped me too but this isn't a lot of money and is something I really want to happen so I've backed it - I have no doubt it will end up in the bottom of a wardrobe somewhere with my Series 5mx, 7Book, Zodiac, PDA-293, Newton etc but hopefully it will have a good run on its way there as one or two of those did (what I want is an updated NetBook, really).

  8. James 51 Silver badge

    This or a new raven ridge PC when they come out? Decisions decisions...

  9. andy gibson

    Sony Vaio P

    The Sony Vaio P was a decent mini machine which could have easily taken the Psion 5's crown.

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Re: Sony Vaio P

      While labeled as ultraportable, the Vaio P is still seriously larger than the 5MX: 24.5x12cm versus 17x9cm. The 5MX I can put in my jacket pocket, the P doesn't fit.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Sony Vaio P

        I found the 5 did indeed fit in my pocket - and fall out when I bent over so a shoulder holster that clips shut is a good idea if you like to go armed. I've been playing with an HP mini 2.10 with Xubuntu on it of late to the point where my hippy leather friend is going to make me a holster for it. I may try the new psion tho.

        I should add I'm quite large so the HP makes sense for me.

    2. Christian Berger Silver badge

      Re: Sony Vaio P

      Well Sony Vaios always had the problem of having exotic hardware so you're stuck with the vendor approved version of Windows.

    3. DJO Silver badge

      Re: Sony Vaio P

      The Sony Vaio P was a decent mini machine

      I rather miss the Toshiba Libretto, perhaps in 1996 the hardware wasn't mature enough for the form factor (486 processor, 1260x600 display, Windows 98, 8M Ram, 270M HD) but now this shows what's possible - I might have to start saving pennies.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Re: Sony Vaio P

        I rather miss the Toshiba Libretto

        In 2009 my girlfriend went to New Zealand for a convention and a bit of travelling around by motorcycle, and took a 110 running W98SE, upgraded with an 8GB SSD, a wireless card and an USB2 card. This was close to perfect: sufficient for email, storing pictures, and resizing and uploading a few of them.

        perhaps in 1996 the hardware wasn't mature enough for the form factor (486 processor, 1260x600 display, Windows 98, 8M Ram, 270M HD)

        I think you're off a bit: from memory the screen was 800x480, and the 110 had a Pentium 233 and 64MB RAM; other models were less powerful.

  10. theOtherJT

    I want one of these so much...

    ...but honestly I'm not sure what I'd do with it. It's so fucking cool, and if I had a lot of spare cash I'd buy one "just because" but on a day to day basis I really can't see myself using it enough to justify the price.

    I imagine a lot of people will feel the same these days, seeing as how capable a generic smartphone is now, but I really hope they manage to sell enough to stay in the market. I want them to still be around in a few years when I have enough money to afford one just as a toy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I want one of these so much...

      This is potentially a phone replacement device.

      Making phonecalls is often a secondary use case these days. Still, I want to be able to receive a call if one comes in.

      If this thing can boot into Debian, *and* still access mobile data and receive phonecalls while I'm building packages, that will be just too cool.

    2. Andy Non
      Happy

      Re: I want one of these so much...

      Shut up and take my money already.

    3. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: I want one of these so much...

      ...but honestly I'm not sure what I'd do with it.

      It's the keyboard. When I had a Psion I was able to fit bits of writing into any spare moment because it was no problem to bring it along where ever, the small device didn't compromise the typing experience too much. I was never hungry back then and never tied to a study.

      The Psion also had a fantastic display that was monochrome but worked perfectly well on the beach even on the sunniest of days. I do fear that this new thing might just be a little bit hobbled by having a display that is hopeless when the sun it out. An iPhone 7 has made great leaps in outdoor daylight readability, but when you are really exposed to the sun I don't want to be doing much with it.

      We will see.

  11. John Robson Silver badge

    I still like my Psion5mx...

    I really ought to start using it more, but the lack of connectivity nowadays is a bit of a downer.

    This device certainly looks very interesting, if there is a half decent USB-C -> Serial adaptor then I can see it being very useful.

    Who am I kidding - it'll be cheaper to run a RPi ZeroW with serial over GPIO and bounce off that...

    Still nice to have a keyboard whilst running around a data centre though.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: I still like my Psion5mx...

      "Who am I kidding - it'll be cheaper to run a RPi ZeroW with serial over GPIO and bounce off that."

      Probably. But when you've added on the keyboard & some sort of display you'll realise why packaging by a really good industrial designer matters.

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: I still like my Psion5mx...

        I was positing the PiZero as an alternative to a USB-C <-> Serial adaptor (which would likely cost more...

        Although, some of their dedicated little screens run off a USB power pack as well...

  12. ForthIsNotDead Silver badge

    No Google?

    If it means I can run Debian on it, and not have a Android/Google Spy Machine in my pocket then I've just settled on my next phone.

    Fuck Google.

    1. Sam Liddicott

      Re: No Google?

      Is it a phone, though?

      1. toxicdragon

        Re: No Google?

        Yes. Has the option to come with a sim card or not. Second page. Also the picture of the motherboard with a sim slot. and the programmable LEDs that can blink for calls.

        I want one.

      2. Christian Berger Silver badge

        Re: No Google?

        "Is it a phone, though?"

        Seriously, if you want a mobile phone there are hundreds of sub $50 devices out there which will do just that.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: No Google?

          "Seriously, if you want a mobile phone there are hundreds of sub $50 devices out there which will do just that."

          The requirement was run Debian & be a phone. Not for sub $50 :(

  13. ShelLuser

    Can we stop calling it a Psion please?

    With all due respect but this really has little in common with a Psion at all. I used to own both a 3c and 5mx because Psion was awesome at what it did: keeping all my appointments and any other kind of information I needed on the road in a well organized manner. Back then I usually used public transportation and even though it did cost the company I worked for a little more (they never minded, because:) it also gave me time to work out a good draft (and later whole documents) about the meeting and all the things which were discussed there.

    I still remember the look on my managers face after that first meeting and he asked me when he could expect a report about the thing. "How about now?", after which I gave him the whole thing. You go Psion!

    But this is not a Psion. This is an Android device which can dual boot with Linux. I'm not trying to be overly negative here, but the reason I loved my Psion so much was because of what it could do and how quickly it could do it. An average Android / Linux Debian setup can also process stuff, but with the same ease of use and speed as my Psion did? I have a problem believing that. Think about booting, loading applications, and what about cross linking and referring back and forth between applications? Office and LibreOffice are good at that, but Psion took that to a whole different level. They had to because they had to compensate for the limited functionality they provided.

    Yet this is basically your average Android / Linux environment on a palmtop. And palmtops aren't exactly new.

    These days I often use OpenOffice on the road. It's installed on my (FreeBSD / Xfce powered) laptop which I use to diagnose network issues, and sporadically I type out a small report of my activities after I'm done. It works, nothing to complain, but still it's not comparable to what I did on my Psion at all.

    Psion was good because they had 1 single goal: providing a personal digital assistant with ditto functionality. This isn't a PDA, it's a palmtop running either Android or Linux, which are both general operating systems; none of them are specifically tailored at providing PDA functionality. As such, I don't think you should call this a Psion, because it's not.

    1. Blane Bramble

      Re: Can we stop calling it a Psion please?

      I want one for the exact opposite reason - because it runs a standard Linux distribution. It should give me a fully loaded remote terminal/tech support machine that can fit in a jacket. Very useful when out and about for 24x7 support.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Can we stop calling it a Psion please?

      With all due respect but this really has little in common with a Psion at all.

      Sizewise it appears to be close, but I get where you're coming from: the software. You had standard applications that really worked and especially the usability of their calendar application has as yet to be equalled. The DB approach was also genius in its simplicity. It was basically a text file with records of 254 characters max, fields separated by tabs (the length was because it allowed a whole record to fit in a string in OPL, which was also the trick to manipulate it in software if you wanted more), and one record defined the headers for each field. It was stupidly useful and very fast to search. To be honest, I was very disappointed when that didn't really moved with the whole mobile phone shenanigans - I would have fought for a phone where you could cook up some simple OPL to make things happen for you (I think Apple is trying this with Swift, but it just doesn't compare).

      The only thing that sucked, and badly so, was Psion's software for PC. I have no idea what they wrote in, but it never quite worked and it would abort any nascent approach to multitasking such as DoubleDOS, Desqview et al.

      Personally I think the 5 was the last really good device they made.

      1. Down not across

        Re: Can we stop calling it a Psion please?

        To be honest, I was very disappointed when that didn't really moved with the whole mobile phone shenanigans - I would have fought for a phone where you could cook up some simple OPL to make things happen for you (I think Apple is trying this with Swift, but it just doesn't compare).

        You never had a Nokia Communicator then? OPL was one of the things I loved about it.

        I really wish Nokia would get HMD to make a new one. Why yes, running Symbian of course.

      2. pleb

        Re: Can we stop calling it a Psion please?

        Yes, the calendar application. Android is still in the dark ages compared to its slick usability. Why does android keep giving me alarms at midnight?! Etc. Please, Mr Android, get hold of a working Psion 5MX and have a play.

        The one thing Psion never got right was the hinge - always over complex and too fragile. Every one I had broke. I see they are going for a trick hinge again...

        They keyboard, never equalled. All in, I know I was far more productive on a Psion than ever on a smartphone. Smartphones are very beguiling, but ultimately fall far short in usability. Type a report, build a database, actually use the diary, easy on Psion, nightmare on smartphone.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Can we stop calling it a Psion please?

          The one thing Psion never got right was the hinge - always over complex and too fragile. Every one I had broke. I see they are going for a trick hinge again...

          Hopefully the ribbon materials have improved since. Those ribbons should have been user-replaceable at the rate they failed - it shows they didn't do enough mechanical testing.

          1. DropBear Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: Can we stop calling it a Psion please?

            "Hopefully the ribbon materials have improved since."

            I'm sure they have. These days you can probably tailor them precisely to the intended lifetime of the device and no more, give or take a month or two.

  14. lybad
    Meh

    "While technology producers modern wonders this particularly form factor has been shunned."

    Struggled to get my head round this sentence.

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Struggled to get my head round this sentence.

      Probably a typo for "While technology produces modern wonders"

    2. LeeE Silver badge

      Sadly commonplace occurrence here, these days.

  15. Esme

    Want!

    This has all the hallmarks of what I expected pocket computers to become back when I first started fooling around with them (I had a Sharp PC1211, and then other pocktables, like the Sharp PC1500 and Casio FX702) - and yes, I very much want something like this. I don't give a monkeys if modern phones have the same kind of computing power - in the condition they're sold they don't really belong to you. (And I've had a taste of what Android is liek tehse days from the secondhand Samsung tablet I purchased for use soley as a media player. It is bloody awful, and actually user-hostile in places, IMO) A Linux machine I can do useful work with and stick in my handbag? That'll do nicely, if executed well and not too horribly expensive. I await further news on this with interest!

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Re: Want!

      A Linux machine I can do useful work with and stick in my handbag?

      Given the Tardis-like properties of most handbags you can have half a data centre in there, and the Gemini would make a nice terminal for it.

      The power cord would be a bit of a bugger, though.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Want!

        Given the Tardis-like properties of most handbags you can have half a data centre in there, and the Gemini would make a nice terminal for it.

        Yes, I have a girlfriend like that too. There's some weird extra-dimensional stuff going on with their handbags that modern math and physics has as yet no real grip on.

        1. Mike Richards Silver badge

          Re: Want!

          But despite the 'bag of holding' qualities of any handbag - they still need more than one of them.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Want!

            they still need more than one of them.

            That's because that extra dimensional stuff takes ages to recharge. It's pretty much like smartphones before the days of 2A USB feeds, but in this case it's probably because not every house has a particle accelerator yet.

          2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: Want!

            Because "size isn't everything…"

  16. LeoP

    Count me in

    Understanding, that this is NOT a Psion PDA, but a general purpose computer I'll most likely still have one rather sooner than later. The thing is: Not only has the gadget changed from doing only what a PDA does and doing that brilliantly, but what I expect from a PDA has changed as well: I loved my Psions, but ...

    ... Reading my mail while keeping the cellphone's IR eye in line with the Psion's was nothing for the bus or the subway

    ... I would not have thought of them as a tool to do routinely replace the laptop for server maintenance via SSH

    ... etc.

    The original Psions were "barely connected" devices, and as such they were brilliant - but we are used to "truely connected" devices now and won't go back. New role, new software, new appearance.

    And being able to type "grep '11:0[123]' /var/log/syslog | grep -v 'audit: ' into a Temrinal running an SSH connection on a real keyboard after pulling something out of my pocket, that is not much larger than my current Chinadroid is bound to make my life easier.

  17. Salestard

    Connects how?

    A bit bemused by an article on a portable device that fails to mention connectivity - Wireless? 4G? Bluetooth? Token Ring?

    That aside, I'd be very keen - but as previously mentioned, given the amount of well funded Kick/Indie stuff that just fizzles out, I'll be waiting. Don't mind gambling twenty quid on a clever widget, but many twenties on a palm droid Linux slab is too much for my ravaged wallet.

    I had a PlayBook back when they were a thing. Despite the hate, when used with the little Bluetooth keyboard it was an excellent companion device to the big Bold I had at the time. I miss the simplicity and sheer ease of use of it, not to mention the almost pocket size.

    1. rmason Silver badge

      Re: Connects how?

      @Salestard

      It hardly needs explicitly stating. It will have wifi, won't it?

      It accepts a SIM, so presumably that 3 and 4g covered.

      They haven't said that the battery is capable of being recharged either,we assume it is, they assume we know it is.

      I think they'd be a bit bemused that anyone on a tech website would think it needs saying.

      1. Salestard

        Re: Connects how?

        Ah, didn't see the mention of SIM - even though I re-scanread the article twice.

        I stand corrected. Bemusement mostly over.

        Thanks

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Re: Connects how?

      A bit bemused by an article on a portable device that fails to mention connectivity - Wireless? 4G? Bluetooth? Token Ring?

      It's been mentioned in previous articles, as well as here

    3. iron Silver badge

      Re: Connects how?

      You need to read the article again. Bluetooth was very specifically mentioned as was the fact that they will be making devices with or without a SIM slot (implies 4G).

    4. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Connects how?

      A bit bemused by an article on a portable device that fails to mention connectivity - Wireless? 4G? Bluetooth? Token Ring?

      ARCNet....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Connects how?

        Knowing how electronics sometimes go wrong when you're in prototype mode, I reckon smoke signals will be first :).

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Connects how?

        "ARCNet."

        RS-232

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Go

          Re: Connects how?

          "ARCNet."

          RS-232

          Econet.

        2. Dan 55 Silver badge
  18. Daggerchild Silver badge

    Driver legacy - source/specs

    So, will we get enough source for its hardware/driver specs to be able to support it ourselves if the manufacturer goes under?

    This is a concern for me. My backup phone is already an unsalvagable pile of decaying Android security vulnerabilities because the manufacturer didn't release enough data for anyone else to save it after they discarded it.

    I don't *want* to have to throw this one away.

    1. MrRimmerSIR!

      Re: Driver legacy - source/specs

      It's got a Mediatek SoC, so very little chance that kernel sources will be available (based on past record). GPL? They've heard of it...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Driver legacy - source/specs

        Another reason I won't be getting one. Aside from the fact it looks like a Psion 5 keyboard stuck to a generic Android phone.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Driver legacy - source/specs

      "I don't *want* to have to throw this one away."

      Which brings to mind - swappable battery?

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Driver legacy - source/specs

      What do you expect for an SoC? Blobs, blobs and more blobs. This works reasonably well with many Android devices. Only time will tell about the Debian. Basic ARM stuff should work but you're unlikely to have drivers for every bit of hardware. But you're not actually expecting to be able to use the phone stuff under Debian are you?

  19. David Paul Morgan
    Go

    other devices also now available?

    like this one reviewed by "unboxed therapy" on youtube.

    https://youtu.be/KFgbF-oRI8c?t=1m43s

    an actual pocket PC!

    1. Christian Berger Silver badge

      Re: other devices also now available?

      Yes, though that manufacturer got a bit of a bad reputation for the previous model only supporting Windows 10. This one is anounced to support Linux.

  20. steviebuk Silver badge

    Didn't know they were still going

    My dad had a Psion Organiser II I believe it was, from BT when he was a manager there. Then they moved onto a different style organiser with a keyboard that looked something like the Casio fa-20. May have been the Casio, not sure. I've still got it in my draw at home I must check.

    I remember my parents went to France one year with the Psion and the xray machine for baggage wiped the memory cards :)

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I like it, but what's the point?

    You can buy small Bluetooth keyboards for your existing phone. Then you basically have this device for about a £15-£30 outlay (and the screen is detachable and makes calls during the 95% of the time you aren't using it as a micro-laptop).

    So I have to say I don't think it's a go-er once you get past the nostalgia of the trademark...

    1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

      Re: I like it, but what's the point?

      ... or you could just buy new Android phone with a builtin physical keyboard

      Mine's with a blackberry in the pocket.

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Re: buy new Android phone with a builtin physical keyboard

        Not easily. Certainly not QWERTY.

        Zero in any major retail

    2. steelpillow Silver badge

      Re: I like it, but what's the point?

      "You can buy small Bluetooth keyboards for your existing phone."

      >SHUDDER!<

      You didn't ever use a Series 5 did you? The keyboard is like, I am flying jet planes for ever, I am never going back to travelling on a donkey.

      And if they can skin Android/Debian properly, the functionality and productivity of the UI will be almost as stunning.

    3. Christian Berger Silver badge

      Simple, it's an actual Linux

      I mean you can just run a normal Linux distribution on it. You no longer have to work with a cut-down Linux with pseudo-security features which protect the business models of app-developers while completely ignoring the user.

    4. Mage Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: You can buy small Bluetooth keyboards for your existing phone

      They go to sleep and miss first 3 to 5 characters.

      Most seem horrid to type on.

      Many don't support áéíóú € ÁÉÍÓÚ easily etc.

      Many are US layout.

      Getting a decent mini USB or BT keyboard is really hard.

      I'd like a link?

      1. DropBear Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: You can buy small Bluetooth keyboards for your existing phone

        "Many don't support áéíóú € ÁÉÍÓÚ easily etc."

        Wut, no love for ŐŰ...?

  22. Rocket
    Happy

    A great idea

    A few years ago a company selling retro handheld game machines had an idea to create an 'ultimate' machine. Eventually Pandora delivered was late, over budget with various manufacturing / QC issues.

    It was a brilliant little ARM based *nix box - capable of running Quake, full featured but very hobbyist and the only time I was an early adopter that paid up front.

    The group is doing another called Pyra and they are much more realistic about managing expectations.

    1. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: A great idea

      It's just unfortunate it was looking like a... no, like three bricks duct-taped together. And it looks like they liked it, because the Pyra doesn't seem any different. I'm not a fan of the modern smartphone ultra-thinness craze, but as far a thickness goes these guys are in a league all of their own...

  23. 0laf Silver badge
    Coat

    But...

    Will it run Crysis?

    S

  24. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Glad to see they give the end-user the choice of either Debian or Android.

    What about an updated version of Psion's EPOC? :p Just joking... Symbian is all but forgotten nowadays, and it does not make sense in trying to upgrade/update it.

    Rather go with what is working, but allow the end-user to choose a stripped-down version of the OS (should the user want speed) or a candyflossed version for the guys who like their eyecandy.

    Personally, I would go with Debian as Android is getting a bit long in the tooth now, and there's only so much you can do with it.

    edit : Just wanted to add that nowadays megacorp+dog seems to resuscitate old brands, but tend to stick some customized version of Android on these instead of giving the end-user a choice, resulting in just more Android clones without the look and feel of the older hardware, which, in my opinion, is not what we want or need.

    But the truth is that it will cost far more to develop and debug your shiny new OS, so they do what everybody else is doing, stick Android on it, and skin it, so that it'll be "different" from other phones.

    I now wonder if there really is a market for a real reboot of any kind of old Psion (or whatever) hardware, but with touch-screen LCD (readable in sunlight) as well as long battery power. Should you need colour, just cast your screen to a compatible screen and continue working.

    Or am I having a pipe dream?

    1. Down not across

      What about an updated version of Psion's EPOC? :p Just joking... Symbian is all but forgotten nowadays, and it does not make sense in trying to upgrade/update it.

      Perhaps my memories are too fond, but I don't agree that it wouldn't make sense to update it. It is/was bloody great OS for the purpose. It was lightweight and did what it needed to do quite well. Lets not forget that Psion 3 (and even 5 to some extent) ran very well on 2 AA batteries.

      All the extras coming with "more full featured" OS will consume power.

      I now wonder if there really is a market for a real reboot of any kind of old Psion (or whatever) hardware, but with touch-screen LCD (readable in sunlight) as well as long battery power. Should you need colour, just cast your screen to a compatible screen and continue working.

      I'd say so. Monochrome is quite enough for normal PDA type tasks and terminal emulation. If you had colour capability to external screen either wirelessly or via HDMI then that could embiggen the market even more I guess.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    I have backed this and the Vega+. I do wonder which, if any, I'll receive first and how old I'll be at the time. My next project to back will be the open source Death Star if this hasn't reached its funding target.

  26. Franco Silver badge

    I can definitely see the market for this, I spend much more time emailing from my smartphone than I ever do on the phone and loved the convenience of HTC devices like the S730 or Touch Pro.

    Plus geeks love a gadget. ;-)

  27. nagyeger

    Battery life

    Some how I doubt it'll run for a week+ on 2AA batteries.

  28. andy 103

    "El Reg on Firefox on Debian"

    Regarding the screenshot titled El Reg on Firefox on Debian, you guys still haven't made your website responsive, and it's 2017. Why is that?

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: "El Reg on Firefox on Debian"

      Shut up.

      Last time they messed with it is when we got all the new-layout junk with the huge side-adverts.

    2. DropBear Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: "El Reg on Firefox on Debian"

      The El Reg website runs from a one-time programmable OTP ROM chip. I thought everyone knew that...?

  29. Alan Bourke

    IT'S ADORABLE

    AND I WANT IT.

  30. billdehaan
    Meh

    Everything old is new again

    Back around 1993 or so, I was given a Psion 3a, which was useful more in theory than in practice. Especially given the $600 price tag. I paid the $100 for the PC bridge, and was glad to have it, but it was definitely a work in progress.

    In 1997 or whenever, the Revo series came out, and I got that. It included the PC bridge in the cradle, and was crazy useful. Also, at about $200, it was a lot cheaper. It wasn't until the Pilot (later Palm Pilot, later Palm) came out that I stopped using it, and even so, there were things in the Psion software that were better than Palm (like the spreadsheet).

    Two weeks ago, it was announced there would be new Palm devices in 2018, but that they'd likely be running Android. So naturally, a new Psion has to likewise come out, and also run... Android.

    Like the new Nokia phones, those aren't comebacks of the old tech companies, or the old innovations that came with them. They're pretty much just companies in a busy market buying a beloved name to slap on their products to try to buy brand loyalty out of nostalgia.

    This one, at least, appears to be a bit more of an homage than a simple name grab. I'm not sure that I'd want or need one in this day and age, but bringing back the now defunct form factor at least differentiates it from other products.

    Now, with the iPod Nano going defunct, all we need is some 2000-era stand alone MP3 player for joggers who aren't interested in taking a 6" phone slab with them when they exercise...

    1. Raphael

      Re: Everything old is new again

      "Now, with the iPod Nano going defunct, all we need is some 2000-era stand alone MP3 player for joggers who aren't interested in taking a 6" phone slab with them when they exercise..."

      I think smart watches are trying to full that niche. (Garmin, Samsung Gear S3 and the new FitBit Ionic all have space for you to upload mp3's)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Everything old is new again

      I would personally love a pre-Symbian device so you could cook up a quick hack in OPL on the device itself, but with proper connectivity. Maybe with an OLED display so it would last longer than a pint of Guinness on a charge. Granted, some things would need to change in the language to work better with the required multitasking and connectivity, but having a 5MX-sized device that was connected would be seriously cool to have.

      That said, I'd pay money just to have that keyboard on its own with a bluetooth link because it's 25% or less of the size that my current external keyboard has, yet still has proper size keys with real travel. That alone would be worth money.

  31. foo_bar_baz
    Meh

    Disappointing looks

    Looks a bit too generic, basically a random Huawei slab plus a keyboard stuck to it with a sheet of shiny metal. Maybe it's the Android button symbols on the side screen.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Disappointing looks

      "Looks a bit too generic, basically a random Huawei slab"

      Looks aren't everything. Can you point is to a random Huawei slab running Debian? Or are you a Mac user?

  32. PM from Hell
    Coat

    Hanging by a thread

    I was a big Psion 5 user back in the day, paired up with a Ericsson SH888 and the infra red connection I did a ridiculous amount of work on it when away from my office even sending printed ourput to customer fax machines.

    I also managed to astound some friends and colleagues by emailing them from a Swiss cable car and from on top of a mountain. Unfortunately life has not been kind and like another commentor I lean now towards my 10 inch Lenovo MIIX 2 in 1 as my poor eyesight and thick fingers make using a phone sized device for typing rather too painful. However my phone contract is coming to an end in the next few months to if this supports wifi calling I may end up going this way rather than a ludicrously priced Samsung or an Iphone, as long as I can be sure that the O/s will receive updates for a couple of years unlike my last couple of Android handsets.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The dealbreaker for ME...

    is Android :/

    Alas, 5MX it will stay..

  34. Bad Beaver
    Gimp

    Neat

    Those rough edged frankensteiny looks make me feel all geeky inside.

  35. erikborgo

    I'd buy that for a dollar!

    Damn, a brand new device with this form factor for me would be a novelty: For work purposes I use UMPC's and have had many over the years which due to the age of the hardware fail quite fast and need rather a lot of repair to maintain. Windows 7 please.

  36. Dr. Cybrid
    Thumb Up

    Love projects like these...

    I hope they deliver a good product and are quite successful. +1 on being able to use pure Linux on it, Android is just a poopy half-arsed distraction from what you really need with something like this: A fully functional OS, with a keyboard. :-)

    I just wish that there were more projects like this, preferably at an affordable price point.

    If somebody came out with something maybe just a little bit fatter with room for a swappable HD / SSD and a bigger battery, + more durable, it would be even better...

    True this doesn't compare to my laptop, but then my laptop isn't exactly pocketable either. Nor would my laptop be able to run as long as this on battery power. ;-)

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Re: Love projects like these...

      If somebody came out with something maybe just a little bit fatter with room for a swappable HD / SSD

      You don't want a conventional HD or HD-sized SDD in there, even if that would offer you swappability: too big and heavy compared to the entire machine. But an M.2 might suit your needs, and running off a fast SD card is utterly feasible too.

  37. aeonturnip

    Perhaps just make a phone case with this keyboard

    The guts and screen of the device would then just by your regular phone - I'd rather just have one device.

    1. Christian Berger Silver badge

      Yes, but then you'd have...

      Android or iOS or any other of those cut down, but highly complex mobile telephone OSes, which achieve so little with so much effort.

  38. Lith

    I have absolutely no reason to buy this.

    But I must still have one.

    1. Dabooka Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      At last!

      A comment that makes sense to me!

  39. Mage Silver badge
    Happy

    Forget iPhoneX

    My Sony Z1 is fine.

    Forget stupid Win10 tablet-keyboard-netbooks like Linx 1010

    I WANT ONE OF THESE. Debian too. Mmmm.

  40. Mark Jan

    Transfer from Psion

    I still use a Psion day to day and have almost 20 years of accumulated data on them.

    Will there be an application which will enable the transfer of data from a Psion to a Gemini?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Transfer from Psion

      There already is - its called PsiWin.

      I still use it weekly with my 3mx on a 64 bit Windows 10 laptop which fortunately has a serial port.

      You don't get Explorer integration unless you use a 32 bit machine, but on a 64 bit its good enough for backing up and converting files (from a backup, not the Psion).

  41. Richard Jukes

    TRACKPOINT??

    Why oh why cant they put a trackpoint on it? If it had a nipple then it would be perfect.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: TRACKPOINT??

      Alternative view: No GUI and a set of applications optimised for keyboard instead of mouse or touch.

      And before the mouth-foaming starts, that doesn't have to be synonymous with a CLI. Back in the day we had menu-driven systems which worked perfectly well for ordinary users.

  42. Katie Saucey
    Go

    JUST..

    ..TAKE MY MONEY!

  43. Louis Schreurs BEng
    Paris Hilton

    (untitled)

    I sincerely hope for all involved and for world&dog that the thingies will be delivered by Xmass time, really I do!!! (no sarcasm, trolling or whatever intended)

    Geeez,, I want that thing! Can't afford it. allass

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let's hope the new design doesn't fall apart in no time at all, unlike my expensive last Psion. Let's also hope that customer support will not be a joke this time. (Falling apart, sh*t support, bit like the car industry here when run by the natives.)

    Here's what's gonna happen: First time something gets stuck in that hinge while closing it, the whole thing will break into little pieces.

    1. pleb

      yup, the hinge! SO many years later, STILL in thrall to the same demon.

  45. Reader2435

    It's not a Psion without the software

    I had the Siena and Revo... and lots of dead machines bought cheap off eBay for fixing them up when the hardware failed. I got quite good at swapping all sorts of bits out when they went duff. The hardware was very good, despite the limited life-expectancy but what made the machines for me was the software - it was feature-packed, supporting all sorts of useful features, especially in the diary and contacts manager, that I have looked for but never seen since in PDAs or smartphones. Even simple things like reverse-lookups - perfectly executed on Psion with a quick hot-key and power options... but very rarely supported on any other devices. So for me the software is the key... and from the article it seems it's the one bit that Gemini is not offering - shame. To me, without the software, the prototype looks like an Android device with a keyboard strapped on... good luck but take a close look at RIM (Blackberry).

    1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: It's not a Psion without the software

      "The hardware was very good, despite the limited life-expectancy"

      A contradiction in terms, if there ever was one!

  46. cliffep

    I had every incarnation of Psion Organisers, from the very first slide up ones to the Revo. I loved the Psion OS and Oval programming language. On the Psion XP I used to file accounts, print invoices and o one occasion, I booted a Bank's VAX computer from a telephone box with an acoustic coupler - just to prove to the bank that their system was not as "bomb proof" as they thought . The programmability of original Psions was the main thing for me. This new thingie looks more like a science project, and loses the wonderful OS. However, I will take a look once it is released, and until then reserve judgement.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Psions from the 3a onwards were legends, and I had every model of the 3, 5 and Revo range more than once. When the Psion netBook came out I bought three of them. EPOC did the job brilliantly and there were some excellent apps. I too had the Ericsson SH888, and later a Cisco wireless card PCMCIA(?). Colleagues were always amazed by what you could do with them.

    On the Psion forums, users that were complaining were generally doing so about connectivity. They wanted Bluetooth etc.

    As much as this new device is attractive, the iPad mini is the perfect form factor for me with my age related failing vision. It does almost everything that I need. The laptop fills any gaps.

  48. justwebware

    Got one of these still working

    https://sites.google.com/view/psionmc400

  49. mIRCat
    Coat

    Gimme gimme gimme!

    I jumped on the bandwagon months ago and have been eagerly awaiting it's actual release. When I saw in one of their update emails that Andrew had reviewed it I was a bit worried he may pan it because of the OS used, but I'm glad to see The Reg was able to get their MIT's on it since it's one of the few periodicals I read regularly.

    Mmmm. Pocket sized.

  50. phillithom

    I've still got my old Psions...... broken ribbons and failed backlights were the problems.

    To me the beauty was the independent platform, outside Apple and Microsoft and I could do everything - take notes, use address book, check diary, form documents etc. etc.

    The other big plus was the ability to draw on screen - you still need separate apps to do that on a smartphone.

    What it always lacked was the connectivity so you couldn't just go online like a smartphone and surf the net/web. Battery life would be crucial to that now.

    New tech could so easily solve that.

    Can I swap an old one for a new one...........? ;-)

  51. Troubadour504

    PSION 5MX Evolution

    I've been using PSION 5MX PDAs for years, still use one to this day.

    For me the 5MX is a great tool, I use it professionally in the IT Engineering world and hands down it's the best item to store all manner info from user data through to procedures, part numbers, and anything else that one needs to have with them when out in the Field. The searchable database system native to the device is great. Sure the later era devices are far more featured and powerful with better graphics, but the 5MX gives me an extremely portable device that goes with me anywhere in its protective clam shell case inside my briefcase. If it had a USB port that would be the one additional feature to make it easier to get info in & out of the device. The Mylar Ribbon Cable that feeds the display is the weakness of the 5MX, it fails and has to be replaced, which I do myself, but by now there must be a way to provide a flexible cable which is not prone the the fracturing. Laptops have pretty well the identical screen arrangement & I have never seen a laptop with the Ribbon Cable Failure Mode like I see in my PSION 5MX repeating its self.

    The PSION 5MX is a great little device, to try and "over feature" it to me would be the classic case of "Feature-Itis" it's already a nicely featured device, and with its relatively long run time on AA Batteries it keeps me happy. I've only got Ten of them. The Backup s/w is great, does just what is needed, and allows data restoring just the way it's needed.

    I can have anything of this type of tool I want, but to date for its size, simplicity and utilitarian nature haven't found anything that's better - it's not perfect, but it does the job just fine for my requirements.

    Don't go overboard with changing it guys, to be honest the old 5MX keyboard arrangement was excellent, I would put more effort into making the deice as a whole more rugged & durable rather than to modify its fundamentals & try to make it do a job which other devices, be it smart phone, tablets, laptops etc already can do.

  52. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    The GPD Pocket 7 would probably be a better choice. Except for the fan.

  53. smartroad

    The thing that made the Psion's great was not only the hardware but also the amazingly simple, yet powerful complete suite of software they came with. Not to mention the OS that was brilliantly designed for the small screen and keyboard/pen interface.

    I worry that Android will end up the mess it always is when someone tries to use like a 'normal' desktop. And Debian will just be Linux on a small screen (IE unusable).

    I hope I am horribly wrong and they pull off a new wave of PDA's but I can't rid myself of these nagging doubts.

  54. cream wobbly

    Facepsion?

    "much slimmer housing than the original (135mm vs 220mm)."

    "The bad news is that the "double sized" 8000mAh battery hoped for on the IndieGogo launch page will actually be a 4220mAh model: the 8000 mAh wouldn't fit."

    Maybe make it bigger.

  55. Jah

    I've ordered one!

    Real Smart PDA for those serious about productivity.

  56. Jah

    Production started

    The Gemini PDA is now under production. The lower price for early backers will continue until end of February. Buy one now!

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