Blog Post

Psion PDA Form Reborn — Presenting the PsiXpda

Remember the Psion? Not the trademark-busting Psion, the ones who built the cool PDA with a keyboard and nice form factor. Hang onto your wallets, as the PsiXpda looks to revive that great form factor and PDA device. It has been launched by a former Psion employee and an editor at All About Symbian, and it looks like it’s really going to happen.

The PsiXpda is a clamshell form that reminds me of the HTC Shift, although smaller. It has a screen that tilts up from the closed position, and has hardware updated for today’s market. The device runs Windows XP (s msft) on a 1.1 GHz Atom (s intc) processor, and has 1 GB of RAM along with a 16 GB SSD for storage. The PsiXpda name may bring to mind a PDA device, but this is a true “netbook” configuration with all the capability that comes with that.

Take a look at the full specs and you’ll see why the PsiXpda is exciting:

  • Dimensions: 174 mm x 84 mm x 25 mm (6.85 x 3.3 x 0.98 inches)
  • Weight: 430 g (15 oz.)
  • Power: 1850 mAH battery
  • OS: Windows XP Home
  • Processor: Intel Atom Z510 1.1 GHz
  • Screen: 5-inch touch screen
  • Display: 800×480, Intel GMA500, 32 MB VRAM
  • Camera: Forward VGA webcam
  • Memory: 1 GB DDR2
  • Storage: 16 GB SSD
  • I/O Options: USB, miniUSB, microSD
  • Audio: high definition audio, internal speaker and microphone, 2.5 mm headset socket
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 2.0, 802.11 b/g, 3G options, EVDO, WCDMA, TD-SCDMA

This is a full pocket computer, and it will be interesting to see how they pull this off. The price is £500 UK which includes VAT.

25 Responses to “Psion PDA Form Reborn — Presenting the PsiXpda”

  1. Stuart Marcus

    As a Psion computer user since 1992, who still owns 2 Series 5s, may I respectfully state that this is definitely NOT a “return of the Psion.” It is simply a call to patriotic arms for a UK reissue of an Asian tablet UMPC. For God’s Sake, people, a TABLET!! That which we fell in love with in the Psion series was the Form Factor! A clamshell form factor which you could put in your pocket or even drop while closed and which would protect the touch-sensitive monochrome screen!

    If you would like to see a true return to the Psion form factor, in a Windows XP clamshell which weighs 130g less than the PsiXpda, has a stylus (like the Psion), a touch-sensitive screen of the same size with the same resolution, a 16GB SSD, Webcam, microphone, WiFi and Bluetooth, and a microSD slot and which starts at 449 US Dollars, see the UMID M1 Mbook, which I have now been using for all my Office tasks, surfing the Web, etc. It has a full discussion group on the Ultraportables forum and is a TRUE successor, in my mind, to the Psion. Battery life is 5 hours as well, with radios on.

  2. The keyboard is indeed sweet on this device, but I’m thinking they’ve overlooked many of the smaller details.

    The screen at 800×480 is fine for a 5″, assuming we’re working with Windows Mobile. But we’re not! For a true PC OS like XP you cannot go below 1024×600 in order to handle application menus/windows and work productively. I’d say Viliv got that right with the S5.

    As for the Atom Z510, that was replaced a while ago already by the N280. I get the feeling this is another one of those clearing-house deals Intel offered to get rid of it’s old inventory. As Pinetrail is just weeks away, I hardly think it’s worth even looking at a current Atom device, much less one that’s using an older derivative.

    I would also seriously replace that 2.5mm jack with a 3.5mm one!!!

    The form factor is dead-on smartbook though, and this would be a great alternative between a smartphone and a netbook. Paired with just a basic phone, this combo would be a perfect pocketable solution. I can see a multitude of uses for a device like this both for work and for play.

    Sign me up for a review unit!

  3. Jim Freeman

    I like the design and size, and could live with the screen resolution, but once again, why shoehorn XP onto it? This form factor is wasted if it doesn’t have 1)Instant on; 2) at least 5 hours of useable battery life; and 3)responsive performance.

    And doesn’t Google maps reduce/eliminate the need for a separate GPS most places?

  4. 800×480 completely rules it out for me. We had UMPCs with that resolution five years ago. Its unusable.

    Price is positive though, as is form factor and the pseudo return of Psion.

    I want expect 2Gb, windows 7 (who wants XP these days other than those clinging to the past?) and I wouldn’t go anywhere near a 1.1 atom- its a slow lingering death of a chip. I wouldn’t expect you could do that for £500 of course.

    Maybe there is hope for version 2.

    In the meantime I expect this will sell some, especially in the UK where there is a loyalty to Psion from those with found memories of it. But I also expect that the majority of users will find the device too limited in speed and screen size.

  5. Julius Hibbert, M.D.

    Sharp must be licensing the D4 to other companies as a reference design or something. First the Eking device and now this one. It’s a ice looking computer.

  6. This is interesting for me as I am in the process of canceling my cell phone with all the associated crap on it. I want to go back to a PDA and leave a phone just what it is, a phone with none of the garbage such as web surfing, e-mail, blah, blah. These all-in-ones are more of a pain than a benefit.

    Yes, the price is high, and an early netbook such as a 701 EEe may do as well but netbooks are losing their original design goals and just becoming a notebook.

  7. Why every time a cool gadget is launched it will miss either an XP/Android OS, a web cam or a GPS. In this case – the GPS? why ohh why?!
    This is the only reason I didnt spend my $ on those nice things yet :(

    Any version with GPS? How can you be mobile without a GSP?!

    • Why the hell do you want GPS when you can get a $100 GPS that can run longer in battery life?

      This thing is totally awesome. I would love to see a head to head comparo with the UMID M2.

      If the price is similar I would take it over the M2.

      For people who don’t like the resolution. I have come to figure out way to deal with it myself. For example, there are way to open multiple instants of Firefox concurrently. I have a profile specially design for google reader because I use it so much. When I need it I just open another instant next to my “regular” Firefox. This will allow highly customize browsing experience down to per-website basis.

      Let’s face it, this is a better solution than what Maemo is doing with mobile Firefox. If you tried that you know that will lead to other problems.

  8. I’d be curious to see what operating life is and what 3G bands it works on (any US 3G love?). It does look like a very nice device. Not sure ~$800+ is in my budget though.

  9. Wow. I would love one of these (though with Win7 rather than XP). I was an early Psion user and still have a Series 3A in my drawer. It was (and even by today’s standards, is) an work of handheld device art. Best keyboard ever on a pocket sized device. I hope this comes through as it would be at the top of my gadget wish-list. ;-)

    -Jeff Sass, Myxer

  10. Fernando, thansk for the vote of confidence in the form factor.

    Gavin, teh resolution can appear tight on the spec sheet, and of course you’d expect me to say that I’ve been using it comfortably for months (I have, you know!). I’ve also used a number of netbooks and have to say that the pinch back to 800 width doesn’t feel cramped – it rarely comes up as an issue when the machine is demoed.

  11. I just spoke with one of the creators and had a thorough demo of the device over Skype. I can see this being a very useful gadget for the mobilely inclined. The price is reasonable (I can’t say what it is yet) and it includes unlocked 3G capability.

  12. Apart from the Viliv X70 and the upcoming Archos 9 and Entourage eDGe, are there any new handheld devices with screens larger than 5 inches? I really want a device that I can use on the move, but after testing an Archos 5IT, I’ve come to the conclusion that it needs to have a more sizable screen to suit my needs.

  13. That 800×480 res is a bit of a killer for XP. The biggest pain about running XP on the Eee701 was the resolution.

    Also, one of the great things about the Psions, instant on.

    I’d still like to get one though for a play!