Five years ago: Psion plans 32-bit products, reports profits up

Psion expects to release its first 32-bit products this year. The UK company made the announcement as part of its October-December 1996 fiscal quarter statement yesterday

First published 11 March, 1997

Palmtops based on the 32-bit EPOC32 operating system will lead the way as the UK firm tries to fend off the charge of the Windows CE posse and US Robotics' Pilot. Despite the twin threat, Psion continues to be a highly profitable concern.

"In 1997, our major five-year investment in 32-bit technologies will begin to be realised commercially," said David Potter, chairman, in a prepared statement. Potter added that the firm will also release new products from its industrial terminal division Psion Industrial and communications unit Psion Dacom. Also, it expects to name licensees for Psion Software, the division set up to spark OEM sales of its palmtop operating system and applications.

Over the course of 1996, revenues were up 37 per cent year on year to £124.18m from £90.55m. Profit was £17.56m, up 51 per cent on 1995's £11.65m. Modem sales were up by 51 per cent and now account for 18 per cent of Psion revenues. In the UK, Psion computer sales were up 313 per cent, largely reflecting the introduction of the Series 3a and Siena.

Potter said that Psion "continued to experience difficult conditions in the US market" but said the second half of the year was much more successful than the first half.

As well as progressing in the handheld computer market, Psion expects its new operating system to be at the heart of smart-phones and portable network computers.

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