For techies of a certain vintage, mention of Psion brings on misty-eyed reminiscences of landmark handhelds like the Organiser, the Series 3 and the Series 5, and the EPOC operating system (which went on to form the basis of Symbian). Since acquiring Teklogix in 2000, however, the company has concentrated on rugged mobile devices for vertical markets.
The Omnii platform takes a modular approach to product design, allowing customers to specify the exact mix of components required — screens, keypads, scanners, cameras, GPS units, speakers — and, crucially, reconfigure these in the field as new needs arise. Upgradable and interchangeable modules are developed not just by Psion, but also by a network of developer partners who interact with the company via an open online community at Ingenuity Working.
The first product created on the new platform is the Omni XT10, a rugged Windows CE 6.0 device aimed at workers in tough environments like ports, airports, warehousing and logistics operations.
The highly modular and configurable Psion Omnii XT10
The Omnii XT10 measures 230mm by 100mm by 42mm and weighs 760g with a 'high impact' display, EV Imager and battery pack fitted. It uses a Texas Intruments OMAP3 processor running at 600MHz, and has 256MB of RAM plus 512MB of flash ROM. Psion's Sliverlight-based PsionVU allows integrators to create configurable user interfaces that give easy access to the desired features for the job at hand.
Specifying an Omnii XT10 at the Psion Teklogix web site
Wireless connectivity runs to Wi-Fi (802.11b/g), Bluetooth (2.0+EDR) and an optional GPS receiver. There's a choice of barcode scanners, 3.7in. displays, keyboards and cameras. Accessories include a docking station, a 6-slot spare battery pack charger, and a pistol-style grip.
Modular hardware is a great idea for vertical markets. We just wish Psion was doing something similar for horizontal markets too.