Psion launches first Chinese-language palmtop

Psion has announced the launch of its first Chinese language palmtop--the Psion 618C.

SINGAPORE--Psion has launched its first Chinese-language palmtop--the Psion 618C.

According to the company, the Psion 618C is small enough to fit into a shirt pocket and features applications for users on the move, such as agenda, contacts database, phone, word processing and spreadsheet functions, among others.

The device also comes with a docking station--the PsionLink Software for PC--for backing up and synchronising data with a PC, as well as an infrared port capable of speeds of up to 115kbps. Its two built-in rechargeable batteries can last for 10 hours of normal use.

The Psion 618C runs on the Chinese EPOC operating system and features a built-in ROM-based Chinese system, multiple Chinese input methods and Chinese handwriting recognition.

It is available in two versions--simplified and traditional Chinese. The simplified version for users in Singapore and China features three input methods--Pin Yin, Pin Yin with Tones, and Handwriting Recognition. The traditional Chinese version for the Hong Kong and Taiwan markets offers five input methods--Zhu Yin, Chang Jie, Simple Chang Jie, Pin Yin and Handwriting Recognition.

With 8MB of RAM and over 13,000 built-in Chinese characters, the Psion 618C features Chinese-English and English-Chinese dictionaries with intelligent word association and learning dictionaries meant to facilitate faster input.

It is also enabled for Chinese SMS messaging and is compatible with most leading GSM mobile phones for wireless emailing.

Seeking to serve a market niche which has been estimated to exceed 3 million units in 2000, Charles Cousins, regional director for Psion Asia Pacific, said: "Chinese-language palmtops (form) the largest emerging market for PDAs in Asia and it is growing at 75 percent per year. For both consumers and corporate clients alike, a local language version of the Psion PDA has been on the wish list for quite some time. We now expect to make significant inroads into these new markets."

The Psion 618C is priced at S$699 (US$383), and will be available from Systems Technology Pte Ltd, Psion's distributor in Singapore, its resellers and retail outlets by end July.