Psion licenses OS to Philips

Psion has picked up Philips as a licensee for its EPOC32 handheld operating system.

The naming of a third-party for the OS is a timely and much-needed boost for the UK firm which has recently issue two profit warnings and seen its stock make snake shapes caused by production problems and market fear of Windows CE.

Psion said Philips Consumer Communications (PCC) will use the ROM-based EPOC 32 in 'data and messaging companions', the first versions of which will appear by the end of 1997.

These products will support send/receive fax and e-mail, Net access and PIM features and be positioned as smart phones rather than handhelds. Philips is a Windows licensee for its Velo line of handhelds.

"Our roadmap calls for a platform that can scale from a handset to a fully-fledged message-centric device, without compromising ease-of-use, time-to-market, performance, battery life or depth of applications," said PCC CEO Mike McTighe.

"It also had to accommodate unusual hardware requirements and novel user interface features. The match between our requirements and Psion Software's platform could not have been closer.

"Within Philips, we are using different platforms or operating systems for different products. For a smart phone data and messaging companion, EPOC32 is the best solution, other products use other platforms or operating systems. Until now, no company has developed a sophisticated communications product that is affordable, fits in the pocket and is simple to use. That is the challenge and whoever gets it right will win a mass market."