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Psion targets corporates in the PDA/PAD market

Psion is steaming ahead with Web access devices for corporates, but it is avoiding the "Freebie" model that is rapidly catching on in the consumer arena .
Written by Chiyo Robertson, Contributor

Analyst believe Personal Access Devices (PADs) may follow the "Free PC" trends, where appliances cost next to nothing but require customers to sign up to an ISP.

But Psion thinks not. "The Internet is changing the way people do business. Companies will not sign up for free devices or PCs. That's a consumer thing," said a Psion spokesman.

The company has forged links with several ISPs, including Freeserve and Breeze, but it said businesses want devices integrated with their secure, corporate Intranet. "We keep an eye on the developments in the freebie market... but it's not suitable for everyone," he said.

Psion's Enterprise Computing division -- formerly known as Psion Industrial is readying Internet-ready devices based on the Intel StrongARM processor architecture, that incorporate Sun's Java as well as its own Epoc operating software.

Quantum is Psion's hardy tablet-style mobile device. It has no keyboard and is targeted at vertical markets, such as the utility and the financial sector. "White-collar users, such as insurance sales staff who need to tap into a form and send it to head office real time are a good example," said a Psion spokesman. There are two versions of this device, one with a Psion Series 5 sized-screen and another with a screen twice that size.

The company is also talking to partners about incorporating the wireless application protocol Bluetooth in its Quantum range.

Psion also launched a sub-notebook, based on the Intel SA-1100 StrongARM architecture, called the netBook. Formerly code-named Jeddai, the netBook is faster than the Psion Series 5mx announced the same month , weighs in at 1.15kg , has a 640x480 backlit colour screen and a keyboard. The device should be available in October and will cost in the region of £1000, according to a company spokesman.

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