Tuesday, June 15, 1999 Published at 15:34 GMT 16:34 UK
Psion now a Java machine
The Series 5mx has a sleek silver case
By Internet Correspondent Chris Nuttall
Psion has announced the world's first palmtop computer to incorporate Sun's Java technologies.
The Series 5mx and a new "netBook" product are a pitch at the increased need for network connectivity in the corporate world.
The Series 5mx's Java implementation will allow additional access to Internet services such as stock price monitoring, travel bookings and online shopping. The UK handheld device maker said netBook, would be "the world's first truly mobile network computer, incorporating 100% pure Java technology."
Internet on the move
The 5mx launch also comes with the announcement of an Internet roaming agreement allowing users local-call access to news, travel and local information.
The information is accessed through the world's first Internet portal developed specifically for mobile palmtop users. Worldwide access points have been established to local Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
Users of the silver-grey 5mx will be able to view Java applets when using the web browser and the 800,000+ Java developers will now be able to adapt programs written in Java to the Psion. This could potentially give an enormous boost to third-party software development for the device.
It will also run the latest version, release 5, of the EPOC Operating System adopted by the Symbian consortium.
This is challenging Microsoft's Windows CE in the booming handheld market. Palmtop sales are dominated by 3Com's PalmPilot, Windows CE devices and Psion.
The 5mx, with 16mb of RAM and a 36Mhz ARM processor, goes on sale on July 1 at £430 including VAT and a PC connectivity kit.
netBook challenges notebook
The netBook is a bigger machine and features Psion's first colour screen. It is also full VGA sized, has pen-driven navigation and data input as well as a standard keyboard. There is a PC card slot and one for either a compact flash card or disk drive for large data storage requirements.
netBook will not be commercially available until towards the end of the year and Psion plans pilot schemes in the meantime to tailor its use for corporates, particularly those with mobile workforces in the insurance, banking, healthcare and utilities sectors
"Until netBook, the notebook PC has been the only viable solution for mobile Java applications. Now you can have the power of Java combined with the `instant-on', ease of use, reliability and robustness of a new range of mobile network computers," said Claes Bergstedt, Commercial Director for Psion Enterprise Computing.
Adding Java to Psion's range ties it in with the networked PCs and servers using the language and its programs, increasing its compatibility and its appeal to companies.