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Psion, 1980 - 2012.

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 Psion / Motorola Solutions 3rd October 2012

Psion is no more. The pioneering British technology firm has merged with Motorola Solutions in a $200 million deal that consolidates a great deal of the business-to-business communications market in one company.

Motorola Solutions is the bit of Motorola that Google didn't buy, and they make devices such as the Motorola ET1. Psion's product range is broadly similar, but the Psion that existed in 2012 was very different from the pioneering company of the 1990s.

So why was Psion such a significant company? Put simply - they created several key technologies that we take for granted in our smartphones, and they created the platform that was eventually to become the Symbian OS used in millions

Psion had dabbled in the PDA market since the 1980s, but a key step occurred in 1997 with the creation of the Psion Series 5, which combined the EPOC32 operating system with an ARM processor. The Series 5 wasn't quite the sales success that Psion had hoped for, but the EPOC32 OS went on to become Symbian, and the British-designed ARM processor core can now be found in nearly all smartphones, so to that extent the Series 5 was an immediate predecessor of most of the smartphones to come in the decade afterwards.

 Psion Series 5 Despite being a pioneer in mobile computing, Psion started to feel like a small fish in a big pond in the booming PDA market - a market that they helped to create - and in 2001 it pulled out of the consumer market to concentrate on industrial and business-to-business offerings through its Teklogix subsidiary.

Psion's pull-out from consumer devices is still a controversial issue. Psion was well-placed enter the early smartphone market, and it could have become a major international player. But with limited resources, the risk of failure was always present.. so Psion took the low-risk approach of selling off its assets and concentrating on the smaller but more profitable industrial and B2B market.

Over a decade later, and Psion was still in the same line of business, one that exactly complemented what Motorola Solutions was doing.

Motorola indicate that the Psion team and range will expand their own product lines and capabilities.

With this takeover, a little bit of history comes to an end, but the influence that Psion had on the mobile computing market is profound, and the technology world would not be quite the same if they hadn't done such pioneering work.

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