__Psion Spinoff To Emphasize Epoc PDA OS
British hand-held computer-maker Psion PLC is announcing today that it's
spinning off its software operations into a separate company to license its
palmtop computer operating system, Epoc.
The company said it has already lined up some licensees for the operating
system, which runs on the company's Series 3a personal digital assistants
(PDAs), but declined to name the partners. Future Epoc-based products are
expected to include smart phones, portable Web browsers, and PDAs, says
Stephen Randall, sales and licensing director at Psion Software in London.
Psion isn't the only vendor targeting the hand-held market. New players
include U.S. Robotics, which began shipping its well- received Pilot PDA a
couple of months ago. In addition, Microsoft is expected to unveil a hand-held
operating system later this year and is already working with several hardware
vendors who are expected to build devices to run the software.
Randall, however, isn't worried. "Microsoft will validate the market," he
says. Besides, Randall expects that Microsoft's system will emphasize desktop
connectivity, while the Epoc offers a lot of functionality for people who want
to input information into the device while they are mobile.
Also today, Psion and Digital Equipment Corp.'s microprocessor division
announced that the Epoc platform will be ported to DEC's StrongArm chip, a
powerful processor for portable devices that enables speech and handwriting