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Go backSymbian OS/EpocPsion MC series brochure

A brochure advertising the MC series of notebooks introduced in 1989 by Psion.

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Back cover
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(Advertisement scan done by Simon Pooley. Note that this scan is of low quality and please drop a line if you have a better one.)


Psion Mobile Computers Now you can forget everything you're ever heard about computers.

[pages 1-2]

Computers as mobile as people

Computers have become an essential feature of our daily work. We now need machines we can take and use wherever we go.

Mobile computers should be powerful, as easy to carry as a book, independent of fixed power supplies and ready to be used the instant they are opened.

This is the Psion vision of personal computers: not just PCs squeezed into laptops, but computers as versatile and mobile as we are.

Bristling with new technologies, Psion Mobile Computers are light, compact, versatile, battery-driven and powerful.

They herald a new breed of computer.

[pages 3-4]

The new Psion MC range of Mobile Computers is more than an evolution. It’s a revolution

Designed to go. Everywhere. Anytime

Psion Mobile Computers are light (a mere 4,5lb). They’re compact (the size of an A4 sheet and only 2 inches thick). And their slim, clam-shell design is such that they invite being picked up and carried as easily as a book.

Designed to be used. And used. And used

Models in the Psion Mobile Computer range have a battery life of typically 60 hours continuous use – this can be extended even further by carrying a spare battery cartridge. Couple this with ergonomic design, a professional quality keyboard and a high contrast, high definition graphic screen, and you have a machine that’s a pleasure to use. Anytime. All the time.

Designed to carry on where you left off. Instantly

Psion Mobile Computers require no tedious booting and loading procedures when switching on, no time consuming ‘saving’ procedures when switching off. You can continue with an application exactly where you left off, the instant you wish.

Designed to communicate with the world

Psion Mobile Computers can be integrated with (not just connected to) other computer systems, with very fast data transfers. They also incorporate expansion facilities for Modems, Fax, Pagers and similar equipment.

Designed to meet standards. And set them

Two ranges of Psion Mobile Computers are available. One runs industry standard PC software. The other sets tomorrow’s standards with a new graphics environment, a new mouse-replacing touch-pad, voice inputs and outputs, and multi-tasking facilities.

Bristling with new technology

Psion Mobile Computers have not been developed by squeezing more from conventional hardware. They are the result of new concepts, new techniques and new technologies.

New storage technology

Psion has improved on floppy and hard disks by pioneering use of Flash Eprom sold state disks (SSOs) for off-line storage. Matchbook size, they can currently store up to ½Mbyte each (soon to be 2Mbytes), require no power supply, are considerably faster than conventional drives, have no moving parts to ‘crash,’ and can be erased electrically ‘in situ.’ Four can be plugged in at a time, and a whole library of software and data can be carried with ease.

New production techniques

Psion’s proven skills in surface mounted technology, and their development of special custom chips based on static CMOS technology, has dramatically reduced space requirements, power consumption – and cost – of Mobile Computers.

New screens

The completely new technology of retardation film LCD screens is used in Psion Mobile Computers. These provide state-of-the-art, high contrast displays in black and while.

New touch-pad

Psion has developed an even more intuitive pointer system than the ‘mouse’ – the touch pad. The pad corresponds to the screen: to position the cursor at the centre of the display, the pad is simply pressed at its centre. All the cnormal mouse functions (clicking and dragging) are provided.

New techniques in voice processing

Psion has developed voice compression techniques to the point where 8 minutes of speech can be stored in just 64kbytes. This radical facility enables spoken data to be stored, processed and replayed.

New industry standards

At Psion Mobile Computers use Microsoft MSDOS file data structures. In addition, Psion has worked closely with Microsoft and Intel to establish new industry hardware and software standards for the use of Flash Eprom solid state disks.

[pages 5-6]

The shape of computers to come: the Graphic Interface range

MC200 and MC400 Psion Mobile Computers provide users with a more natural, more logical, more intuitive way of working. Their mobility, simplicity of operation and ability to provide a variety of applications simultaneously makes them extremely useful – and usable – as a productive tool.

Ready when you are

All the required applications are available all the time – and you never have to ‘switch off’ in the conventional sense. if the machine is not used for a period of time. It automatically goes into ‘rest’ modes to conserve power. At the press of a key the current applications are restored exactly as they were when you left them.

Very easy to use

With an easy-to-follow, intuitive-to-use screen display, a touch-pad that’s even easier to use than a ‘mouse,’ and the capability for voice inputs, Graphic Interface models can be mastered very quickly.

Each application can be displayed in its own, re-sizeable window, and several can be ‘on view’ at a time.

Applications can be represented graphically on the display by icons. Choosing an application is simply a matter of pointing to the relevant icon by pressing the touch pad at the appropriate place.

Never out of date

Because, uniquely, the operating system and built-in applications are stored on internal Flash Eprom (which can be erased and re-programmed in-situ), software upgrades can be made quickly and easily without need to replace components. Thus Mobile Computers can be kept up-to-date with the latest system and applications enhancements.

Handles all the basic computing needs

The most often required applications are built into Graphic Interface Mobile Computers, and you can switch between them at will, returning to each exactly where it was left. There’s no need to ‘save’ and ‘quit’ an application. Ever.

A powerful text processor

The built-in text processor is logical, practical – and compatible with other word-processing software. Designed specifically for writing reports, memos, notes, letters, lists and for the preparation of electronic mail, it has all the usual editing facilities, and includes features such as word-wrap, font choice, tabs, sort, find and replace, ruler and so on.

Personal and business database

The database does more than just store names, addresses and telephone numbers. Each record can hold the equivalent of two typed A4 sheets – and so can be used to file away memos, price lists, letters and so on, prepared with the Text Processor.

Diary and time manager

This application provides a 3-months-at-a-view calendar, shows the week’s appointments and the selected day’s appointments – all in a layout similar to a desk diary. Alarms can be set to ring up to an hour before an appointment (there are also eight independent alarms), and searches can be made not only for specific entries, but also for free periods of a specified length – to help with appointment planning. With the Voice Module, spoken messages can be added to and played back from Diary entries.

Scientific calculator

The system includes a powerful, multi-function scientific calculator that allows entries to be edited. Extra functions can be added by using the built-in programming language.

Terminal emulation

Communication with mainframes, mini computers, and access to electronic mail applications is simplified by an in-built ‘teletype’ terminal emulator.

[pages 7-8]

Off-the-shelf software

Software applications – such as wordprocessors and spreadsheets – can be supplied on solid state disks, and ‘plugged in’ ready for instant use without complex installing and loading procedures.

Integrates with other computers

All Mobile Computers can be integrated with other computers so that they become extensions of each other. This enables files, for example, to be written directly to and from the remote drives. With an MC Fast Serial link, transfer rates can be around 100 times faster than is possible with the normal RS232 link. Files produced by Mobile Computers follow the industry standards for file structures, ensuring compatibility.


Graphic Interface Mobile Computers include an extended version of Psion’s powerful programming language ‘OPL.’ This combines the simplicity of ‘BASIC’ with the structure of ‘C’ and enables powerful programs to be written to suite individual requirements.

Expansion Modules

Two expansion slots are provided on Mobile Computers, one of which is fitted with a removable module containing RS232 serial and parallel ports. Other modules – such as a Quad Modem, Voice Processor, Magnetic Card Swipe Reader, Bar Code Reader, Fax, and Pager – can be inserted so adding to the machine’s capabilities without adding to its overall dimensions.

The PC compatible range of Psion MC computers

The world’s most practical PC for people on the move

For those who want the mobility, usability and productivity of Psion Mobile Computers, but wish to run PC software, Psion has developed a special range of Mobile Computer. The MC600 has a PC-related keyboard, (function keys replace the touch pad of Graphic Interface models), full size screen, 768k RAM, and a solid state 1Mbyte RAM disk with its own back-up battery. Four MSDOS-standard solid state disks can be plugged in to give up to 2Mbytes off-line storage (soon to be 8Mbytes).

Built-in system software The operating system, MSDOS 3.2, has been prepared for Psion by Microsoft, and is stored on internal ROM, so eliminating the usual system loading procedures. A custom version of LAPLINK III is built in to provide extremely fast direct file access and file transfers with PCs. It is easy to use, automatically installing itself on the remote computer.

Off-the-shelf software

PC compatible Mobile Computers will run PC software packages. Psion will be making available leading proprietary programs – including wordprocessors and spreadsheets – on ROM solid state disks. An external floppy drive is available.

Expansion modules

Two expansion slots are provided: one is permanently fitted with RS232 serial and parallel ports, while the other accepts a range of MC expansion modules, including a Comms 2 port.

[pages 9-10]


Solid State Disks

The plug-in solid state disks (SSDs) measure just 63mm × 52mm × 6mm (2½” × 1¾” × 8/16”) and contain Flash Eprom or RAM for memory, or ROM for applications software. RAM memory contains a replaceable lithium battery, to ensure data integrity.

External Solid State Disk Drive

This device provides a conventional PC with the facilities of four solid state disks, and thus enables programs and data files to be exchanged between PC and Mobile Computer, through the medium of the solid state disks.

Fast Serial Interface

A high speed Serial Link, which uses a card fitted to the desk-bound PC, enables direct access between the machines at speeds comparable to hard disk access speeds.

External Disk Drive

A compact (42mm × 217mm × 110mm) mains/battery powered 3.5 inch, 1.44Mbyte disk drive is available.


All Psion Mobile Computers will work with a full range of proprietary printers using either the serial or parallel interface.

Expansion modules

Quad Modem

A sophisticated, quadruple-standard modem (V21, V22, V22bis, V23) with many advanced features including MNP5 error correction and data compression. It is controlled using an extended Hayes command set, making it compatible with all popular comms software packages (the modem drivers are built into Graphic Interface Mobile Computers). It can be used attended or unattended on public telephone network or leased lines.

Voice module

(for Graphic Interface Mobile Computers only). This module works in conjunction with the built-in microphone and speaker to provide speech recording and playback facilities. It enables speech to be edited – making it more useful than conventional dictation machines – and can be used to tag Diary/Alarm entries with spoken messages.


Battery cartridges

The battery cartridge snaps smartly into a slot at the centre back of the Mobile Computer. Two types are available: Replaceable Alkaline, Sealed, rechargeable Nickel Cadium [sic]. The Nickel Cadmium batteries can be trickle charged in-situ whilst the Mobile Computer is being powered directly from a fixed power supply, or they can be removed and plugged directly into the adaptor for recharging.

It is suggested that while one pack is being used, another is kept as a spare or on recharge, for immediate replacement.

[technical details follow]

Page added on 18th February 2006.

Copyright © 2002-2006 Marcin Wichary, unless stated otherwise.