One of UK computing’s famous computing pioneers, Psion Plc, is being bought by Motorola Solutions for $200 million (£128 million) in cash, the US company has announced.
Famous in the 1980s for its Organiser handheld and in the 1990s for models such as the clamshell Series 3 PDA, the company eventually merged with Canadian firm TekLogix, retreating to rugged industrial terminals in the face of newcomers such as Palm’s hugely popular PalmPilot.
A significant legacy from its excellent consumer designs turned out to be its 32-bit software platform called EPOC, eventually absorbed into a joint Nokia-Ericsson-Motorola OS called Symbian.
The fit with Motorola Solutions – itself a refugee from Google’s recent acquisition of the mobile handset business – looks good. The latter has a large business in rugged handsets, terminals and tablets.
“Psion is a compelling opportunity to strengthen our industry-leading, mobile-computing portfolio with ruggedized handheld products and vehicle-mount terminals that will deepen our presence in the global markets in which we compete,” said Motorola Solutions CEO, Greg Brown.
Some will see the acquisition as yet another piece of the UK’s technology heartland being snapped by a US rival, while other will perhaps point out that despite its fame, Psion has long been a company serving an important but dull niche.
Its glory days long gone, consolidation now represents the best chance of survival.