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October 26, 1993

VERSION OF PSION MC400 TO SUCCEED TANDY 200 FOR HACKS

By CBR Staff Writer

Psion Plc, London has a new vertical market implementation of its MC400 hand-held machine – this time for the publishing sector and going through a small systems integrator. The company teamed up with London-based Design Systems Ltd to offer a replacement to the Tandy Corp Model 200 machine, much used by journalists, which is no longer made. Design Systems, a systems integrator with annual turnover of UKP1.5m, spent UKP20,000 in developing the character-based software for the machine after deciding that Psion’s original graphical user interface was too alienating to journalists. Designed to run for 60 hours on eight AA batteries, the hybrid, called EROS, weighs 4 lbs and has an almost ful-sized keyboard. The machine uses a 2,400bps modem, (the Tandy’s modem worked at 300 bps), which can be plugged into a phone socket and used to upload stories. Journalists can archive their stories on the machine and, if the newspaper’s central office computer system is compatible, can download stories, edit them and reload them. Research could also be done on-line to the newspaper’s library. Design Systems, which is selling the finished product itself, has already scooped a deal with United Newspapers Plc, which initially commissioned it to develop the system. It is our first move into field-based systems, said Design Systems director Michael Richardson. Design Systems is also working on a solid state storage device which can be updated simply by touching a transmitter to it the Touch Memory device will be used by mechanics to keep records on vehicles and could be used to keep hospital patients’ records, according to Richardson.

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