In a bid to ensure it stays a dominant player in the mobile computing market, UK company Psion has hit out at the Microsoft CE handheld platform. In a bid to reposition itself as a mobile connectivity specialist, Psion said it will introduce mobile network computers, which, it claimed, will be superior to CE products in offering corporate connections.
A document given to VNU Newswire at the Cebit show in Hanover last Friday claimed that devices based on CE will not meet the needs of mobile users, and that the advent of CE has been prompted purely by Microsoft?s need to grow its own market.
Psion, which earlier in the week turned in increased profits and revenue for its last financial year (see earlier story), claimed that the technology approach adopted by Microsoft and its licensees will not perform adequately.
The document claims that, while the Windows CE screen is designed to look like Windows 95, there are "far fewer" ways of viewing information, battery life is far shorter than on a Psion and CE machines do not provide password protection on files.
"Windows CE is not easier to use than other handheld operating systems because it is similar to Windows 95," the document says. "Pocket Word and Pocket Excel are so limited in functionality when compared to their desktop versions that they are similar in name only."
According to Psion, while connectivity is important to all handheld computers, this should not be restricted to PCs. The document promises that Psion will provide connections to Macs, printers, mobile phones, fax machines, the Internet and to corporate data networks.
A source close to the company said: "Psion is repositioning itself as a connectivity company. It realises that to compete head on with CE machines is a dangerous tactic and so it will reinvent itself."
He claimed that Psion already had technology in its software labs which will allow future machines to connect to the IBM AS/400 and other corporate platforms.
Psion is also aligning itself closely to the Java platform. At Cebit, it announced it had licensed Java for its Epoc 32 platform. That means it can port Java to a range of devices including mobile network computers, PDAs, smartphones and future personal communicators.
According to Mark Gretton, technology director at Psion Software: "Epoc 342 is the only portable platform built entirely in C++. The power of our C++ objects will allow us to port Java with little extra Rom or Ram overhead."
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