Psion Teklogix is using the money from selling its stake in the Symbian consortium to fund a heavy-duty wireless-enabled handheld device.
The Workabout Pro is a more businesslike, Windows-based version of the heavyweight Workabout, which came out in 1995. Psion Teklogix is aiming to extend those devices to a broader range of jobs with more IT-like functions and wireless integration with corporate systems. The device will develop to include voice communications.
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Although the Workabout Pro costs £900 for a colour model, it lasts much longer than an ordinary PDA.
The machine runs Windows CE instead of the EPOC operating system which gave birth to Symbian, and includes wireless communication. With a PDA-like, quarter-VGA touchscreen, the Workabout Pro also has a 55-key keyboard that extends below it, doubling the length.
It takes PCMCIA, CD and compact flash cards, all of which are installed inside the case, either under the battery or in a separate compartment sealed with screws, and it can have Bluetooth and Wi-Fi or GPRS.
Devices such as scanners and readers can be bolted onto the device, with rechargeable batteries that last up to 12 hours (or eight hours if the radio is on). The device includes a microphone and speaker, with voice capability planned for a future version.
Peter Judge writes for Techworld.com