Psion Series 5mx
The Psion Series 5 was easily my favorite ever PDA. Not sure it really belongs in the annuls of rugged portable history, as it was certainly a consumer-grade device, and the ever-so clever sliding keyboard mechanism did tend to flex the flexi-cable a bit too much… If you have one and need to know how to repair it – this link – is to a wonderfully detailed disassembly and repair guide. I had a Series 5mx, and I’m not going to do two posts – the mx was faster – 36MHz rather than 18Mhz. The display was not all that wonderful, a half-VGA 640 x 200 LCD with 16 shades of grey.
I remember going through many many sets of AA batteries as they seemed to only last two or three days of heavy use.
Psion these days actually is a designer of rugged portables – and is part of Motorola Solutions. Not sure if they were sold to Lenovo or not.
The design of the series 5 (and hence 5mx) was done by Martin Riddiford who worked for Therefore Design in London. It featured a sliding keyboard, which was actually usable, and a touch screen. Psion was awarded a patent for the device not tipping over when you used the touch screen. Such innovation! I liked the stylus so much I bought ten of them and donated them to the production department at Dolch Computer Systems in Fremont, CA for the calibration of touch screens.
Unusually even then the PSION Series 5 was manufactured in the UK.
I know I have still got my Series 5 somewhere in the garage – and I’ll replace these images with ones of my own if I ever find it!