The Psion Preservation Project

Documenting and archiving the Psion Series 3/3a/3c/3mx
MC, HC, Workabout and Siena

The British computer company Psion produced iconic handheld & portable computers in the 1980s & 1990s. They produced some groundbreaking hardware and software whose legacy is traceable into the early development of the smartphones that we use today. This project is dedicated to preserving, documenting and hopefully expanding the capabilities of the early 16-bit SIBO/EPOC16 platform.

The original work started with Alex Brown’s “The Last Psion” project in 2018 and his desire to create a “WiFi SSD pack” – taking the old proprietary Psion SSD and adding modern WiFi connectivity. But the scope soon expanded, as Alex says:

We believe that the SIBO/EPOC16 platform deserves a place in the retrocomputing world, alongside giants like the ZX Spectrum and C64. We want to play to the platform’s strengths: The massive battery life, the non-backlit screen, the full keyboard, the deep sleep mode, the simplicity, the expandability.

The SIBO/EPOC16 platform was well ahead of its time. We want to breathe new life into this vastly underestimated platform.

So far the project has benefited from some very generous donations of both hardware and software (including source) from former Psion developers & employees. The ultimate goal would be the open-sourcing of the platform hardware and software but this is not a simple task – complicated by numerous corporate acquisitions & mergers over the decades.

Currently there are working emulations of the MC, HC, Series 3, Siena & Workabout ranges running under MAME.

Discussions are at a very early stage with the Computer Conservation Society to create a Special Interest Group/Working Party focused on the 16-bit Psion platform.

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