Psion bought by Motorola Solutions in $200m cash deal

Motorola Solutions has confirmed it is buying Psion, one of the best-known innovators in the early PDA days, in a deal worth $200m. Psion, now focused on industrial and ruggedized mobile computing products, will be merged with Motorola Solutions' Enterprise Mobile Computing (EMC) business.

"Psion is a compelling opportunity to strengthen our industry-leading, mobile-computing portfolio" Greg Brown, chairman and CEO of Motorola Solutions said in a statement today, "with ruggedized handheld products and vehicle-mount terminals that will deepen our presence in the global markets in which we compete."

As for Psion, the deal is being painted as an opportunity to minimize the potential impact of an changeable marketplace. "The offer by Motorola Solutions provides Psion's shareholders with certainty in an environment where certainty is in short supply" company chairman John Hawkins said today. The deal – which will be fulfilled in cash – is expected to complete in Q4 2012.

Psion is perhaps most widely known for the Series 3 and Series 5, ranges of clamshell personal digital assistants sold in the early 1990s. The Series 5 in particular was vaunted for its excellent keyboard – arguably still unmatched today – which used an innovative hinge assembly to fold a decent-sized QWERTY 'board with surprising degrees of key-travel into a compact footprint.

However, warm fuzzy feelings around the Series 5 were overshadowed back in 2009, when Psion attempted to cash in on the netbook fad by digging out its trademark on the term. The case was eventually settled with Intel for an undisclosed amount, but not before Psion had issued cease & desist orders to netbook fan-sites and manufacturers.