PsiXpda Planning Psion 5mx-Style QWERTY Android MID

PsiXpda, who you may remember channeled some classic Psion nostalgia for their UMPC in late 2009, is planning a second attempt on the companion device market with a design that sticks more faithfully to the fondly-remembered Series 5mx. Founder Paul Pinnock told Reghardware that, while the PsiXpda sold out its (admittedly tentative at just 2,000 units) production run, the new model will use Android and have a more imaginative form-factor.

The original PsiXpda UMPC – which we reviewed in January 2010 – was a rebadged DigiCube MIDPhone-50, running Windows XP on a sliding, tilting 4.8-inch 800 x 480 resistive touchscreen display, with a full QWERTY keyboard, Atom Z510 1.1GHz processor and 1GB of RAM. At the time we criticized its underwhelming battery life and disappointingly small display (which struggled even to accommodate Windows XP's default messages) and suggested that it was not the model to break UMPCs out into the mainstream.

Pinnock apparently agrees, admitting that the original PsiXpda was "not fast enough and not good enough." Instead, he's looking to the much-loved Psion Series 5mx (shown above) design for a follow-up. The 5mx managed – by virtue of a clever sliding-folding hinge mechanism – to fit a large physical QWERTY keyboard with decent travel into a 170 x 90 x 23 mm form-factor, big enough for many to actually touch-type on. A useful byproduct of the design meant that tapping the 5.6-inch touchscreen wouldn't topple the 5mx backward.

Rather than attempt to squeeze a desktop OS onto the new PsiXpda, Pinnock intends to use Android, which should add up to longer battery life and more consumer appeal. Although we've seen Android MIDs with physical 'boards before, they've always been intended for thumb-typing rather than anything more ambitious. No word on when PsiXpda intends to release the new model, but we're tentatively curious to see if its second attempt can do a better job of living up to the Psion inspiration.