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P > PSION > Series 3   

Series 3

In 1991, Psion launched their first clamshell format organiser, the Series 3. It featured a NEC V30H 8086-compatible processor running at 3.84MHz. The machine featured 128K or 256K of RAM, and into its 384K ROM Psion fit their EPOC operating system (as used in the MC 200 & 400 models, upgraded with new features), several good office/PDA applications and the OPL programming language.

In 1993 the Series 3a was launched. Despite the insignificant change in version number, this was a major upgrade: 256K or 512K RAM, double the processor speed, a much bigger LCD screen and upgraded sound capable of playing back digital samples at 8-bit or 13-bit quality. The 1MB ROM included new applications: a spreadsheet and a much upgraded Agenda package comparable to agenda/diary applications on desktop machines. 1MB and 2MB models were added later, and included a Patience game.

The Series 3 range of computers continued to be developed until 1998, when the model 3mx was released. This model was discontinued in 1999. Much of their software was ported to the Series 5 range, which was produced between 1997 and 2001, and some of the software, especially the built-in programming language OPL, is still being used and developed in Symbian mobile phones (Series 60, etc.), which are the descendants of the Psion PDA software architecture.

Thanks to Damian Walker for the information, Jonathan Barnes for the picture.

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I had a Psion 3 until I got a Psion 5mx in 1999. I still have it and it still works/looks new. At the time I had a new Thinkpad 700X and used the laptop as the backup to the Psion 5mx which I used as a principal computer to see if it could be done, very mobile. A dial-up modem too. The best machine around, QWERTY keyboard and came with a (still) beautiful leather wallet/case. Left it on an MTA NYC bus one night coming from California, full of credit cards and cash, all ID etc. Got it back next day from MTA dispatch, all present except for missing MTA card. Incredible design w AC cord, or (2) AA, and watch battery memory power. Built-in stylus, expansion memory card slot, modem/accessory connector.

Wednesday 23rd December 2020
Steven Monrad (US)

I have one of these I picked up from Goodwill for $5. Great little addition to my growing retro collection!

Tuesday 27th February 2018
Aidan (Oregon, USA)

For storing addresses etc off-PC I stilll use a brance of Series 3''s, one at home and one in the office where I work as a volunteer. They''re very handy.
One I used to use also when summarising the contents of old title deeds - awkward things to handle, often very large and on parchment - so a tiny computer was much better to use than even a laptop or (more recently) netbook.
It worked very well, though I missed any means of saving standard phrases which could be incorporated in my transcripts.
The automatic save to memory was a great advantage.
It''s a pity there was never a Windows version, and also that the device wasn''t developed any further. However I suppose nowadays Blackberrys and the like have taken its place - but I haven''t even got a mobile phone, let alone a smartphone!

Tuesday 29th May 2012
Dr Arthur Percival (UK)


NAME  Series 3
TYPE  Pocket
ORIGIN  United Kingdom
YEAR  1991
SPEED  S3: 3.84MHz, S3a: 7.68MHz
RAM  S3: 128-256K, S3a: 256K-2MB
ROM  S3: 384K, S3a: 1MB
TEXT MODES  S3: 8 lines x 40 chars, S3a: 16 lines x 80 chars
GRAPHIC MODES  S3: 240x80, S3a: 480x160
COLORS  S3: B/W LCD, S3a: Black, Grey & White (3 "colours")
SOUND  S3: Buzzer, S3a: Loudspeaker, 2 channels or samples
SIZE / WEIGHT  165 (W) x 85 (H) x 22 (D) mm
I/O PORTS  Proprietary - RS232 & Centronics adapters available
POWER SUPPLY  2 AA batteries or mains
PERIPHERALS  Proprietary memory expansions
PRICE  S3: £179.00 to £249.00, S3a: £269.00 to £399.00

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