Psion Software’s EPOC32 Emerges as the Front Runner at Outlook on Wireless OS ‘97

EPOC32 surpasses Windows CE, OS/9, NewtOS and GEOS in meeting the technical requirements of Smart Phones and MNCs Mobile ROM-based platform premieres on Psion Series 5 palmtop

BURLINGAME, CA, USA - 30 June 1997 - Psion Software’s EPOC32 platform emerged from Andrew Seybold's conference "Outlook on Wireless OS ‘97" as the best technical solution for smart phones and mobile network computers (MNCs). MNCs are a new class of devices that range from "smart" cellular phones to lightweight, handheld mobile devices with easy access to the Internet or corporate networks. On June 16th 1997 at PC Expo, Psion Software unveiled EPOC32 on the Psion Series 5 handheld computer.

The Outlook on Wireless OS ‘97 is the first conference devoted exclusively to wireless computing device operating systems (OS) and was held on June 24, 1997 in Santa Clara, California. The conference was organized by Andrew Seybold and Alan Reiter, widely respected wireless technology analysts and publishers of influential wireless data industry newsletters. The purpose of the conference was to examine the positioning and potential of all the logical OS players and lay out the technical issues facing hardware and software developers, users and vendors.

At the conference, Psion Software outlined the OS requirements for designers of smart phones and other MNCs:

  1. "Really" real time performance: essential for online communicating devices
  2. Scaleability across a range of processing performance: MMU and non MMU variants
  3. Configurable user interface: required for product line differentiation
  4. Internet and round-trip desktop connectivity: essential for seamless desktop data transfer
  5. Robust code: required for consumer devices
  6. Strong industry standard development tools

EPOC32 meets the needs of hardware and software developers, users and vendors and is the only platform that can truly call itself ‘fit for purpose.’ The following outlines the technical requirements necessary to compete in the handheld OS space--see table 1.

Table 1: Technical criteria for handheld platforms

Psion Software
32 Bit Yes Yes Yes No Yes
"Really" Real Time No No No No Yes
Object Oriented No No Yes No Yes
Object Class Libraries in ROM No No Yes No Yes
Embedded Objects No No No No Yes
Single and Multiple process models No No No No Yes
Graphical UI
Yes No No Yes Yes
Suite of Desktop Companion Apps No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Advanced Time
& Contact Mgmt Apps
No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Connectivity to
the Desktop
No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Oracle Mobile Agents (OMA) No No No No Yes
Citrix ICAClient No No No No Yes
Java Applets Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Business Java No Yes No No Yes
Visual Basic No No No No Yes
Code warrior
Microsoft VC Proprietary Borland C Microsoft VC++
GNU tool chain
Processors currently
68xxx, x86, PowerPC,
ARM, StrongARM,
MIPS, SH3,Power PC ARM6, StrongARM x86 ARM7, 8 and 9.StrongARM

EPOC32 is a highly optimized, C++, multi-tasking, 32-bit operating system for mobile ROM-based computing platforms and includes a fully featured suite of Personal Information Management, productivity and communications applications. The platform is entirely modular and supports embedded graphics and voice as well as pen and keyboard input.

"The experience we gained designing the world's most successful palmtop computers provided invaluable insights into the requirements of mobile ROM-based computing products," said Stephen Randall, Joint Managing Director of Psion Software. "We recognized the opportunity to design a long term platform that would be equally at home in a smart phone, mobile network computer or handheld computer.

Such products require robust and properly architected platforms to serve the growing list of demanding features. EPOC32 has been designed to deal with differing user interfaces, unique communications requirements and demanding battery management without sacrificing performance."

The EPOC32 platform is 'fit for purpose,' and like its predecessor, EPOC16, gives significant time-to-market advantages to licensees because it has been architected for efficient reuse. Its thin client, modular architecture allows sophisticated applications to reuse the platform components. As an example, an EPOC32 word processor or spread sheet application can have embedded objects, sound, colour graphics and be "round-trip" compatible with their best selling desktop counterparts yet only require around 100Kb of code and execute directly from ROM.

EPOC32’s real-time performance allows it to run telephony protocol stacks making it suitable for communications enabled devices. The platform can be scaled from its multi-process variant which is ideal for high-end handheld computers, to an embedded variant ideal for mobile cellular handsets.

"Psion Software is focused on the mobile computing and telephony sectors," stated Randall. "We have licensed EPOC32 to major companies outside of Psion Group and we will be making announcements about those deals over the coming months. Our licensees selected Psion Software because our proven technology far outstrips those technologies offered by the competition. We’ll be doubling in headcount over the next twelve months in order to accommodate our business growth."

There are three development environments available for EPOC32 - a C++ software development kit (SDK), the "Basic-like" OPL32 and "Visual Basic-like" OVAL32. A Java SDK is slated for early '98. More than three hundred and fifty developers, familiar with Psion Software's previous award winning platforms have already signed up for EPOC32 and this number is growing by more than one hundred a month.