Psion Organiser
Announced:June 1984
Available:September 1984
Prices:UK 99.95 (US $130)
Weight:225 grams
CPU:HD6301X @ 0.9216 MHz
Power::9 volt battery
Memory:2K RAM
Display:16x1 text LCD display
Storage:8K or 16K module
Ports:serial port

Psion was a successful U.K. software house that started-out writing games, including "Flight Simulation", for the Sinclair ZX81 and Spectrum, and later produced the applications programs Quill, Easel, Abacus, and Archive for the Sinclair QL computer.

Their Psion Organiser, released in 1984, was billed as the world's first practical pocket computer, although it is better described as a PDA - Personal Digital Assistant - a term which didn't actually come into common use until the Apple Newton.

In addition to the built-in clock and calendar function, the Organiser commands are:
ENTER - for general purpose text entry and editing
SAVE - for saving your data permanently to the removable 'datapak' module
FIND - for retrieving records you previously saved
CALC - for calculations
ERASE - for cancelling records
OFF - for switching your Organiser off

The removable 'datapaks' are a great innovation, available in 8K (12.95 UK) or 16K (19.95 UK) thumb-sized modules. The 'datapaks' will remember all information for many years, as they contain an EPROM chip, which can only be erased by exposing it to ultraviolet light from an 'EPROM eraser' for 30 minutes or more. The 'rampak' expands the internal RAM for more memory-hungry applictions. This is temporary storage, though, as all data will be lost once the module is removed. Later systems supported a battery-backed 'rampak' module.

Years later in 1987, the Cambridge Z88 adopted the same technique, also having removable RAM and EPROM storage cartridges.

Organiser users can write their own programs with the 'Finance', 'Maths' or 'Science' paks, which provides the proprietary POPL (Psion Organiser Programming Language). It's easy to understand, straightforward to use, and is built around an uncomplicated series of commands which enable you to write programs as simple or sophisticated as you choose. By storing and saving programs in a datapak, you can run them whenever you need.

Organiser II closed
Organiser II open

New and improved Organisers were quickly released, including the Organiser II in 1986, which had models CM, XP, and LZ. The original Organiser is now referred to as the Organiser 1.

In 1989, Psion released three full-size laptop systems - the model 200 and 400 run the Psion operating system EPOC, which is not compatible with any other computer system. The high-end model 600 runs the de facto standard Microsoft MS-DOS.

The tiny handheld Psion Series 3 was released in 1991.

Psion HC100 from 1991

Psion Workabout from 1995

Related Links

  • The Psion Organiser II - 1.5MB pdf document
  • Organiser Hand Held Computers - 2.5MB pdf document
  • The Psion HC Range - 3.0MB pdf document

  • Psion Organiser II Developer Site
  • Jaap's Psion Organiser II Page
  • "Psion: the last computer" from
  • The History of Psion from
  • PsionWiki - A knowledge hub for Psion computers
  • New Scientist - Sep. 20, 1984
  • PSION II Teardown from

  • Return to the Obsolete Technology Homepage