Psion shelves Bluetooth products, cuts jobs and restructures division

U.K. handheld computer maker Psion PLC announced this month that it is refocusing on providing digital networking and in doing so will lay off 250 employees in addition to taking a US$40.9-million one-time charge.

As a result of the company’s change of direction, it will move away from producing handheld computers and is not going to release its planned Bluetooth products, the company said in a statement.

The company will restructure its Psion Digital division to create products and services for wireless WANs and wireless LANs aimed at the corporate and education markets, Psion said. The company will continue to develop its strategic investment in Symbian Ltd., Psion said.

The change is due to the firm’s continually poor performance in a market that is completely saturated with handheld computer devices and mobile phones, the company said.

Furthermore, the company is pulling its Bluetooth PDA and Bluetooth connectivity products. The move is due in part to what Psion calls a slower-than-anticipated establishment of a mass market for Bluetooth, the standard for short-distance wireless communications, or wireless personal area networks.

In March, Psion announced that it had decided not to pursue a smart-phone initiative and would lay off about 100 employees from that business unit to reduce costs. The company also announced at the time that it was merging its modem, computer and information media units into a single division called Psion Digital Solutions and was taking a charge of US$15.9 million for fiscal 2001 for the restructuring.

The London-based company reported that revenue was up by five per cent in the first half of 2001 compared to the first half of 2000. Psion will announce its 2001 interim results on Aug. 29, the company said in the statement.

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