UK handheld computer vendor Psion, in the wake of last week?s launch of its 32bit Series 5 device, has joined the rash of other troubled high-tech firms, as it revealed it was experiencing a sales slump.
On 16 June, the same day the Series 5 was released, Psion shares fell 97.5p to 407.5p, wiping an estimated #60 million from their value. Sales figures for the year to 31 December have now been revised from an expected #24 million to #16.5 million, just above the #16 million made last year.
Psion chairman David Potter blamed the slow-down in profits on a bout of de-stocking by distributors of the earlier Series 3 and Siena machines as they anticipated the arrival of the latest palmtop model. Some sources have claimed that a sales slump occurred.
Potter said: ?We warned at the time of the preliminary results, and again at the annual meeting, that because of Series 5, 1997 will be a year of transition for Psion.?
Psion is shifting its focus away from its traditional retail stronghold as the company attempts to secure itself a position in the corporate market (PC Dealer, 18 June).
Although Psion expects sales of the Series 5 to reach 400,000 units a month by December, industry watchers are more sceptical as they acknowledge the impending competition between the Series 5 ? with its 32bit EPOC32 operating system ? and alternative Windows CE-based PDAs from the likes of Hewlett Packard, Compaq and Philips Electronics.
The Series 5, which is said to have cost Psion about 10 times as much in R&D as the Series 3, comes in 4Mb and 8Mb versions and retails at about #440 and #550 respectively.
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