, always on the job, reports that UK-based PsiXpda is bringing back the netbook that started it all: the Psion 5-series form factor is back! I have an affinity for these, having carted a 3a and then a 5a around in years even before Palm, when the nearest competition was the boat-anchor Apple Newton.

Granted, the old Psion ran EPOC (which eventually evolved into Symbian), while the new one runs… eek, Windows XP!? But they promise Android real soon now. The old one used AA batteries that would last for what seemed like weeks, while this one has an 1850mAh probably-lithium-based battery. The old had a very miserly, simple monochrome screen—new one is a 5-inch 800×480 full-color touchscreen. Oh, and the old one had no networking (or at least my 5a didn’t) while this one sports Wi-Fi, EVDO, and several other long acronyms. And the 5mx was powered by an ARM, while the new one is Atom-powered.

So… it isn’t quite the same. The form factor is nice, with a full (thumb) keyboard. But I wonder if they missed the point of the old device. The old reliable 5-series was simple, which is part of what gave it charm. Unlike the fleet of PDAs which followed, it rarely ran out of battery, and it did what I wanted it to do. This new machine is obviously far better equipped and looks like a true netbook in a small form factor, like the Nokia N900 series—it is not so much a PDA as a reference platform. It doesn’t look simple. That’s modern life, I guess.

I wish them luck, but I doubt I’ll go there. The past is gone. Besides, at $825 I simply won’t be able to afford one—for that kind of money I’d rather get two Droids that already run Android.