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Motorola to Broaden Handheld Reader Portfolio With Psion Acquisition

The $200 million purchase of the handheld computer company opens channels for Motorola's product offerings to meet the needs of industrial and rugged-environment use cases.
By Claire Swedberg
According to Liard, Motorola's acquisition of Psion is an example of how vendors are responding to the market's needs for auto-ID technologies able to solve problems in multiple ways—solutions that include, but are not isolated to, radio frequency identification. End users currently view RFID as part of a business solution that might include other auto-ID technologies, he adds, "and the business-process change should drive technology solutions."

By broadening its portfolio, Liard says, Motorola will be poised to respond to a wider variety of client needs. "What makes RFID so interesting, and frustrating, is that each user is unique," he states. End users include everything from warehouse managers and oil and gas companies to wine merchants and high-value apparel shops. By acquiring Psion, he contends, Motorola can now better respond to a greater range of use cases.

In addition to the Workabout Pro, Psion's products that support RFID reader modules include the Omnii series of readers, designed for such field-service applications as courier services, trucking and transportation. The company also sells the pocket-size NEO and Ikôn models, which are available with RFID reader modules.

Motorola's existing RFID-enabled products are the MC3190-Z business-class handheld computer, the MC9090-G UHF handheld with bar-code scanning capability, and the MC9090-Z handheld RFID interrogator and bar-code scanner.

Motorola has not yet made any decisions regarding the branding of Psion products. The company's greatest priority, Rishi says, "is to ensure business continues as usual for our joint customers." In the meantime, he explains, Motorola is forming teams to undertake market studies that will help it strategize issues such as staffing and product branding.

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