Vodafone has added its weight to the digital convergence of communications and information technology after taking over exclusive Australian distribution of Psion Computers' palmtop solutions.
The deal sees Vodafone assuming responsibility for the sales, marketing, distribution and support of all Psion products sold locally with the new Series 5 palmtop computer, including a full keyboard, being the flagship of the range.
In addition to Vodafone's direct sales force and network of 123 retail outlets, the distributor is actively looking for companies in the channel who are interested in reselling Psion products as a retail item or as a powerful component of an enterprise solution.
Specifically, Vodafone has already struck deals with Harvey Norman, other retailers and several leading VARs, who specialise in handheld products and solutions such as E-World, Total Data Capture, Widget and Calculator King.
According to Stuart Palmer, Vodafone's Psion divisional manager, new generation palmtop computers offer the potential to be a convenient and cost-effective alternative to laptops for enterprises with large sales or service forces in the field.
"We were looking for more products to enhance our communications range and Psion is a good match as well as a logical progression from where we were. We see palmtop computers as being the next generation of remote communication technology," said Palmer.
"Many of the remote access functions executives are performing on their laptops can be done with more mobility and convenience on a Psion. The significantly lower purchase price and extended battery life Psion offers means busy executives can remain mobile for longer periods of time," he added.
Answering criticism that its incompatibility with the Windows CE operating system limits the functionality of Psion, Palmer said the product's popularity in Europe has spawned the development of over 3000 software titles for the operating system.
"There is no shortage of third party products that are designed for the Psion platform and a big advantage over Windows CE-based solutions is that they are significantly more memory efficient," said Palmer.