updated 02:20 pm EST, Wed December 24, 2008
Psion Netbook Takedowns
Sites using the term "netbook" to refer to the recent wave of mini notebooks are starting to receive cease and desist letters over its alleged infringement of a trademark for a Psion device with a similar name, say site owners reporting their problems to jkOnTheRun. The largely defunct PDA maker has claimed that various enthusiast pages are inadvertently using the name of its discontinued netBook and netBook Pro devices and is asking the sites to phase out use of the term by the end of March. Psion doesn't say what the consequences will be but warns that continued use will "damage" its trademarks.
The accusations are controversial both through their attempt to link a generic term to a no longer produced device but also through their implications for Intel, which is largely credited with inventing the modern use of "netbook" and promoting its use. No action is yet known to have been taken against Intel, nor have any immediate links been made between Psion's Linux-based organizer and the newer, more abstract concept.
The current definition of the word refers to a very small notebook built primarily for accessing the Internet and which doesn't need large amounts of processing power or storage as a result. Psion's device shares similarities in its blend between PDA and notebook functions but is focused more on offline content and runs a relatively feature-limited operating system versus the full Linux or Windows XP operating systems on today's systems.