Application Reminiscences: Photo5 on Psion Series 5

I was just chewing the cud with Amila from work and I was reminded of a programme I wrote as a hobby called Photo 5.

I used to love writing programmes. Sadly, since I work with much more talented programmers than me, I don't do it any more. Boo Hoo :(

So here... if you're even remotely interested... is a brief dip into the software developments I have published on my own. Or at least one of them. Might add some more later.

Photo 5

Photo5 was a an image editing and photo manipulation on the Psion Series 5 computer, that came out in the late 90’s.

Essentially I wanted to write the first ever handheld Photoshop - in the days when Photoshop was version 4. And I think I achieved it.


  • 20 Levels of Undo
  • Supporting Plugins - quite a few plugins were written for it by 3rd parties, such as jpeg export, printing and stuff.
  • Animation Support - including frames, paths and animation brushes.
  • Image Modification: resize, bend, shear...
  • Image Filters: distort, emboss, negative, glow, solarize, pointalize....
  • Custom rendered font types and text objects.
  • Vector based shapes and B-Splines (They were so much fun(i.e. nerd fun))
  • Many kinds of drawing tools, like pens, brushes, sprays. I seem to remember all were very configurable.
  • Smart adaptive GUI with custom sliders and interface elements; trying to get as close as possible to Corel Draw and Photoshop.

Photo5 was huge in Romania, and many people cite its ability to make true creativity truly portable was a key factor in the collapse of the Ceaucescu regime, as this article testifies.

Reminiscing, as I rarely do, it was a pretty ground breaking application that did stuff that still hasn’t been done on handhelds, even today.

I’ve lost the Zip install but I have a Psion 5 still, so if by some freaky chance anyone has the install I'd love a copy!