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Siemens 2005 line or the 75-series
And again Siemens lost the majority of its presentations both telling about their products and description of marketing initiatives till the end of 2005 (all the descriptions and some presentations are available on Allsiemens.ru) before the official press release. Some of the devices described lower will be introduced at CeBIT and some later. So, let's see what's going to happen tomorrow and try to analyze a new product line.
Similarly to other manufacturers Siemens decided on offering non-camera variants of its standard devices. In particular, the S65 without a camera was named the SP65. An evident underline of the old platform shows the company doesn't plan to position the model highly. That is an intermediate solution between Siemens S65 и CX70 and price positioning will take place in this segment. Besides the absence of a camera, software was changed slightly. Some people say AAC and MP3 support are possible to appear that is unlikely due to marketing reasons. MP3 as a call signal is the main trump of the company. Wholesale price for Siemens SP65 is 175 Euro or about 230 USD that is really expensive. The same collision happens - the price pushes customers away from Siemens SK65. Considering the company's policy we can forecast the fall of the SP65 price and sales decrease on the threshold of Siemens CX75 launch. Such models as Nokia 6021 and Sony Ericsson K700 are taken as rivals. The only thing to add is the SP65 won't be interesting considering its price and the segments saturation.
I'd like to note, mp3 support is not provided yet, the function is announced, but working examples are still absent. Considering long life of the 65 series and possibilities of mp3 realization we can surely expect the function to appear.
The company plans to introduce the CX75 in the middle segment, the model is to become the main one in 250-300 USD segment and fix its positions even from the start of sales. Later it's planned to transfer it to 200-250 USD segment and at the moment of leaving the market (a year after the sales started) the price may reach 110-115 Euro.
The screen controller is different to Siemens CX65/CX70 and allows showing 262K against 65K colours. But this improvement did not influence the quality of the picture and really looses to Sony Ericsson K700 and Samsung devices. In fact, the improvement is noticeable inside the company line and still the screen's behaviour in the sun remains its strength.
Integration with Bluetooth is the second improvement; the technology has become de-facto mass and available in the middle segment. That is enough to have a look at Motorola E398, let alone old offers by SE. It was decided not to refuse IrDA in the 75th series. The technology is probable to remain in the company devices for the next 2 years.
Also a 1.3 MP CMOS camera is inherited from Siemens S65, the settings are similar, in the following report you can acquaint with the camera quality.
Similar to the S65 the device is equipped with an RS-MMC expansion slot placed on the bottom. MP3 and AAC support is provided. Speaking in hardware terms, we can find no differences from S65 and thus we see using tested equipment in a younger model. The CX 75 shipments are to start in the beginning of the summer but some markets will provide with the model even in May 2005. Reasoning from the inner development cycle the realization of relatively stable software will be possible only by the beginning of August, September. Two colour solutions will be available - Titan grey, Sand silver.
Such models as Motorola E398 (in mp3 component), Sony Ericsson K750i (high functionality and price) compete with the model. Siemens CX65 may be a success taking intermediate position. It will appear a bit earlier than the E398 renewal with a megapixel camera expected only by September. Unfortunately, the CX65 had all the chances to become a strong offer by Siemens in 2004, but many software problems prevented it from that. The model often turned off before the 16th version and was generally hard to use. If the situation repeats for the 75th line the sales will be lower than the forecasted ones. The company should pay great attention to the software stability even at the expense of functionality.
Similarly to Siemens CX65/M65 couple the 75th line will provide its paired devices. The M75 differs from the CX75 only in a protected body. Now it is spray and dustproof. The model is to appear on the market at the same time with the CX75 or a bit earlier. The price difference will form about 25 Euro.
The company also plans to offer some new models in the clamshell segment. Siemens CL75 is a device of the season. That is a cheap women clamshell competing with Samsung and Motorola mainly. A typical image of a customer is 20-35 year-old one having a low or medium income. Speaking in functional terms, the device is typical for the 200-250 USD segment (for the start of sales) and some correction to the level of 150-200 USD should be expected by the autumn.
The phone is equipped with an integrated VGA camera, there is an external antenna and an internal 262K TFT screen having the resolution of 128x160 pixels. An external screen is 65K STN with the resolution of 96x64 pixels. There is a 780 mAh Li-Ion battery working for 3 hours in the talk mode and up to 220 hours in the standby mode. The device is of 87x44x23.3 mm size and weights 90 grams. The VGA camera allows recording video. Standard for the class 11 MB of internal memory are provided. The presence of a fully-functional IrDA makes the device interesting. There is 40-tones polyphony (no support for mp3).
The CL75 shipments are to start in the middle of the summer, in September the software will be renewed and IM-client with Push to Talk function will appear (Siemens variant of the function is called Push and Talk).
Siemens CL75 is in some kind a надстройкой above Siemens CFX65 without any evident advantages besides the design. The presence of two colour solutions, targeting on women audience and standard functionality make the model interesting only to a limited number of customers. Considering Samsung's pressure, the launch of a Т500 successor in another style we can say the chances for success are very low for the CL75. That is a good assortment offer but not a bestseller.
Siemens CF 75 is to represent low-end products by the company. The difference from the CF62 is that its inner screen now has the resolution of 128x160 pixels and shows 65K colours (STN). The external screen is also colour showing 4096 colours (96x64 pixels). The device interesting in EDGE support offers 4 MB of integrated memory and a VGA camera. The dimensions of the phone are 94x47x22 mm, while the weight is 91 grams. Two colour solutions will be available - Ocean blue, Pearl black. The model is very probable to become a "folk" clamshell by Siemens for its low price and IrDA presence. Traditionally such products have low sales though are interesting for the price/quality ratio. Customers prefer fashion devices mainly, choosing screen quality and polyphony. Siemens CF75 with the start price of 175 USD will be launched in the mid summer. Smooth price correction will make the model interesting even in September, and thus the price may form 130-135 USD.
The SXG75 caused some talks, judging by the index it is to be a typical smartphone, some kind of continuator of a line represented only with the SX1 today. The specs seemed to prove the opinion, but then a QVGA screen showing 262K colours, an integrated GPS receiver that is seldom to find in smartphones. Memory capacity forms 128 MB and only 64 of them are for user needs, also RS-MMC expansion slot surely point the device is a smartphone. But I'll suppose the model is only a 3G phone based on a proprietary or a closed version of an operating system. A frontal camera for video calls has the CIF resolution and the second camera is CMOS but with the resolution of 2.2 MP.
The target group mainly consists of men aged 20-35 with a medium or high income. There is an mp3 player and FM-radio integrated. In principle, considering that the majority of UMTS phones for Siemens were developed and manufactured by Motorola the SXG75 may be referred to them.
But, judge yourself. The dimensions of the SXG75 are 111.5x53x20 mm and correspondingly of Motorola E1120 they form 113x52.8x21.5. The resolutions and colour possibilities of the screens are similar and that is not actually one more proof, just an extra hint. Battery capacities are also equal, and that happens sometimes. In separate, the fact 64 MB are available to a user in both cases tells about nothing also. In general Siemens seems to have used a cut version of Motorola E1120 having included its solutions into the platform, in particular a GPS-receiver, company software. Differently to the original device camera possibilities worsened greatly, but IrDA appeared.
Both devices are to appear in the end of 2005, and the price for Siemens' solution is about 650 USD higher. In general public delight about this 3G phone are too high, actually no improvements comparing with Sony Ericsson K750i appeared, and considering UMTS version of the model will appear in the end of the year no sense in Siemens SXG75 is seen. Though on the other hand, some brand worshipers may provide certain sales and operators' contracts. Anyway, only Motorola will win in that case. I'd note Siemens completely lacks own developments of 3G phones, thus the company is greatly inferior to other manufacturers.
Let's pass to the models that haven't got indexes yet and are indicated only with code-names. The first device is Mars. That is a phone designed in a classic form factor being a typical low-end solution. The 65K TFT screen has the resolution of 128x160 pixels. There is IrDA but Bluetooth is lacking, memory capacity forms 3MB. The device is 110x44x12 mm weighting 100 grams. The battery is 820 mAh Li-Ion enough for 5 hours of talks and up to 250 hours in the standby mode. The polyphony is 40-tones, GPRS class 10. We can't say Mars is a typically low-end solution since the manufacturer tries to position the device lower than Nokia 6021 but higher than Nokia 2600. In Nokia words, that is a renewed 3000 series and for Siemens that is in some kind a modern copy of Siemens C62.
Minos is a renewal for the CX line that will be introduced later and sales are to start in the autumn 2005. It differs from the CX75 in expanded capacity of integrated memory (up to 20 MB available to a user), integrated flash, renewed software and another set of games.
The last model we got information about from the network is the Wolf4. That is a slider-smartphone with the dimensions of 98x50x23 mm and weighting 89 grams. Traditionally, the GSM trial band device supports UMTS services. In connection with that the battery is 950 mAh Li-Ion. Work in the standby mode may last for 335 hours and in the talk one for 4 hours. The only one body colour Titan is provided. The presence of a 262K TFT screen with the resolution of 176x220 pixels is a peculiarity of the phone. These screens are typical for Motorola's products and as we have written above UMTS-phones by Siemens are turned Motorola's phones till today. Considering some characteristics, screen images and the announced full synchronization with specific products by Microsoft, Wolf4 is run by Windows Mobile 2003 for Smartphone. If that is right, we can surely say the device will remain behind similar solutions, the majority of 2005 products of this class will be equipped with 240x320 pixels screen.
Other characteristics are ordinary. That is 1.3 MP camera, a frontal CIF camera, expansion slot for RS-MMC cards, 60 MB of integrated memory. Functionally the phone is a typical Siemens device with nothing special. The model is to be launched in the end of the 3Q with the price of 450 Euro.
This information leakage drew great interest to Siemens and a real wave of discussions. In fact, that all corresponded with the company marketing, when that's necessary to rouse interest to its new devices. The Siemens model offer can't be called very strong now, the fact its product lines aren't united with a common idea is clearly seen. We now see three product lines not connected in fact. First, they are typical low-end solutions and classical models by the company. Second, that is a whole line of fashion clamshells in a middle segment mainly ODM-models. Third, UMTS devices became a separate branch. Here everything points out to the start or renewal of collaboration with Motorola.
The backbone of the future sales are C75, CX75 including M75), and naturally, all low-end solutions refer to it. A traditional Siemens S75 will attract attention in a high-end segment. Considering the functionality of the models described I can suppose Siemens C75 will have a 128x160 screen, a VGA camera and more than 10 MB of memory. That is mainly a copy of Sony Ericsson K300 with a comparable functionality. Siemens S75 will be equipped not only with great memory (about 20 MB), but also a CMOS camera with high resolution (2MP). I won't be surprised at an integrated flash in the model. In all the rest that is a typical copy of Siemens CX75. I'll repeat that described characteristics of Siemens C75, S75 are my suppositions; we'll see how right I guessed.
Comparing the models with rival offers we may see they are functionally saturated but loose to similar solutions by other manufacturers. Launch dates will be close and that gives no advantage to Siemens. MP3 support appeared about a year ago and that is not a real technological break but demands of the times. At first the company tries to compete with Nokia products and then with other manufacturers. Traditionally low offers in a fashion segment makes Siemens positions weak against a background of Samsung and other Korean manufacturers strengthening, and also new plans by Motorola with slim devices. Increasing Sony Ericsson's market share makes competition in the middle segment (C, CX-series) And only in a low-end segment the company keeps its strong positions, last models by Motorola are evidently less winning in design than Siemens' ones. Considering that all we can forecast a hard year for the company and the main task is to achieve the stability of its phones. Having solved this question the company will restore its image in the customers' eyes and increase sales. At that moment 3G models will probably dominate and the company will have all the opportunities of finding a new partner.
We now have to wait for the official announcements from CeBIT and the photos may be seen from the first days of the exhibition.
P.S. By the way, that is a concept-design of the smartphone SX1-successor by Siemens. Experiments with a keypad are still being held.
Published 11 March 2005