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News from Siemens: Siemens SL55, bluetooth and even Chatpen.

Yesterday the photo of Siemens SL55 appeared in Net. Of course the question of its reliability arises immediately. Now I can say that it's a really an image of one of the elaborated designs. Moreover it is expected that this design won't change much. Only the colour of the phone's body (one of 2) and a tiny bit of shape could be changed. Size and weight will be invariable. I can say it for sure and the following facts prove it.

Fact 1. It's became known long time ago that Siemens was going to produce a smartphone under Symbian operation system. Peter Zapf, president of Siemens mobile phones department, for the first time informed of such plans in Cannes in the February, 2002. Here are his exact words: “The Symbian platform allows us to continue the development of our smartphone portfolio, not only to business users, but to all mobile phone consumers that want the world's best mobile business and entertainment features on their handsets.” It was not just words, it was a confidence, the president had already known how the new line from Siemens would be developed.

Fact 2. The first experiment on the smartphone creation was failed. Firstly, Siemens SX45 wasn't launched in time. Finally, it was created on the base of a popular PDA - Casio Cassiopeia 125. The choice of that PDA was incorrect because it limited the use of product. The prototype became out of date, modern models substitute for it. Where was the mistake? The phone tried to rival with PDA, not with other smartphones and it became unpopular.

Later, the production of PDAs and smartphones based on PDA was passed to a joint venture Fujitsu-Siemens. It produced Pocket LOOX 600 with GSM module. Since than this company began to deal with PDA and devices based on them.

Conclusion 1. The platform for smartphones was taken away from the mobile phone department and they had to choose a new platform. A new elaboration of a platform would have cost too much and Symbain was the only perfect decision. In addition the reference design had already existed and it allowed to set up a production in the shortest possible time. So the announcement was made. We can read between the lines that a new smartphone will be aimed not only to a business segment but also to a fashion one. Untill now all fashion phones were marked as SL. So it is expected that a new smartphone will also have this mark. There were many rumors about products marked as SX55 but none of them comes true yet.

Fact3. On the 23. of April, 2002 Siemens acquired 5% a stake in Symbian and became a shareholder equally with Nokia, SonyEricsson, Motorola, Psion, Panasonic (http://press.nokia.com/PR/200204/856576_5.html). Other companies had a more liberal share but it was not very important for Siemens. It accessed elaborations and fast creation of new technological products.

Fact4. At the same time Nokia announced the Development Kit for the Series 60 platform, that is used for smart phones based on Symbian (Nokia 7650 as an example). The platform itself was manufactured by Texas Instruments Incorporated and it is called OMAP (http://press.nokia.com/PR/200204/856494_5.html). Nokia licensed it to other shareholders as a source-code product. It is mentioned in press-release that at first this platform was designed to support development of 2.5 and 3G wireless devices. There is optional GSM/GPRS expansion module. Engineers can also add almost everything they want to an interface block with a colour LCD display - a keyboatd or other standard units, they can also connect any peripheral chips. It's the ideal system to renew a platform for those companies that don't want to put up money to the elaborations of complicated products.

Conclusion 2. Siemens assessed the situation and decided to create a new competitive smartphone as soon as possible. All actions of the company prove it. The company understands that to create a really competitive product one should make it different from others, to individualize it. Engineers from Siemens knew even in the beginning of the year that they couldn't outstrip launching smartphones from Nokia and SonyEricsson. Future trends were not optimistic, taking into account the fact that Nokia 7650, which had the same platform as the planned smartphone, appeared for sale in summer.

The only thing to do in this situation was to make a better product. The main weak points of Nokia 7650 are small volume memory (only 4 Mb) and the absence of slots. Siemens decided to add a MMC expansion slot as the most advanced and well-known (it had been already used in other phones) development. So the external memory was added, hence, it was necessary to work up the system interface and memory utilities.

General conclusion. Smartphone from Siemens will be probably marked as SLxx, the facts above are for it. The photo of the prototype in Net doesn't allow to estimate its dimensions, so many people thought that it was a small phone. In reality it could be a full analogue of Nokia 7650. Compare the phones and you'll note their similarity in key-pad structure and keys spacing. Siemens set a simple joystick which was used in other models, not the same as in 7650. The display is smaller, like in S55. There are other differences as well but they are not very important. The main thing is the availability of the external memory. The phone is seemed to be announced in one month. By the way, we can also say that SL55 is not an expected smartphone from Siemens. There are some details in it, that could be appeared in smartphone, besides they are similar by the design.

The smartphone will be sold only in the beginning of the next year. I don't think that a company will be able to produce a sufficient supply of commodities to Christmas. It can be assumed that soon the company will approve all the specifications of the smartphone and it will be the beginning of production.

Of course there is a possibility that all our guesses and conclusions are false and Siemens will change the mark of the smartphone, for example to SZ-55. Soon we'll know if we were right or not.

And some more information about Siemens production

In the end I'd like to publish two photos connected with Siemens elaborations. At the first picture you can see a pen connected with a phone by a cable. With a help of it you can write short messages. A hand-written text is converted automatically. It's an analogue of SonyEricsson Chatpen. The only difference in connection, it's not bluetooth.

Here is the elaboration that nobody has ever seen on sale - bluetooth included in the battery of Siemens SL45. The accumulator capacity is the same - 1000 mAH. This elaboration was made just in case if phones with bluetooth would have become very popular among users. You know that the company didn't have such handset. Such extra features were planned for S45 too and they seemed to be profitable because Nokia 6310 had them. I can remind you that the beginning of trades for Nokia 6310 was expected to be at the same time with Siemens S45. But Nokia postponed them and as result lost her chance to conquer the market.

Well, this is all about old elaborations. Mail me, I am looking forward to hearing from you and knowing your opinion on this subject.

And again an exclusive design, here is another photo of a luxury phone.

Last part of this article was written by material from Telefon Treff forum. Thanks for this.

 

Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
Translated by Maria Sennikova (maria@mobile-review.com)

Published — 22 August 2002

 

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