Siemens demos Series 60 phone, open sources Symbian

Oops... But what about those keys?

Siemens has unveiled its first Series 60 phone, and as you might have expected it looks rather Nokia 7650-ish. Siemens however hopefully describes it as "an instant design classic," extolling the virtues of its "unique keypad arrangement," which uses strips of keys down either side of the screen instead of a normal keypad.

This is clearly the bit that's going to make people says hmmmmm.... But take a look and see what you think. As a unit, it looks quite groovy, but those keys? Hmmm....

The justification is to give it a sleek shape and to shift "the large, 64K color high-resolution screen into the center of the device without compromising overall size as the SX1 only weighs 110 grams." So it skips the 7650's chunkiness and retracting keypad, but uniqueness is not always a virtue; there may be good reason why nobody else is doing it.

There's a lot of stuff in it, nevertheless. Triband GSM, joystick type device, video player, camcorder, music player, FM radio, Series 60 and Java game support, better display than the Nokia, and a memory expansion slot. That could be enough to see off the Nokia 3650, which funnily enough also goes for a weird keyboard layout.

Siemens is not apparently following Nokia's market segmentation approach, and is pitching it as a 'work hard, play hard' phone. Nokia scolded The Reg after we bought the 7650, telling us we were supposed to buy the forthcoming business version. Ho hum. But Siemens may not quite have grasped the nature of Symbian, if the press release is anything to go on:

"Built on the open-source Symbian platform..." it burbles. Or perhaps Siemens knows something we don't.

Update: Clearly Symbian has gone open source without telling anybody, because it currently says exactly the same thing on the Symbian site. They wouldn't put that up there if it wasn't true, would they?

Updated some more: Now the Symbian site release says "Built on the open platform Symbian OS..." Good work, Symbian bunnies - now all you have to do is remember to read it before you post it... ®

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