By Tony Henning
In an announcement from Berlin yesterday, BenQ Mobile unveiled its new consumer mobile phone brand: BenQ-Siemens. The launch coincides with the release of the first phones carrying the company’s new logo. Taiwanese electronics manufacturer BenQ Corp. last year acquired the struggling mobile phone division of German industrial giant Siemens AG, thereby creating its BenQ Mobile division. BenQ Mobile is by most accounts the worlds sixth largest mobile phone maker. Although the company has been relatively quiet during the past few months, its new branding announcement is evidence BenQ Mobile hopes to remain on the world’s phone radar. To celebrate its new logo, BenQ Mobile unveiled its first three phones to carry the BenQ-Siemens brand. The company did not say where it would sell the devices, or how much they would cost. The three new handsets are sleek and stylish — always a Siemens hallmark — and at least two have respectable, if not impressive, multimedia specs.
The EF81 is the flagship of the new brand, a UMTS clamshell model just 15.9 mm thick that should pass muster with the current fashion police. The casing is made from magnesium, while brushed stainless steel was used for the keypad and black anodized aluminum for the back cover. Packed into the super-slim package are a rotating two-megapixel camera with 5x digital zoom; an integrated media player that supports all popular file formats including MP3, AAC++, MPEG4, RealVideo 8/9, h.263 and 3GPP; and support for microSD memory cards. There are dual color displays — a 2.2-inch, QVGA, 262,144-color TFT LCD main display and a respectable 1.3-inch, QQVGA (120 x 160-pixel) sub-display. Extensive business applications such as Mobipocket Readers for e-books, Microsoft Bluetooth Remote Control, with which PowerPoint presentations can be edited from the mobile, or News2Mobile provide support for road warriors. The new SyncStation DSC-100 makes the BenQ-Siemens EF81 “a high-quality design masterpiece to adorn any desk.”
The BenQ-Siemens S68 is a super-slim candybar model just 13 mm thick with a brushed aluminum front and a black “soft-touch” back. The company goes to some lengths to spin the appeal of this voice-centric device: “By adhering strictly to the principle of reduced complexity, this high-quality tri-band mobile is one of the first BenQ-Siemens devices to embody the unique character of this new brand. Dispensing with all superfluous gadgets, the BenQ-Siemens S68 concentrates on the crucial basic functions of mobile communication.”
The S88 is not as svelte as the S68, but it incorporates all the “superfluous gadgets” that its skinner cousin eschews. There’s a two-megapixel camera with auto-focus, 16x digital zoom, and LED photo light and like camera-phones from the other Asian-European mobile phone partnership, the handset is designed to be held horizontally like a “real” digital camera when photographs are being taken. The S88 can record video in MPEG4 format up to the capacity of the memory (microSD cards) and has a built-in photo editor and PictBridge support. The screen is a 2.0-inch, 176 x 220-pixel, 262,144-color Active Matrix OLED — by our reckoning the nicest, if not actually the first, primary mobile phone display to use the technology. There’s an integrated music player and equalizer for MP3, AAC+ and AMR and an included stereo headset for 3D surround sound. Rounding out the superfluous gadgets is Bluetooth. All three phones should be available this quarter.
used by permission Future Image Mobile Imaging Report