The CeBit IT show in Germany this week saw Siemens launching two new phones designed for the business market.
Siemens has introduced its first high-speed data GPRS (general packet radio service) handset, and a combined PDA/phone device.
The S45 GPRS phone allows users to download data onto a laptop PC at about twice the speed of a traditional GSM phone, according to Siemens. The S45 also has an enhanced graphical user interface and is able to download bitmap graphic images.
Georges Boulloy, vice president of product operations at Siemens, said the Wap-based S45 would be commercially available from the first week in July, but could not say how many would be available to operators, many of whom are finally announcing their GPRS roll-out plans after delays.
However, Boulloy said Siemens was determined to be among the top three when it came to GPRS phone sales volumes, aiming to be ahead of Ericsson, but behind Nokia and Motorola.
The launch of Siemens' colour, Java-enabled MultiMobile PDA (personal digital assistant) with integrated GPRS phone is significant. Only one other company, Sagem, has developed a similar commercial device. Psion shelved plans for its contender after partner Motorola pulled out of the deal.
Mark Edwards, executive vice president of marketing and sales at Symbian, said his company planned to launch a similar device to the Siemens product later this year.
It will use Symbian's Epoc operating system, rather than the Pocket PC system that the MultiMobile uses. As Psion is the lead partner in the Symbian alliance it could still get access to this particular market as a result.