The WDN Symbian DevZone... Siemens Series 60 Developer Support
by Richard Bloor, December 09, 2002
Siemens licensed Nokia’s Series 60 in May 2002 and while they have not yet
launched a Series 60 based phone they have been actively involved with Nokia in
a number of recent Series 60 events and workshops. On November 22nd, Siemens
formally launched their updated developer’s web site that now contains a section
dedicated to Series 60. In this contribution to the Symbian DevZone Richard is talking with Oliver “Oz” Zechlin,
Global Marketing Manager for Application and Services for smart phones, about
Siemens’ developer support and the expansion to include Series 60.
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Siemens Mobile Phones launched their new developer web site
(www.siemens-mobile.com/developer) on November 22nd, followed by a
developer event in Bremen, Germany on December 5th. The new site introduces
new tools and information including Siemens mobile support for Series 60. While
Siemens mobile have not launched their Series 60 phone, they have already been
actively involved in a number of Series 60 events such as the recent one at CTIA.
I spoke to Oliver “Oz” Zechlin, Global Marketing Manager for Application and
Services for smart phones, about the new support services. Oliver has worked for
Siemens for a number of years on products such as their proprietary IC 35
mobile phone companion and more recently the SIMpad before taking on his
current role in Developer Marketing for Siemens Symbian based products. His
responsibilities include the developer web pages, developer events, both joint
events with other Series 60 licensees and exclusively Siemens events and liaison
with Nokia. He also is responsible for scouting out applications and services,
which may be of interest to Siemens; for use in future phones, delivered on a
phone’s in-box CD or promoted through Siemens web sites.
WDN: Siemens have had their own developer site for a while now, could you tell
me a bit about the motivation for the site?
Oz: Siemens Mobile Phones introduced the first J2ME enabled phone, the
ground braking SL45i, in the summer of 2001, which was followed in the spring
of 2002 by the M(T) 50 as our second J2ME offering. In many ways the SL45i, a
luxury segment device, paved the road for the mass-market high-volume M(T) 50
in terms of J2ME support.
Before J2ME hit the market, it was not possible for third party developers to write
applications for mobile phones. So when the opportunity arose, we took action
and the developer program was born.
The program has many advantages for the developer, and for us. For example,
together with our partners we can market innovative and profitable applications
faster, provide customers with services and applications that add value to their
handsets by fully leveraging those partnerships. Overall we have established a
new quality of collaboration with partners by increasing the level of engagement.
Developers can partner with us at four different levels through the portal. The
first level is a Community partner, developers who have registered on the site.
These partners can access the tools and forums and participate at developer
events. We then progress to Advanced where the developer gets access to
distribution channels and additional technical support. The Strategic level is
next with access to worldwide Siemens distribution channels, to the Siemens
extranet, comprehensive technical support services and potentially to Siemens
investments. Finally there are Investment partners who have access to joint
marketing activities such as events and sales promotions.
One major point of interest for developers is the ability to directly connect to our
OTA portal. This enables Advanced partners to generate revenue by uploading
their latest application for testing that then can be later downloaded by our
customers from www.my-siemens.com/city. Business models range from
revenue share to buy out or mixed models depending on the content quality.
WDN: Are there any restrictions on applications that can use this service, for
example is there a formal certification process?
Oz: We are currently looking at whether to formalize the process but at the
moment we are able to handle testing these products internally. Obviously we
expect that the number of applications will grow with the release of our Series 60
phone and if this means we have to out-source testing the applications we may
need to think about a formal, charged system. Clearly even now we check
programs which are effectively being associated with our name, looking at games
for example we make sure that nothing inappropriate manages to sneak in.
These services are available to all of our partners from the Advanced partners
upwards. Additionally we offer our partners server services such as 'highscore
management' that allows games developer to add a facility to store games high
scores on our server so that players can compare themselves with players in their
region or globally through Siemens city. Another important service is the
'payment' server, which allows developers to distribute a game for free, say with
two levels, and then have the customer unlock the rest of the levels OTA, when
the user buys the game. This gives Siemens a definite advantage in the J2ME
revenue arena over our competitors.
The site also has a resource advantage for us. We can channel information, tools
and support to a larger audience of partners and developers. Doing this on a
solely one-to-one basis is almost impossible now because of the sheer numbers.
WDN: With the addition of Series 60 how has the site changed?
Oz: The new Mobile Phones Portal including the Series 60 information is part of
the existing Siemens mobile Partner Program and the sites have all been linked.
That way developers who have been using our services for Java applications can
find the information they have always needed and then easily find out about the
opportunities offered by Series 60. We did however make quite a number of
improvements to our developer forum and the way the user can find information.
We are now updating the site constantly with Series 60 whitepapers, and soon
will provide developers with the necessary Siemens-adapted tools.
WDN: As Nokia already provides a wealth of Series 60 information through their
developer site is Siemens’ site focused mainly on Siemens phones or do you hope
it is going to be of general benefit to all Series 60 developers?
Oz: We are building it to cater to both sides of the Series 60 community. That is
the nice thing about Series 60, most information stays true for every Series 60
phone, regardless of the manufacturer. Of course we also provide more Siemens-
specific information about features unique to our upcoming Series 60 phone.
We want developers to write applications and optimize their code for our Series 60
phones, after all our phones are going to have features that other Series 60
phones won’t have. We also recognize that there are other sites, both vendor sites
and independent sites that provide valuable information on the Series 60. We,
the licensees, all share a common goal of driving the adoption of Series 60, so we
also share common information, but each site has its unique additions.
WDN: For the Series 60 developer what would be the advantage in using your
Oz: That is an easy one! Developers can get Siemens-device-specific information,
get their hands on beta devices and the Siemens Developer Package, can utilize
Siemens-resources such as our server-services, download the latest tools, sign up
to become partners, get answers from Siemens engineers and a whole lot more!
WDN: I noticed that the Developer Package for your existing phones mentions
that it includes an IDE, have Siemens’ got any plans to do a similar thing for the
Series 60 phones.
Oz: There will be a Developer Package for our new phone. With regard to the IDE
we already have an add-on for Borland’s JBuilder mobility tools to facilitated Java
development for our J2ME phones and have developed a good relationship with
Borland over the last couple of years. As you will have seen Borland have
announced that they will be adding Series 60 support to their tools. There are, as
you may be aware, tools also being developed by Metrowerks as part of their
CodeWarrior product line that will also support Series 60 development.
Metrowerks, with whom we also have a long term relationship, is also a
committed partner of Symbian.
Certainly we expect that as the developer services roll out IDE support will be
included for our Series 60 phone.
On a personal note one of the things I would really like to see is a tool similar to
OPL for Series 60, a layman’s integrated tool where you can open a notepad
application and hack in your code. Java and C++ require quite a lot of knowledge
and most people don’t pick this knowledge up casually or easily. Something like
OPL, which can be grasped easily would, I think, be a great addition to the
WDN: Yes, I spoke to someone at Symbian a while back who suggested that they
might think about making OPL open source.
Oz: That would be great, wouldn’t it, I am sure that there would be interest from
the Open Source community in developing something like this and from the wider
development community to use. I hope Symbian has been doing some work on
this and that they are seriously considering this.
(Authors Note - since our discussion it appears that Symbian has indeed started
the process to Open Source OPL and that ports to Series 60 and UIQ seem likely.)
WDN: With regard to the Developer Package are there any criteria that developers
need to fulfill to obtain them?
Oz: Other than the certain restriction on export to some obvious countries any
developer who has registered on our site will be able to purchase the Developer
Package for the Series 60 phone, or any of our phones.
WDN: You have already mentioned some of the services you provide for Java
developers, the High Score and Payment server, are these going to be available to
Series 60 C++ developers as well?
Oz: That will depend on demand; on how many C++ games get developed for the
Series 60. I have spoken to our technical people and they believe it will not be too
difficult to do, but we have made no commitments at present. Obviously these
services will be available to J2ME games developed for the Series 60 phone.
WDN: Is Siemens support for Series 60 going to go beyond the web site, for
example hands on training?
Oz: It is, we just recently had a number of joint Series 60 platform workshops
together with Nokia in Las Vegas and Munich. On December 5th we had a
Siemens-exclusive developer event focusing on J2ME, as well as Series 60. And
remember, Series 60 means not only C++ (native Symbian) development, but
J2ME as well.
WDN: Obviously your phone has not been launched yet and I know that device
manufacturers like yourselves jealously guard launch information. However now
the web site has been relaunched I expect that developers would like to know
when they will be able to start developing applications to take advantage of your
Series 60 phone. Are you able to give any indication of when they might expect to
be able to do that?
Oz: You are right and I am not able to give you any specific information. Our
policy at Siemens is to announce phones close to the time they will be available.
All I can really say is that you can expect to find out more early next year.
Obviously, because it’s a Series 60 phone, developers will easily be able to get
their existing Series 60 applications running on our phone.
WDN: The recent selection by Sendo of Series 60 prompted their previous
supplier to comment that they could not understand why they licensed software
from a company who was effectively a competitor. Siemens are obviously in the
same position, what is your perspective on this apparent paradox?
Oz: Obviously when it comes to Nokia Mobile Phones, who also license Series 60
from Nokia Mobile Software, we do compete against them with Series 60 and
indeed across our whole product range. But this is different from the Series 60
platform; we have a very good relationship with Nokia Mobile Software, I certainly
enjoy working with them as they recognize us as an equal partner driving Series
60 rather than merely a licensee. We all share the common goal of establishing
Series 60 in the market and are all working together to achieve that.
About the WDN Symbian Editor, Richard Bloor:Symbian DevZone Home
Richard Bloor has 16 years experience in the IT industry. His earlier
work was largely in design and development of commercial and
manufacturing systems but more recently has focused on
development and test management of government systems.
Richard Bloor is the Mobile Applications champion at System
Architecture consultancy Equinox of Wellington, New Zealand.
Richard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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