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.


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 site?

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 platform.

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:
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 rbloor@wirelessdevnet.com.

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