Siemens plays catch-up with GPRS phone

The ME45 weighs 99 grams and offers 300 hours of standby time and six hours of talk time. But can it knock Motorola off the top spot?

Siemens demonstrated a new addition to its mobile phone range, the ME45, on Friday at Live2001.

Aimed at the business market, the ME45 is a GPRS-enabled handset. This will allow users to download date from the Internet at a faster rate than is possible with a GSM phone.

The ME45 will only be available in a choice of two shades of grey: "Pebble" and "Safari". It has a seven-line display, and Siemens claims that the phone is resistant to water, dust and sudden impacts.

Since consumer GPRS networks were launched this summer, phone manufacturers have been blamed for a lack of suitable handsets. Motorola is seen as the market leader, as it should have at least four different models available soon. In contrast, Nokia -- which has the greatest share of the global mobile phone sales market -- has been less active.

A spokesman described the ME45 as "a compact device, with a robust but chic design." It weighs 99g, and offers 300 hours of standby time and 6 hours of talk time. According to marketing manager Sue Rowe, "the ME45 meets the needs of consumers both inside and outside the office."

Rather than trying to appeal to the type of phone user who is attracted by brightly coloured cases, Siemens is keen to talk about its functionality. It runs a WAP 1.2 browser, and can be synchronised with Microsoft Outlook. The phone's support for enhanced messaging (EMS) means that users can send and receive pictures, sound effects and animations.

Siemens is refusing to say what price the ME45 will retail at, except that it will be priced for the business market. It should go on sale in the UK in October.

See the Mobile Technology News Section for full coverage.

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