American Series 60


So we're in that waiting game again. Nokia has announced two Symbian Series 60 models meant for the American market. The 3230 is ostensibly a "mass market" smart phone and the 6282 is more of a premium model. The latter is the newest smart phone announced from Nokia and comes in different versions for various markets around the world, including the 6680 3G phone with two cameras (the American version will just have one). The nice thing is that both phones have megapixel cameras, EDGE and external memory card slots (among other niceties) so I can't wait for them appear.

Right now if you want to buy a Series 60 phone in the U.S. you have a choice of the 3600 series or the 6620. Both of these phones are in need of a rev - as compared with the other smart phones, or even other non-smart multimedia phones, they're starting to look long in the tooth: A little bulky, a little out of style, and the cameras are only VGA. So these two new phones are going to be a welcome upgrade at your local GSM carrier store.

But the question is "when?" I will never understand the mobile phone cycles and why the carriers take so long to upgrade models that have been announced. I really wonder if there are real reasons - like an actual detectable detrimental effect on their network - or whether it's just horsetrading. If the carriers prove to the manufacturers that they can hold off and launch phones when they want (if at all) they can extract the best price, etc. I suspect this is what's happening. GSM networks have been around for a while - I can't imagine that new phones have that much problem working with existing systems.

So again, when are we going to see these phones? I don't know. The waiting is driving me nuts. There are already reviews of both phones out there and I just saw the 6682 in person the other day. So these phones are made, and ready to go - what's the hold up? I wish I better understood the dynamics of the manufacturer/carrier relationship so I could better guage what was going on. It *seems* like a no brainer that we'd be getting better phones, sooner here in the U.S. Remember, this is the best market in the world to target right now. Americans have more money to spend than most countries, and the mobile penetration is only around 65-70% of the population (as opposed to 80%, 90%, 100% or more in other countries). That means this is a very lucrative market for the manufacturers to target and for carriers it means tons more room to grow. So why the hell aren't these phones getting launched?

Questions in my mind: Who are going to carry these phones: T-Mobile, Cingular or both? When will these phones be in stores? Will they be heavily subsidized (i.e. do the carriers *really* want these phones being sold or not?) Will they be promoted up front next to the Motos and the Samsungs, or shoved in back next to the Treos. Will the word "smart phone" be applied to the phones, or will the 3230 for example, be labeled just as a "camera phone." What's going on?

I also have to wonder why we have yet to see a CDMA version of the Series 60. Here in the U.S. that's half the market which Nokia (or other manufacturers) are missing out on. Actuallly, saying that, I have to wonder where the hell the *other* Series 60 manufactuers are in the U.S. market as well. Where is the Panasonic X700 or the Sendos or the Siemens? Again, this is the market to target, so where the hell are the phones?

It seems very strange. I hope we start seeing some movement soon. Not just announcements, I want to see phones in stores. I wonder if the American Market is ready for a CarPhone Warehouse style shop now? Those sorts of direct-to-consumer stores are all over Europe. I wonder if the U.S. mobile market is mature to support that sort of store now? It seems like it could be. I know more and more people who are ordering phones online, or from overseas shops now - this could be a hint of a greater demand than the American Carriers are willing to admit to (out of fear of losing their monopoly).


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