Serene Mobile Telephone

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Manufactured: 2005 - present
Colours: Black

Serene: Released on 6 October 2005 as a combined project between Bang & Olufsen and Samsung.

This new mobile phone utilises a large screen display and an innovative wheel which "breaks all conventions". The mobile phone is pure, simple and of the highest quality, and the name ‘Serene’ reflects this. The idea behind Serene was to create a mobile phone that is dedicated to one prime purpose: to enable comfortable and convenient communication.

A special DECT docking station is available which enables Serene to synchronise its phonebook with the domestic cordless system of telephones from Bang & Olufsen. At the time of purchase Serene is supplied with a desktop charger (also providing the DECT connection) and a travel charger as part of the overall package.

Note: The car charger, which is sold as an additional accessory is not a car kit in that it will charge the telephone only and will not enable the user to make and receive calls from a car. The EarSet 2 is a new Bluetooth EarSet specifically designed for Serene and has a different connection to the standard EarSet 1 mobile products that are available for other mobile telephones.

Press Release 06.10.05

Samsung Electronics and Bang & Olufsen unveil a new mobile phone concept called Serene

A cooperation between Bang & Olufsen and Samsung Electronics’ Mobile Business has resulted in a unique mobile phone concept that breaks with conventional assumptions.

The phone is pure, simple, and of the highest quality, and the name ‘Serene’ reflects this. The idea behind Serene was to create a mobile phone that is dedicated to one prime purpose: to enable comfortable and convenient communication.

Since early 2004, the two companies have cooperated closely to realise this idea and the result is a truly unique product. In every aspect of the design and technology there is a carefully thought through relationship between form and function that makes both the minimalistic design and the use of the phone elegantly simple and straightforward. The name of the phone, Serene, reflects the core concepts of elegant simplicity and refined minimalism. The intention is to provide an alternative for those customers who demand the highest quality, for whom simplicity and quality are important factors, and for whom less can be more. It is a phone you want to keep. It is timeless in use, in design, and in technology, freed from unnecessary functions and instructions.

By combining Bang & Olufsen’s concept development and design skills with Samsung’s leadership in mobile phone technology, engineering and quality, both companies saw an opportunity to realise a totally different mobile phone concept.

“Serene is the result of our vision to constantly push the boundaries of mobile phone development and bring to our customers unique and exciting products”, Serene says Kitae Lee, President of the Telecommunications Business in Samsung Electronics.

We wanted Serene to become a precious item, an item that is a personal expression of quality and convenience. The coherence to other Bang & Olufsen products is experienced through the design and a very simple user operation,” says Torben Ballegaard Sørensen, CEO of Bang & Olufsen.

Serene consists of two equal parts that are tied together by a beautifully crafted aluminium hinge. The display and microphone are placed in the lower shell in a landscape orientation and the circular keyboard and loudspeaker is placed in the upper shell with an elegant thumb operated wheel in the middle taking care of all primary operations.

Accordingly, the colours, fonts, screen format and size have been specially selected with logical operation in mind. The relatively large, wide format display makes reading and writing on the screen even more pleasant. At the same time, restricting the number of features on the handset makes it possible to limit the number of menus, which in turn makes the experience of using Serene both logical and intuitive.

Serene comes with a triangular charger/docking station made in polished anodised aluminium with a cut-out for the phone. If the phone is placed in the docking station or the phone is used in a table mode it can be used as a mini-laptop as the display can turn 180 degrees for convenient use in this position as well.

As a special feature for Bang & Olufsen customers, a special DECT docking station is available which enables Serene to synchronise its phonebook with the domestic cordless system of telephones from Bang & Olufsen. Serene will be launched in Europe, Russia and Ukraine during the 4th quarter of this year. It will be distributed through Bang & Olufsen stores and in select high-end Samsung distribution partners. It will retail in Bang & Olufsen stores for approximately 1100 Euros inclusive of a special Bang & Olufsen DECT accessory and in Samsung retailer partners for approximately 1000 Euros without the DECT accessory.

Ringtones by Estée Lauder

A user review.

The Serene is a phone and nothing else. What a clever idea! It doesn’t try to out-feature all of the other cell phones, that’s for sure. The Serene is a mobile phone that will do what it’s supposed to do and make you feel good too. The Serene absolutely oozes class.

The Serene creates a whole new cellular experience. From start to finish, a class act. Once in hand, a slight nudge will trigger the clamshell motor and you are presented with a clean white backlit circle of keys on the top half and a sharp black and blue display on the bottom. That is of course, if you have the phone oriented the right way! It’s what made this phone famous, screen on the bottom and buttons on the top. As a result the screen does not accumulate as much gunk from your face as the screen is actually held away from the cheek. All by design.

In use, in an area of good coverage, the Serene can handle a great amount of communication. The software is free of clutter and screen changes come quickly. No operating systems to lag behind or freeze up, just good, solid, purpose built programming here. After becoming acquainted with the phone, keystrokes become more obvious when navigating through menus, as most of us are used to soft key labels filling up the corners of conventional phone displays, the Serene is clean and organized. Missed calls and awaiting text messages are discretely made known by its exterior indicator. No overly brightened low-resolution display shining through your trouser pocket here, oh no.

The rotary-esque keypad will take some time to get used to. Stepping back to look at the new arrangement will hopefully reveal some logic. Instead of the present trend of rows, B&O has employed a circle to arrange the Serene's keys. In a way, it makes for very linear use, for both dialling and texting.

Most people will call it a “designer” phone, and you will want to treat it as such. Careful, it’s expensive! The ladies you will undoubtedly show it to will be quick to say how well it resembles a makeup case, which is hard to refute, I mean it does look like a makeup case. Don’t let that “designer” look throw you off, this phone is durable and meant to be used. Even though the body pieces are plastic, they are coated with a soft rubbery finish, which makes for easy clean up. The battery cover doesn’t simply snap on like it would on any other phone, its screwed on and not going anywhere. The hinge base is a bright piece of real aluminium and greatly adds to its sturdiness. A nice final touch is the sliding door that conceals the charging connection, a welcome departure from those flimsy plastic and rubber tabs that are standard on every other phone. The earpiece is placed behind the click wheel and makes for a much sleeker look, which also means one less place for dust and dirt to accumulate. On the bottom half, the microphone is still exposed but very well placed at the left side of the bottom edge to almost balance out the indicator light on the right side.

The Serene is advertised as a tri-band phone, but there isn’t much information on the details regarding this. The Serene operates on the 850MHz, 900MHz and 1900MHz bands. Here is the tricky part; the Serene only operates on the 850 and 900 bands only or the 1900 band only. The U.S. cellular grid seems to limit the Serene to only the 1900 band, the other bands leave the phone without any service. This can be a bit troubling for those who travel outside of the big city frequently and have heavily constructed homes that block cell signals. Once the right frequencies are selected, the correct network will need to be chosen and then you’re off!

Call quality is decent, the recessed speaker behind the click wheel does a respectable job of reproducing voice. When asked, people on the opposite end of the line said that my voice was well isolated and clear. Battery life is also a very strong point with the Serene. It can consistently operate for three days at a time on a full charge with heavy use. This is probably made possible by the combination of its very elemental content, software, and tri-band connection.

The Serene is a great, simple solution for those who want the basics plus a little something that's different. This phone is for those who want to separate themselves from the cellular mass market and I think it’s a great way to do so. The Serene makes communicating fun and enjoyable.

Serene Mobile Telephone Product Specifications

Part number: Desktop charger (additional) 8080013
Travel charger (additional) 8080011
Car charger 8080014
Serene EarSet 1 mobile left 1114795
Serene EarSet 1 mobile right 1114895

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Created: 22nd January 2007
Modified: 22nd September 2010

Author Notes:

My BeoWorld

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