RIM’s announcement early this morning reminded me that RIM once worked with Siemens. RIM’s new CEO and President Thorsten Heins, used to be the President of Mobile Phones at Siemens Mobile back in the day. Long time BlackBerry users will remember that RIM once partnered together with Siemens and a few other vendors to create BlackBerry Connect handhelds and one of the first was the Siemens SK65 in 2004. I actually had one of these devices back in the day and it was pretty slick. It offered up the features of BlackBerry OS 3.8 (Email & Calendar sync along with browser if I remember correctly) and was mostly targeted to executives who wanted to try other device brands. It was also the FIRST phone to feature “BlackBerry Built-In” technology and was shortly followed by some Nokia, Palm, and Sony Ericsson products.
I decided to do some digging and it turns out that this BlackBerry Connect licensed Siemens SK65 looks like it was the brainchild of Thorsten Heins. That tells us that Thorsten knows first hand how licensing of BlackBerry products works and why it is better to focus on a vertically integrated offering instead of simply becoming a hardware vendor as he mentioned this morning.
The press releases about the Siemens SK65 have quotes from Thorsten Heins when he used to be at Siemens:
- Thorsten Heins, President of Mobile Phones within Siemens mobile, commented: “The SK65 is an ingenious all-in-one solution for business professionals that need to stay in control and informed wherever they travel. With a full set of messaging features it means you have more flexibility about where and when you work. Additionally, we have designed the SK65 to offer a contemporary, yet timeless design for professionals who expect outstanding quality in looks and performance.” From the launch of the SK65 and the announcement of the SK65.
Its good to see that Thorsten has first hand knowledge of how licensing works especially since the SK65 was a compromise device that never really caught on. I remember having to jump through a ton of hoops to even purchase one in the US. Either way now we know a bit more about Thorsten’s legacy at RIM. Its kind of cool to learn that he was behind the first BlackBerry that did not run on RIM hardware.
Update: automan69 pointed out that there is a demo of the Siemens SK65 on YouTube!