Samsung/ Bang & Olufsen launch the Serenata

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We first starting hearing last month about a smartphone being launched by a partnership with Samsung and adio king Bang & Olufsen through a viral web site that teased more than providing any real information.  Reader Paul Shadwell let me know this morning that the web site is now divvying up the goods on this great looking new phone, the Serenata.  Take a look at this baby:


The specs are pretty impressive with an emphasis on 3G, wireless access, PIM synchronization and of course, music playing:


The intriguing part of the Serenata is the lack of a keypad of any type, instead all entries are apparently made via a wheel on the front:


The inclusion of an integrated stand is designed to make conference calls easier with the Serenata:


Heck, just go see it for yourself, it’s one of the most entertaining product web sites I’ve seen in a while.  There’s music so it may not be SFW.

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The Serenata is indeed an interesting item. Unfortunately, as a phone it’s not very good – WAP browser, no touchscreen, SMS is painful with the input type available, no camera, etc. However, as the B&O folks say themselves, it was designed as a portable music system first and foremost. To that end, they put a lot of effort into making it a quality portable music device with the added benefit of small speakers which do not distort at higher volumes like every other speaker this small does. The trick seems to be the use of built-in EQ to adjust the music playback so as not to exceed the speaker’s frequency limitations and thus prevent distortion.

B&O users have a site where a Serenata has undergone some early reviews by folks who have a unit on loan following the press event for the Serenata unveiling. You can find reviews from 3 different users here:

What’s interesting is how B&O’s relationship with Samsung both for their previous cell phone (the Serene) and this one have resulted in Samsung getting technology back from B&O. Samsung has released several of their handsets with B&O ICEpower amps built-in. This may have been taken a step further with the announcement of their soon to be available SGH-i450 phone. That device not only has an ICEpower amp, but also a slide-up speaker that bears a very striking similarity to the Serenata design.

We don’t know yet how well that phone’s speaker performs, but if it’s similar or close to that of the Serenata, it would serve as a less expensive alternative that also happens to be a much better phone (touchscreen, 2MP camera, FM radio, MicroSD storage, standard dialpad, etc). I’d guess that the folks at Beoworld will try to get some side-by-side comparisons of the Seresata and the SGH-i450 once both are officially available.

And by the way, I also think that the Serenata Mobile site is very cool. It has teh kind of sexy appeal that you would expect for a luxury device like this. As a side note, I actually liked the ECM records music on it enough to track down and buy the songs featured. I hadn’t heard of ECM before, but now that I have I’m glad because they have some great artists and albums.


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