Today, Western Europe is not associated with anything cheap, but it was the German business phone Siemens in 2001 became what today is called a “turnaround leader”, was an alien from the future in comparison with the primitive calling of those years, and has become an icon of mobile enthusiasts during his lifetime.

The era of transition from “pipe” to “mobile”

With a height of 2019 for us already, “Sho pan sho Mozart — all is one”, and the difference between a squeaky mono phones with black-and-white displays no. As it was, was huge — so much so that young people and older people understood the functions of the phone better than today’s “Millennials” understand the Android. This does not mean that every first released in shaggy years, the telephone was a masterpiece — on the contrary, the “fillers” in those years was enough. But those cell phones that differed from the gray mass, legendary to this day. Siemens SL45 was just such.

So, in 2001 on the streets of the machines play a then new song, “My heart stopped, my heart stopped and the Sky will drop the night on the palm, not gonna get us!”, “Pearl Harbor” and “fast and furious” mind-blowing to fans of the movie, and in computer clubs queues to a thick CRT monitor (LCD was a fantasy reality, which nobody has seen in person) run unusually cool Grand Theft Auto 3 on the Pentium 3.

And what about cell phones? They were no longer a rarity — the people who walked down the street and spoke to to your ear with your hand, no not to look schizophrenic. But a major appliances telephones haven’t considered. If you want to understand what was a typical “mobile phone” of the era, take a look at released in 2001 Nokia 3310 — all the main advantages of this fit in “finally, with no protruding antenna,” “may call, can not call,” and “and yet she has a snake!” (on a monochrome screen). Therefore, to access the Internet, people went to the computer, listened to music on a cassette or CD players (mp3 players with flash memory even on a 64/128 MB was wildly expensive), and took pictures of each other on instant “Polaroids” or not instant soap dish Kodak, then to run to a shop for film development.

The choice between “cheap and without functions” and “expensive, and it makes no sense”

In 2000-2001 was not a problem to buy a phone for calls, because the heyday of “dialers” fell on this period. For those who were looking for something cheap, compact and pleasing to the eye, to call, was gluconate and with a sound like from the barrel, but the penny Alcatel One Touch 310. Those who nerves were more expensive than external glamour “wore” b/Ericsson A1018 and other Nokia 3210 — in these phones are not even vibrate, and they bad been friends with the Cyrillic alphabet, but nobody in those years did not care.

Rich guys laid out 500-600 euros and got… Nokia 6310 with the same monochrome screen, but with a bigger battery. What was the meaning to pay, if this mandula looked the same as Nokia 3310 for 180 euros? The possibility of Internet access and built-in Bluetooth (not for music Nokia 6310 is not supported even by the wire, and strictly for talking on headsets, which then very quickly discharged), and even the IR port to access the Internet via a PC wirelessly. And… No one even thought about any kind of games, normal implementation to upload ringtones etc Nokia just “chopped cabbage”, because he considered himself chosen by God, as it does now Apple, for 500 euros is nothing extraordinary in 2001 not offered.

Truly functional mobile phones in 2001 was worth $800-1000. Such amounts and today many strain, and 18 years ago 100% of buyers in Russia was sure that “the fucking cell phone has no right to cost so much!” — so pathetic smartphone Motorola Accompli A6188 in Russia is just not brought, and cosmically cool Nokia 7650 (Symbian-powered smartphone ahead of his time), though appeared in November 2001 in Finland was released in the summer of 2002, and came to Russia only to fall.

Samsung in those years was still making phones and were something in the spirit of the little-known “Chinese” today. Sony with their famous scroll wheel on the left side were an expensive exotic “cut for boys”, Panasonic has just designed your toy sizes GD55, and until then released inadequately expensive (because of the “Japanese quality”) phones with almost no features.

Therefore, this “bezrybe” the ultimate desires of the buyer of a mobile phone in 2001 was the Ericsson T68m, Siemens SL45. Erickson was fascinated buyers with its color screen, but it turned out that the customers love the ears — so for a long time the cult was the Siemens SL45, which was the first ever phone to listen to music.

The music on the phone in the 2000s — employment difficult and responsible

Now Teens under my Windows turn on the music choice with stupid texts through a Bluetooth speaker and do not even suspect, how difficult was it to listen to MP3s in the phone, which is the age any of these lovers of Russian rap.

But first a digression. Because Siemens SL45, contrary to legend, was the first mobile audio player. The first was the Samsung SPH-M100, which was released in 2000 — it had 64 MB of memory (memory cards are not supported) and the flagship, at that time, functionality. But nobody cares, because this model worked only in CDMA networks, this means that in our (and European too) the edges did not catch the network, even in theory, Russian language is not supported and in General was not interesting to anyone, like any other Samsung before the release of the model C100. And even after Samsung has released other mobile phones support MP3… which, however, was less than 10 MB of memory, which the phone was placed on the strength of songs 1.2, and the use of support realistic music was zero.

And Siemens SL45 were sold on every corner and, what especially pleased the workers, was allowed to slap the memory card, if any, at the time of the volume. You cannot imagine what it was free — not listen to the beeper of slapdash, cobbled together instrumental ringtones and full music. Not using Sizzling cassette players with resets and reverses, not through expensive CD players with the diameter of the plate, and right from your mobile phone! You need to live in a world where normal music is either in cars, or in apartments/homes to understand how it is good to have the music player always with you. It’s well worth it — I’m not just talking about the price of the phone ($450 at the start of sales, even with the price reduction to $280-300 a year after release), but also about the hardships-hardships that have been associated with audition. And it was a lot.

Complete with Siemens SL45/SL45i I finally got a memory card of 32 megabytes. This was enough for 7 songs as “a little better than on the tapes” — 128 kbps Built-in memory, the mobile phone was so small that it is nowhere indicated.

Siemens SL45 connected to the computer not to a USB and COM port and was determined not as a stick. And this filthy port transmission speed was such that one song in MP3 in the same quality 128 kbps needed to fill 20 minutes. Another song — another 20 minutes.

If you suddenly threw on Siemens SL45 song is not in constant bitrate (128/192/256/230 kbps) and variable (jumping), with almost 100% probability, when the phone on her stumble, he plaintive squeak, and hangs/shuts down.

SL45 did not work without a SIM card (enthusiasts I have to flash it to work, but that few people did), to transfer songs to it it was necessary with the inserted SIM in an enabled state.

If you 19 minutes in a row passed one poor song, and then someone called it a fiasco — start to pass first. So it was easier to spit, to purchase a card reader and remove the memory card to record to it directly than doing it through the phone.

Memory card 64 MB in 2001 was worth $180 (5400 rubles at the exchange rate of those years) is more than the average salary in the regions, among other things.

It was an amazing time when every manufacturer was city several standards for connecting headphones to mobile phones, so originally with Siemens SL45, you can only use the proprietary headset. To use standard headphones from the players, it was necessary to find the cable from the charger the right way, tear it, and then solder DIY adapter.

Listen MP3 very strained low-power processor old phone, so autonomy in this mode is enough for 2-2.5 hours. With unoriginal battery 1000 mAh (versus standard 540 mAh) — 5-5.5 hours. The only trouble is that in unoriginal accum in those years no one knew to insert smart controllers. Therefore, if “basement” battery is fully charged and you did not remove the phone to charge it (the battery) could bloat, “weird” and pour your flagship phone with a hot electrolyte. Amen.

MP3 you could listen only in the headphones — from the speaker Handsfree Siemens SL45 only played mono tweeter level console “electronics” (in which the wolf catches eggs). But they, unlike most cell phones that could download to the SD card in almost unlimited quantities — it was only necessary to find the files.mid is for monophonic phones. In 2001, almost all mobiles were like that, but after 2-3 years all ringtones “sharpened” under the polyphony.

The ID3 tags were not supported. That is, instead of artist, song title, album and year of release you see the name of the file. At the beginning of the two thousandth’s name was often like a “game issues and I can not continue” or “”.

Memory cards in those years were mostly junk, and the phone firmware was working with memory cards using “remote places”. So at one point, Siemens SL45 can give you the “card Error!” and something to stop her reading. Sometimes this meant that the memory card is “dead”, sometimes it was just a glitch of the phone — it was necessary to pump all of the files from the memory card to computer, format the SD card to transfer files back. And even it did not always work — there have been cases when Siemens began just allergic to quite working and good memory card.

Now, when the “bugs” in the phones happen only after upgrading Android, no one believes that the phone can show character without any new firmware. But the Siemens it was a signature trait for which the “seed” set fans of Nokia and SonyEricsson. In response, the owners of the Siemens poked Nokia-fans noses in the fact that comparable in steepness of the Finnish mobile phone in 1.5-2 times more expensive. But the opinion of fans of “Shirikov” just did not take into account, because they have a reasonable priced mobile phones with MP3 support appeared only in 2004 (SonyEricsson K300i/K500i etc.).

Why Siemens SL45 endured all this tedious fuss with downloading music? Because all other competitors were either monaural. the (inexpensive) or polyphonic (expensive). Or lay out 2-3 prices Siemens SL45 for communicators/smartphones with support for MP3 in 2001-2002

But one single function, whether it is as much as necessary cool, not “pulled” would be a flagship for Siemens. Bought it because it was good in many things:

Real Colonel

First, the SL45 was a little dated, but surprisingly cool design. If the fetishists, who demanded “metaaal!” in the body of the cell phones that were “lyuminievye” Nokia 8890 for a crazy price, or beautiful, but expensive de facto deficient and functionally with the rotator Motorola V70, Siemens offered expensive materials and content a decent phone for less than $500. It is also very compact, even with the sticking out antenna — 105x46x17 129х47х19 mm vs mm Nokia 6310, for example. SonyEricsson T68m was even smaller, but catch the network worse (because there was no external antenna) and memory card, it was not slapped. Yes, Nokia was a bigger battery, but Siemens with its 540 mAh, if not to twist it MP3, it worked quite on the level of competition with 650-700 mAh.

Second, even the starting $500 was compensated by picking from the memory card to 32 MB with docking station and stereo headset is usually included with the phones were only manual and if you’re lucky, the lace in order to wear the phone around your neck.

Thirdly, when Siemens SL45 (model 2000) reached Russia in 2001, he did it not himself, and in company with Siemens SL42 (same as SL45 but without the docking station and the headset, but with the memory card 16 MB instead of 32 MB, and cheaper) and SL45i (old SL45 with a slightly larger battery and the new firmware with support for Java applications and games). Needless to say, any service for a nominal fee could reflash your SL45 and SL42 to SL45i, but thanks to a younger version of the German flagship quickly became cheaper, and soon cost a penny in comparison with competitors?

Fourth, SL45, as befits a flagship, was very feature-rich and sophisticated mobile phone. A separate button to start the voice recorder and MP3 player on the case and today would be the very topic of push-button phones. The button of the voice recorder during a call… allowed to record the conversation! Isn’t it great?

This also plyusuem cool phonebook with the ability to store up to 4 phone numbers for one contact (that was rare), and then transfer them via infrared port (in order not to suffer from restrictions on capacity and length of the names in the SIM card memory when you transfer rooms). Profiles (call, call and vibration, vibration only, no sound) that some phones did not exist — had to put their hands in setting all the rules. And Siemens even then, you can adjust the volume for notifications separately from the ringer volume, for example.

And on Siemens SL45, phone the 2000 model year, it was possible to play videos! Without sound, black and white and pre-adapted, but competitors often even GIF could not open!

That sort of pampering like a “change the operator logo on some pathetic phrase, a heart, a Teddy bear or a pistol” also worked perfectly.

Fifth, it was the first “combat” phone enthusiast, ready for any flashing. That support Java games and applications elementary was added IOS the younger models in the senior, I said. But more importantly, damn the darkness games and apps can be put on the memory card, and the limit of the capacity of these memory cards are easily increased by editing the firmware. After the patch Siemens SL45 “pulled” is not 256 MB and 1 GB with no problems — many Nokia to 2004 (when he released the legendary Nokia 6600 and 623) slapped this amount was a lottery — often old Finnish phones or did not see a huge memory card or seen, but with a Gigabyte onboard inhibited so (Nokia 6021) that the owner of the wing mate of everyone involved in the creation of the phone, and then changed the 1 GB to 512 MB from friends, to finally “let go”.

That gave firmware and patches? Well, for example: — the Ability to reprogram keys for quick launch of apps or games off the panic and authorizations “and are you sure that you want to allow this Java programmulina to get into the Internet?” — Advanced file Manager — battery life in percent (exclusive for phones) — Vibrate when an incoming message during a call (Yes, this feature in older phones out of the box was not, perhaps, a ringtone) — Other fonts for the design of the system

Automatic switching to vibrate/no sound when connecting or disconnecting headphones

Different duration of the vibration for SMS/calendar/delivery reports SMS/MMS. Also exclusive, because such delicate matters none in the standard firmware never bothered


Overclocking (!). No, I’m not kidding — in standby mode, you can put a 13 MHz to improve the autonomy, and in the — 26 MHz.

Multi-SIM. All the phones of that era were odnoskatnyj, and tariffs for calls to the “enemy” statement was wildly expensive. Therefore, craftsmen have produced a “pure” SIM, which you could then copy two or three SIM with your numbers. And switch between them from the menu. For example, calling you Fyodor from his Beeline on your MTS, and so Fyodor was shocked by the prices for the call, you drop a call, switch to the phone menu on your MTS on your Beeline, “throw horn” Fede. Fedya happily calls back you had on a Beeline and pay much less. It is now neigh with such orders, and then (18 years ago), the connection cost so much that people pre-planned their speech to fit in 55 seconds and did not pay for the second minute. Difficult were the times.

Automatic change sound modes and backlight levels based on time of day. Even in Android it’s “invented” commercials starting in 2015.

Background playback of recorder. This is not a smartphones, therefore, the mere background work something was a gimmick.

Improvements were many, but you were bored reading this article, so let’s get to the flaws (and there were many):


So, to summarize and add: — SMS with Cyrillic (Russian letters) can be taken, but to send only the Latin alphabet the Name of artist and songs in MP3 not displayed — only the file name is Embarrassingly slow even at the time the downloading of the files on the phone — Bad autonomy the MP3 player. It seems to be not a problem, but remember that before the spread of external batteries (powerbank) had to live for another 10-12 years, and their pathetic 540 mAh Siemens was added in 2-2.5 hours. Periodic glitches in working with the memory card and the “Allergy” of the phone at her for no apparent reason — Disconnect “for no reason” (at night, when you set the alarm and plan to get up in the morning time) — easy. On any firmware, any battery, with unclear circumstances (not blacked out today or tomorrow out). — Not supported GPRS. That is, the Internet is only via CSD is when the phone is not accesses the Internet directly, and dialed the number were connected with him, and the payment was per-minute. Not only that, to you at this time, it was impossible to call, and the Internet was slow — it was also much more expensive than GPRS. Therefore, the owners of “seed” SL45 prefer not to suffer, but simply stated “and he told us not nuzhon, your Internet” when the owners of the SonyEricsson T68 or Nokia were laughing at them. — Slippery. Beauty requires sacrifice, but the metal case was in the hands like soap. The tragedy added that, in contrast to the “Messer” Siemens ME45, this flagship in the fall could die and “become invalid” (to unseen new glitches firmware, to cease to recognize the memory card, etc.) — SonyEricsson T68m at the same price was leaner, fitter, and with a colour screen (albeit the most primitive). But did not support MP3, no memory card, nor Java, nor, especially, patches, firmware.

German order and Chinese permissiveness in one mobile

Do you know why enthusiasts are so long mourned Siemens phones when they started “sinking”, after which they “pomatrosil” BenQ and finished off? Because Siemens was the only manufacturer of phones at a reasonable price with a good mix of “hardware” and “software”. Now they can be compared, perhaps, with Xiaomi and with a stretch, Meizu and Honor. But it’s still not up to the end of a valid comparison.

Fancy phones are not expensive, unlike Nokia, where marketers have paved features on a tea spoon and even in the era of “software-equal to” smart phones did petty meanness that good wasn’t cheap (mono sound in the headphones from Nokia 3230/6670/7610, outdated version of the OS in the Nokia N-Gage, etc.). And the number of “glitches” in fancy phones were not critical, unlike Motorola, to the steep smartphone (MPx 200 remember) without the “file” was scared to approach. Siemens has not released a record heaped on each feature, the phones in each class, but until the release of Siemens x75 series even haters of the brand admitted that “Semeny earn every cent-transformer infinity…”. Much as they can.

Who can compare Siemens SL45 of modern smartphones

Fancy, suitable for any flashing flagship, which quickly depreciates, but out of the competition in terms of price and quality? This, lads, Xiaomi Mi 8 (or even 9 Mi) in his Prime. Or Honor 10, which is also famous as “a lot of smartphone at a reasonable price.”

Xiaomi closer to simensovskih ideology, because after flashing and installing some Camera2 API (advanced automation for work with the camera) it can be made to jump over your head and take pictures better than intended by the manufacturer. Almost the same as the firmware/patches Siemens SL45 in all their diversity.

If the Nokia 3310 has become the benchmark of durability, but the Samsung C100 — reference “colorfully-polyphonic” phone, the Siemens SL45 was the first prophet of the idea of “the phone will use for the music” and being a simple phone, taught people to love smartphones even before their actual appearance in stores.

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