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August 30, 2004

BehindTheMedspeak: Siemens 65 series cellphones can cause hearing damage


How is it possible for a product like this to ever get out on the market?

I mean, the fact that the Siemens SL65 and related cellphones produce a piercingly loud and shrill disconnection melody that automatically goes off when the battery's low can hardly have gone unnoticed during testing.


Now the company says "The melody could possibly start to play loudly and in some extreme cases, this volume could lead to hearing damage."

T-Mobile and Vodaphone removed the affected handsets from their stores last week after the Siemens announcement.

Here's the story as reported by Bloomberg News Saturday.

Siemens Says Cellphone Flaw May Hurt Users and Its Profit

Siemens, the world's fourth-largest maker of mobile phones, said Friday that a software flaw that can create a piercing ring in its newest phone models might hurt earnings in its handset division.

Siemens on Thursday recommended that users of its 65 series handsets disable a disconnection melody that plays when the phones are about to switch off because the battery is low.

The melody, the company said, "could possibly start to play loudly'' and "in some extreme cases, this volume could lead to hearing damage.''

T-Mobile International and the Vodafone Group are among operators that removed the Siemens 65 series handsets from shops in Germany on Thursday after the warning that the excessively loud disconnection melody might cause hearing damage.

The phones affected by the software malfunction include the SL65, which features a sliding dial.

Siemens shipped new software to operators for testing and said the malfunction would be fixed in coming weeks.

The company, which started selling the series this month, was counting on the new phones to help reach a profit at the unit after a $106 million operating loss in the three months through June.

Siemens said Friday that it could not confirm its forecast that the phone unit would post an operating profit in the quarter ending in September.

"It can have an impact on our results,'' Florian Kreutz, a Siemens Mobile spokesman, said in a phone interview.

Service providers are "already testing the software.''

It is too early to estimate the cost of repairs, he said.

T-Mobile and MMO2 said they expected the handsets to be back in their stores in September.

Vodafone, the world's largest cellular operator, removed the 65 series phones from its 1,400 self-managed and franchised shops in Germany on Thursday, said Jens Kürten, a Vodafone spokesman.

Siemens's American depository receipts closed at $68.34, up 2 cents.

August 30, 2004 at 06:01 AM | Permalink


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