The Ericsson R380 was launched in year 2000 as a business tool and became the first GSM phone to use the EPOC32 operating system (Release 5). Originally developed for the Psion Series 5 of PDAs, EPOC became the Symbian Operating System.

The use of EPOC gave the R380 features which identified it as a Smartphone combining a mobile phone, personal organiser, WAP browser, email and SMS messaging and secure access.

The R380 has adopted a flip design which is allows it to easily accommodate the two basic modes of operation namely, a conventional phone and a Smartphone. Fully opening the phone reveals a 120 x 360 pixel (28 x 83mm) touch screen to support the Smartphone functions which are viewed with the phone orientated in landscape mode.

When closed, two thirds of the screen is obscured by the phone’s keypad giving it a more conventional look and feel. These two distinct functions were provided by two separate processors, a GSM processor and an ARM processor and the phone had 1.2MB of memory.

When using the Smartphone functions, text entry could be achieved using either a QWERTY keyboard displayed on the touch sensitive screen or by a handwriting recognition application. The contacts application stored names, numbers, postal and email addresses.

The R380 could connect to other mobiles using an Infrared port or to computers via a serial port. Software was provided to allow the R380 to be synchronised with your PC. Internet access was provided by the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) operating over a GSM data service.

In addition, the R380 provided a calendar function with to do lists and appointments, a notepad application, a 10 digit calculator, a clock and one strategy game.

The magazine ‘Popular Science’ appointed the Ericsson R380 Smartphone to one of the most important advances in science and technology.

The Key Functions:

Large Touchscreen

The flip allowed one of the largest screens at the time to be used on a mobile phone, without compromising the size of the handset. Whilst this was a resistive type screen – no gesture based movements here – the extra space meant proper PDA functions such as organizers were possible on the handset, unlike other phones which had mere lines to work on.


This was a phone geared towards business. With WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) as standard, users were able to access the internet, for basic information such as traffic, or to browse wireless-enabled sites. There was a dedicated email client, and this was far more suitable for those who needed to reply to emails on the move, rather than just to read them.


Clearly with the larger screen a better OS was necessary for the phone, and the Psion-based EPOC which was derived from personal organizers came to the phone. The key element of this for Ericsson is that the menus became graphically richer, with more space to use. This system would eventually form the basis for the Symbian handsets which were to be used all over the world.


Aside from this, the specifications of the phone were still pretty basic. It retained the same connectors and inputs as the original T28/T10 handsets for greater commonality. Names and numbers were still restricted to 99, and the Ericsson R380 had no speaker functions and just had monophonic ringtones.

Ericsson Press Releases

Ericsson unveils mobile phone equipped for communication and organization

Thursday, March 18, 1999

Ericsson unveiled today the Ericsson R380, a small-sized dual band mobile phone with in-built PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) functionality. The R380 is based on the EPOC operating system and features all required communications tools as well as calendar, in-built modem and a full graphic display with touch screen. The Ericsson R380 is based on new technology and design platforms and is one of two WAP-enabled and EPOC-based products that Ericsson unveils at CeBIT, the other being the mobile companion MC218.

The R380 has the size of an ordinary mobile phone, with the keypad placed on the flip. Simply open it and the mobile phone turns into a communication and organisation tool filled with useful applications. When using the phone in this mode the large landscape display gives the user the opportunity to read and write notes and e-mail, and check the calendar and address book in an efficient way. The R380 is the second phone in Ericsson’s R-class, high performance products packed with features and new capabilities.

In R380, telephony, e-mail, fax and SMS will give the user all the required communication tools. In-built modem and infrared communication possibilities makes the R380 a complete communications device. On top of that the R380 has an address book, a calendar, a voice note recorder, a notepad and other personal organisation tools. The R380 features hand writing recognition, voice dialling and voice answering. Synchronisation of user information between R380 and a PC will be supported. To access information R380 will support Internet WML browser (WAP).

“R380 is first and foremost a mobile phone. We think that the form factor is essential for products in this category. By using a large display and focus on the user interface, we have made it possible to handle a lot of functionality within a device that is no bigger than an ordinary mobile phone,” said Jan Ahrenbring, Vice President Marketing and Communications at Ericsson Mobile Communications.

To  access  information  from  the  Internet,  R380  supports  WAP  (Wireless Application Protocol). Developed specifically for mobile use the Mobile Internet service (based on WAP) is a unique function offering quicker access to the Internet.

The Ericsson R380 is equipped with the EPOC operating system. Developed by Symbian, especially for wireless information devices, this operating system is easier to operate, less power consuming, faster, and more versatile than others. EPOC offers the user a fully featured suite of personal information management as well as productivity and communication applications.

Based on a new platform, the R380’s components draw less current and thereby ensure work times, which will fulfil requirements from active users. Batteries are made from lithium ion. Ericsson has developed an all-new series of accessories, which form an intelligent communications concept together with the phone.

R380 features include:
• GSM 900/1800 dual band
• In-built modem
• EPOC operating system
• Flip with keys
• Large display
• Touch screen with back light
• Infrared communication
• Size as a mobile phone
• Address book
• Calendar
• E-mail and SMS
• WAP browser
• Voice notes
• Notepad
• Speaker phone
• Calculator
• Alarm clock
• PC synchronisation
• Ericsson Mobile Internet

The Ericsson R380 will be available in volume early 2000.