The Serene was the result of a cooperation between Samsung Electronics and Bang & Olufsen. The companies described it as “a unique mobile phone concept that breaks with conventional assumptions.”
The name Serene was derived from Samsung’s desire for the phone to be of “the highest quality” and reflected the goals of it offering “elegant simplicity and refined minimalism.” It was also designed to compete with Nokia's premium devices, such as the Nokia 8800
Samsung and Bang & Olufsen stated that they were “dedicated to one prime purpose: to enable comfortable and convenient communication.”
Although the phone was released in October 2005, Samsung and Bang & Olufsen had been cooperating since early 2004 on the project to create “a truly unique product” which blended the “relationship between form and function" to make "both the minimalistic design and the use of the phone elegantly simple and straightforward.” The two companies stated that they saw “an opportunity to realise a totally different mobile phone concept.”
The Serene was a clamshell design featuring an aluminium hinge. The display and microphone were in the “lower shell” and the circular keyboard and loudspeaker werein the “upper shell”. There was a thumb-operated wheel (similar to Apple's iconic iPod) in the middle of the circular keyboard, allowing users to navigate the menu.
The Serene also had a high quality triangular charger/docking station made of polished anodised aluminium with a cut-out for the phone. When the phone was placed in the docking station or was used in a table mode it could be “used as a mini-laptop” as the display could rotate 180 degrees making it convenient use in this position.
An additional, special feature for Bang & Olufsen customers was a DECT docking station that allowed the Serene to synchronise its phonebook with the domestic cordless phones made by Bang & Olufsen.
The Serene was initially launched in Europe, Russia and Ukraine in the fourth quarter of 2005. It was distributed through Bang & Olufsen stores and through selected high-end Samsung distribution partners. In Bang & Olufsen stores it cost approximately 1100 Euros (which included the special Bang & Olufsen DECT accessory) and in Samsung retailer partner outlets it cost approximately 1000 Euros without the DECT accessory. This was an eye-watering price at the time and ensured that the Serene was an extremely premium device that sold in relatively small volumes.