( watching the movie ‘Saving Private Ryan’ while writing this for this is a bloody consequence for much of the local Korean market at the price of your consumers’ pure /joy/ in Terra Technica circa 2010 )

at the end of every passing year I round-up the whole consumer technology scene within South Korea in one word .
in 2008 it was the NetBook jump-started by Asus and as a result of it in 2009 SSD Solid State Drives .
then now in 2010 it is evidently the SmartPhone, BUT with much more drastic impact on the whole Korean consumer market – so much so that it has changed manufacturers’ key strategy as well as the way consumers live . all-in-all it was an inevitable tidal wave that hit Korean shores – a result NO local conglomerate wanted to happen . it did, for we are living in a true Global Age, where sheer flow of fluid information forbade the old-timers to hold the duck much longer .

case-in-point : it took Apple’s iPhone introduced over 2007 TWO years to squeeze into South Korea in 3GS . thus in 2009 it was a warming-up period for Koreans to get aquainted to the whole Apple system .

until then, it was like Hollywood’s Golden Age for Korean cell phone manufacturers as well as telecommunication companies . Oh My, what good times it was .. unbelieveable such order can exist in a now-developed nation with the latest consumer technology, where its citizen would have had a vast array of choices in hardware (the phone) AND its carrier (in selecting a telecommunications company) . it was a controlled market, because they COULD control it by supposedly agreeing upon a 5 : 3 : 2 market share between SK Telecom, KT Korea Telecom AND the then-LG Telecom, now LGuPlus .

oh the cell phone AND carrier too, but also the content : which was incredibly expensive, that if you had NOT kept tags on it, a child could bankrupt his/her parents in a single month’s usage . for example a whopping W3500 to download OR keep a dozen miniscule photos of idol stars in his/her cell phone .

the ‘contents’ in the then Korean cell phones, where like a Virtual World similar to Network Games, but much smaller and most done in letter and pictures rather than video and actual movement . small companies hired by cell phone manufacturers AND/OR telecommunications companies made them AND ran them . all closed circuitry with paid membership to access AND billed additionally for use by-the-second (talk about double billing !).

it was cool to use Motorola and Sanyo cell phones at the onset of mobile phones until the late 1990’s but over the Millennium Korean manufactures in SamSung AnyCall Brand AND LG Electronics and even Sky where the ones to use with menus simple AND cute for the new generation of young buyers .

all-the-while, neighboring Japan had a different way of using cell phones . more as a mobile PC personal computer in accessing general post-boards to share information – very loose, very spread-out than even Korean post-boards that was PC-based, NOT mobile . in South Korea, it was messaging that was on the run, with newly invented way of inputting simple Korean characters .


by Fall 2010 everyone was ready in South Korea like the Normandy invasion .
tested with iPhone 3GS from 2009, all knew you had to get iPhone 4 .

one that added the spice was Apple’s another wonder in iPad, which didn’t officially land on Korean shores until AFTER iPhone 4 .
thus the Summer of 2010 saw a whole market of snuggling in one or more, so much so that the Korean government had to outlaw it ! (which loosened over time) the importing of more than a single iPad for personal use was illegal, duh – huh ???

Korean cyberspace is like a corner cafe in Paris, where everyone gets together to talk about everything .
and talk they did over the Summer about iPad use whose friend’s cousin brought over from the States .
and soon the most talked-about topic was everything Apple including their Operating System .

and as the wait lingered some took onto the taste of Android HTC Google Nexus One which hit the awaiting niche market in Summer 2010 .


ofcourse the one that sneaked in, was another Apple’s MacBook Air, unseen over everyone’s anicipation for iPhone 4 AND iPad .
up until now the scattered Apple-contracted Stores where barren, but people filled-in, as well as contracted store-chains increased in numbers as well as wider space (although NOT close to the cubic wonders in major metropolis abroad).
and what would have been the whole country’s turn-over onto Apple from IBM-compatible PC’s
FOUR mighty pillars still make this impossible ..

  1. on-Line banking is ONLY fully possible on ActiveX based Microsoft internet Explorer . yes 1) Apple has two ways around it by adding software OR rebooting and yes 2) more banks are /trying/ to open up, but is now only limited to a handful end of 2010,
  2. the Korean Penninsula is a small stack of land with massive population and since ages, families have been trying to get their children to study and study, to shine among others in winning a better life . (one governmental effort on this in post-Olympic Republic of Korea is to get an exodus of foreigners to teach English – and now you know why you are here in such incredible terms) this continues long after the Korean War and ‘internet lessons’ is widely possible on Microsoft Media Player embedded in Windows OS .
  3. Apple used to be way too expensive for the general public outside graphic designers . although this has changed, with dough to buy the latest (but still compromised in power) MacBook Air one can buy the latest state-of-the art IBM-compatible laptop or notebook with power exceeding his/her desktop PC with Hard Disk space to /almost/ match .
  4. initially it is the slim and sleek “looks” of the Apple that gets you popular and this has much effect on a generation of idolized pop stars (which was the leading wave to buy SamSung AnyCall cell phones over the Millennium), but you realize it only gets you so far, AND the fact that you have to deal with 1,2 and 3 above . in the end, “synchronizing” with the likes of iTunes is NOT in the Korean psyche – however modernized version you aim at . much of the glory of a technically advanced nation today was born of rather-poor youngsters assembling second-hand used peripherals together and most still opt to transfer files manually, even WiFi or Wi-Fi at that .


while all this is unfolding : Android phones AND all sorts of iPad wanna-be’s including SamSung’s try on Galaxy saturates the market, but only the older, most general public used to the ol’ways are adopting it to stay in their safest zone -_-
for Apple products are sapped-up by younger consumers for its trendy popularity
a start difference come in SamSung Electronics stashing incredible money into ‘marketing’ its mobile products .

thus as the year 2010 closes, the SmartPhone is here, with KT Korea Telecom rising as the leader .
but already the formerly-ruling SK Telecom is contemplating a come-back with lucrative data subscription rates .
and THAT is a very good thing 😉

one small addition this year would be that some larger companies may have tried to manipulate sales AND/OR popularity rankings on Korean price comparison sites .. for some were up there long enough which shouldn’t have, in any sensible logic . ofcourse different ranking sites use a combination of different ways to measure up sale AND/OR popularity, so it may have been even unethical hacking – to hiring part-time ‘clickers’ for their own sales pages .

( am going to watch the movie ‘Black Hawk Down’ after this, for SmartPhones have swept the Land amid all vain efforts to the contrary of the resiting ol’ long-timers )


– Korea Tech BLog, December 2010 –