Korean iPhone Launch: Update

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This ain’t gonna be no normal event. There will be a concert on the 28th for 1000 VIPs who will be able to activate and use their new iPhones that day – otherwise, owners must wait till 1 December. And, strangely, that very same group will be able to check out live iPhones on display (in case they don’t care to use their own phones). And, according to iPhoneInKorea, there is a “rich benefit” to top it all off. If I was you and I was in Korea (and I am), I would be excited. A bloody concert!

More after the gap:

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iPhone in Korea – Official launch 28 November

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In light of recent news, my faithless and incessant ripping of the Korean mobile phone marketplace looks distasteful and trite, but hindsight doesn’t sober as much as the exciting/perplexing KT iPhone launch. After numerous delays, Jesus will be delivered to the hands of the pre-order faithful this Saturday, 28 November. If you are in Seoul, you can march down to the Jamsil Gymnasium, attend launch festivities, and get away with a shiny 3G or 3GS. According to The Korea Times, this event is for pre-order customers only, but have no fear, KT’s iPhone can still be ordered online through KT’s ‘handler’.

Plan pricing is available as follows (after the gap):

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iPhone in Korea – Jesus on the 28th?

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Image from iPhoneinKorea blog

While unofficially dubbed ‘next months’s phone’ here in Korea, the iPhone may actually debut next month. Everyone has their doubts as to whether KT will be able to pull their pants up and sell the phone before this year rolls to an end, but according to the JoongAng Daily, the ‘last’ hurdle has been cleared for the coming of our Lord: the Korea Communication Commission have officially approved Apple’s iconic (there is a pun in there too) for sale here.

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SKT: keeping it Hancool – Korean iPhone no go?

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As I mentioned before, neither LG nor Samsung have a clue how to design mobile phones, but the ever fickle SKT are harbouring thoughts of cranking out Android products from either company rather than selling Apple’s iPhone. On the one hand, Android is a very good platform which I respect; it would make little sense for SKT to pass up the business opportunity afforded by the clever OS. But on the other hand, in serving an LG or Samsung Android, the telecom mogul will only further entrench itself in the quagmire of a stodgy Korean-only oligarchy.

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iPhone in Korea – the blog and the message


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TMA has been following iPhone developments in Korea for a number of reasons: most notably because the tallest member of staff lives here, but also because this market is fiercely closed, monopolistic, and undoubtedly, xenophobic. Well, for the poor louts whose iPhone has been castrated and left to sing the high notes of a glorified iPod touch, there is hope, though typcially expensive. iPhone in Korea, a blog dedicated to just that, recently covered the ins and outs of how to register, and use your iPhone on cellular networks in Korea. It isn’t easy, and as with all things foreign, certainly ain’t cheap, but at least it can be done. Again, this news rides on the cusp of the 2-year feinting publicity stunt which Korea’s carriers get off on: the launch of the iPhone.

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Korean Smartphones to accompany iPhone in Korea?

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When the iPhone comes to these shores in November, it will bring a lot of extra baggage with it. In truth, it is only one of a handful of smart phones which will debut in Korea – a category of phones that may have trouble taking off. Obvious restrictions on data, packages, and other general internet tom-foolery have kept such devices at a wary distance from the tech-savvy nation, but all of that may soon change – in fact, it must.

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The iClone Wars – LG’s last hope

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Recently, I had the opportunity to see what LG were up to in the mobile phone arena. It was a small event — just a survey — where LG ran slides and concepts by a group of 12 hungry techies and asked for feedback which took the form of a ~35-page evaluation booklet. The electronics giant is planning to release a hi-tech touch-screen phone which ostensibly could come to market in 1-2 years. As the number 3 mobile phone manufacturer in the world, LG have made more cheap plastic phones than Ford made cheap, black, metal cars. But, unlike Ford, whose innovation was the industrious factory line which brought the automobile to the masses, LG already have mastered the art of cheap and tasteless. Their next phone will seek to tackle a new concern: usability and viability in the world marketplace.

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iPhone VS Goliath in Stagnant Korean Market

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Government-propagated, monopoly-driven, and ignorant of outside technology, South Korea’s mobile business is stagnant. It has suffered the lumbering steps of its giants: LG and Samsung, who bake bread, run hotels, and make German look-alikes cars better than any electronic company in the world. Finally in 2009, the market opened to foreign manufacturers in 2009 and by November, KT are expected to ship the iPhone and other smart-phones to eager customers.

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iPhone in Korea: KT and SKT dangle the smartphone in front of hungry customers

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Image Courtesy of telecomskorea

The Korean market isn’t new to corporate promises that the iPhone will appear on its shores. Since the 3G’s 2008 American introduction – a product launch which, along with the App Store, gave Apple’s phone new legs, promises of the phone’s introduction have come in well-timed spurts which are never accompanied by product. The lastest, again from Korea’s largest carrier, KT, suggests that it will supply Apple’s handset -a promise which SK (the nation’s 2nd largest carrier) are also staking. Several hardware hurdles which have held foreign manufacturers from the market have been removed, but still, successfully establishing a niche in what has until now, been a handset dictatorship, is difficult.

That may just be the problem – the dictator has become the prime minister. Samsung pretty much owns the country and is looking for a bigger piece all the time. Theme parks, grocery stores, car parks, life insurance, skyscrapers, mobile carriers, etc.; without Samsung, which accounts for 20% of Korea’s export market, the country would cease to operate.

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