Sunday, October 7, 2007

Korean Companies Challenging The iPhone

Here are Korea's answers to Apple's iPhone.

LG’s Voyager (LG-VX10000, left); LG’s Venus (LG-VX8800, center); and Samsung’s Juke phone./ Newsis

They seem cool and, sure, they'll sell. LG's Chocolate sold over 3.4 million units in the last year.

But I see it as copying and reacting rather than innovation. However, in all fairness, that's how the Japanese took over various technologies. They innovated on technology they got from the West. At least, unlike the iPhone, the Voyager and Venus have keyboards.

Still, what would have been really cool would be to see a second generation Chocolate phone released that could take on the iPhone. Maybe that's in the pipeline.

My cell phone carrier here is LG Telecom, and it's time for me to get a new cell phone. For sure, I'll check out the Voyager because the iPhone isn't set to come to Korea anytime soon. However, right now I'm partial to the glittery Cyon model that is out and my last two phones here have been made by Cyon. They both suffered many drops but still gave me loyal service. Plus, I got my current phone pimped out, so I'm the target market for the Cyon crystal.

Anyway, these phones will be available in the US with Verizon and not AT&T. However, remember there is now a hack to use the iPhone on Verizon too, so we'll see how well these do up against the iPhone.
Korean Mobile Makers Step Up iPhone Attack

LG Electronics and Samsung Electronics will confront Apple in a Christmas battle to take down the iPhone, the "blue chip" phone in the U.S. Verizon, one of the leading U.S. mobile operators, on Wednesday unveiled three new mobile phones to compete with the iPhone, which is available only through Verizon's rival AT&T.

Verizon has the biggest subscriber base in the eastern U.S. Among Verizon's new products, the Voyager from LG Electronics has a touchscreen display as wide as that of the iPhone. And the Voyager uses a wireless Internet service that is faster than the one available for the iPhone. Beside the touchscreen, it also has a flip-open keypad, which is expected to attract iPhone admirers who want a traditional keypad, experts say.

Another LG Electronics phone, the black and pink Venus, also has a touchscreen display with a keypad that slides beneath it. Both Venus and Voyager have 2-megapixel cameras and allow high-speed mobile Internet access for speedy music and movie downloads. Verizon will release the two phones next month.

Verizon's third iPhone competitor is the Juke from Samsung Electronics, an ultra-slim phone that looks like a bar-type but has a swivel keypad. In fact it's among the shortest swivel phones ever launched in the U.S. It doesn't support high-speed wireless Internet, but its high-tech design should appeal to young early adopters. The Juke will go on sale Oct. 19.

Verizon's new phones cost from US$100 to $400, less expensive than the iPhone ($399). It will kill the iPhone," promised Mike Lanman, Verizon's chief marketing officer.

Korea Times: LG Unveils 2nd Generation of Touch-Screen Phones
My other iPhone posts.

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  1. Any idea if the Voyager is supposed to come out here in Korea? I'd pop $400 for it. Maybe. Ok, probably- especially if I get wireless access. I would love to do more moblogging and the T9 that I'm using now certainly slows me down.

  2. I'm sure it will be sold in Korea too. The LG Chocolate phone was being promoted here like gangbusters last year. I'm sure the Voyager will be out soon too.

    I saw an article mentioning it would be sold here but I'm not going to sort through all the articles to find it ;)

  3. You should know that LG announced their Prada Phone several months prior to the announcement of the iPhone... I wouldn't accuse LG of blatantly copying.

  4. I guess you're assuming that I don't know about it. I know about the LG Prada phone. In fact, I was so in love I went to the Prada store at Shinsagae to check it out.

    That, however, is a line of designer based phones and that trend started months ago. Samsung is in the designer phone game too. Cyon is too.

    What I'm saying is the Voyager is essentially a blatant copy of the iPhone with an added keyboard. However, I also went on to say that innovating on something that's already out is one way that Japan caught up to and surpassed the US in electronics. Eventually, they started creating new products and that left the US in the dust. Maybe that will happen here too. They were buzzing about MP3 clothing last year.

    What? I can't state the obvious? Look at the Voyager phone and tell me it's not essentially a blantant copy. I wish them luck with it. In fact, I want to see it when it's realeased here. I do need a new phone, and I shopped to see the Cyon crystal and it's impressive only in the ad campaign. In real life it's not half as pretty. The Prada phone is gorgeous simplicity.

  5. It's not a blatant copy if they came with the design first. You have a tendency to skew things negatively against Korea. Korea came out with internet service on cellphones way before the US.

  6. You're right, it's not a blatant copy if LG came up with the phone design first.

    So are you saying that Apple stole that design?

    I know Korea had Internet phones first. My first phone here was way more primitive than the one I have now, but even then I could send emails and SMS messages from it. That was years ago. The phone I left behind in San Francisco didn't even have Internet service. In fact, the one I had when I went home around 3 years ago didn't have Internet service and my friends just weren't up on how to SMS. I'm not arguing technology. I'm discussing design.

    Are we discussing Internet cell phones or are we discussing the iPhone and Voyager?

    My point is LG they didn't come up with the iPhone and the Voyager phone is a copy of the iPhone.

    I very well might skew things against Korea. I doubt it because I've got positive posts on Korea too. You're just being selective in what you read I think. You can be critical and without being negative. So if you view all criticism as bad, then that's on you.


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