Saturday, July 28, 2012

A breakdown of Samsung Electronics record profits

As widely reported in the press, including an article in the Korea Joongang Daily, Samsung Electronics achieved record profits in the second quarter of 2012, driven by, but not limited to, sales of its Galaxy smart phone series.  The graphic (click to see a full size version) contained in the Joongang Daily article is very revealing, showing Samsung's broad strengths in the technologies that underlie the information revolution--semiconductors, displays, consumer electronics and IT devices including mobile.

North Korean flag mistake at London Olympics and misperceptions of Korea

I must confess that I was only slightly surprised to learn that the North Korean women's soccer game against Colombia had been delayed because of the mistaken display of South Korea's flag on a big screen in the stadium which was used to introduce North Korea's players.  Reuters and other major media published a photo illustrating the problem (click on the photo to see a full-size version).  The reason I was only mildly surprised is that public misperceptions of Korea are rather widespread around the world, especially in the West.  I'm sure that survey data would show quite a large number of people  are unaware of the difference between North and South Korea, or even that Korea is divided.  Readers may be interested in my earlier posts on the topic of Korea's national image (e.g. here,)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Korea leads the world in wireless broadband use

The OECD has just updated the data in its Broadband Portal, and on one of the measures, "wireless broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants," South Korea leads the world.  In a sense, this is not surprising since Korea made a bold decision in the early 1990s to adopt CDMA technology as its mobile communications standard.  In the ensuing years it became the first nation to commercialize CDMA and by the turn of the millenium virtually all Koreans were using 3G CDMA-based mobile phones, capable of accessing the internet and data services.  However, things change and today South Korea is leading the world in implementation and use of LTE networks and the number of people using LTE phones is rapidly rising.   As shown by the accompanying graphic (click to see a full size version) the OECD data show that Korea has become the first nation in the world where wireless broadband subscriptions exceed 100 percent of the population.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Apple vs Samsung: A British judge with a sense of humor

Apple's aggressive legal battle against Samsung, claiming in courts around the world that the Galaxy Tab was a copy of Apple's iPad has taken an interesting turn.   A British court has ruled that Samsung did not infringe upon Apple's patent rights, partly because the design of its tablets was "not as cool" as that of the Apple iPad.  My first thought when I read this in several media reports was something to the effect that you have to appreciate the British sense of humor! The entire legal ruling, by the England and Wales High Court, is available online, and the reference to coolness comes in the 190th paragraph of that ruling.
Moreover, when Apple released a public statement following the judge's initial ruling, he issued another ruling ordering that Apple take out ads in British newspapers and magazines, stating that Samsung did not copy its iPad.    Of course, this may not happen because it will be appealed by Apple.   This will be a saga to follow because, if nothing else, it illustrates some of the contemporay excesses of high tech patent law!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mobile market takes off in South Korea

As reported in the Korea Joongang Daily today, the mobile market here is taking off.  However, the headlines are a bit misleading, suggesting that "Smartphones evolve into niche industries."  In reality, we are witnessing a far broader and more fundamental mobile revolution, predicted by McGuire's Law, the so-called "law of mobility" which states that "the value of any product or service increases with its mobility."  In the current transformation here in Korea, and around the globe, broadband internet is going mobile.  As shown in the accompanying graphic (click to see a full size version) the number of smartphone users in Korea is expected to grow to 34.8 million people by year's end.  As the number of users grows, so does the mobile advertising market.  Also, as reported in a separate article, a survey by the Korea Communications Commission showed that 47 percent of smartphone users said they now regularly shop using their mobile phones.