중앙데일리

No photos please this phone is shy

Mar 06,2007
Apgujeong Club was turned into a 1960s Mod Club for one day last week for the launch of StarTAC III. Provided by Pressync
In the extremely competitive world of mobile phones, it’s hard to impress jaded consumers, even with cool new designs. If the market happens to be Korea where Samsung and LG rule, non-Korean contenders like Motorola are bound to face a stiff challenge.
For the birth of a new baby, StarTAC III, Motorola Korea wound back the clock to the 1960s. In sync with the theme of retro TV shows, the white search beams at the entrance of their launch party not only lit up the black sky in Apgujeong-dong but also young Koreans roaming around on a festive night before the Independence holiday last week. It was a typical fashion party, with local celebrities posing at the door and over-the-top decor ― except the obscure object of desire was not shoes or swimsuits but a mobile phone.
The stage was set by servers dressed in PVC tent dresses in the manner of Twiggy. The theme continued with lots of disco lights and a performance by Yun Bok-hee, the singer who shocked Koreans by wearing a mini skirt in 1967 on national TV. Oh! And there were some phones, begging the question, “What’s the connection between the ’60s fashion and StarTAC phones?”
“The reference to 1960s fashion is a metaphor,” said Jacklyn Joung-Ah Lim, the director of marketing and strategy at Motorola Korea Inc. “Just as the current fastrend dates back to ’60 Mod, the StarTAC III phone brought back classic elements in a new package. People remember the first StarTAC as a status symbol.”
Back in those days, when mobile phones looked like a sledge hammer, Motorola followed tech-innovators like Apple’s Steve Job by producing the StarTAC in 1996. When the original StarTAC arrived here in 1999, the pocket-size folding phone ― weighing 88 grams and cost a whopping 1.3 million won or about $1,500 at the time ― became the Ferrari of phones overnight. The new model is priced more like a Kia, at an affordable 297,000 won.

StarTAC III for Korea only.
Mingling with Motorola executives in the VIP lounge set up at Apgujeong Club, Ms. Lim said the new phone, which is available only in Korea, is made specifically for Koreans. The phone maintains the original design and features “only essential functions,” including an exterior LED light, MP3/MOD, GPS (global positioning system), electronic dictionary and that “click” sound when the flip-flap is snap-closed. Those who used to have the original phone, of course, understand there is no camera function on a StarTAC. These phones are made for people who are too cool for photographs.


By Ines cho Staff Writer [inescho@joongang.co.kr]



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