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Excellent sales for easy-to-use electronics

Dec 23,2008
LG Electronics’ Mini X10 netbook
Simplicity seems to be the key to successful sales, according to the nation’s online shopping malls and IT companies, as easy-to-use gadgets were best sellers online this year.

Auction, the country’s No. 2 online shopping mall, said earlier this month that low-end MP3 players topped the list of its top 10 best-selling electronics for this year.

Among the leading MP3 players this year are Samsung Electronics’ S2, which resembles a pebble; Inno’s Inno Wo, which looks like an eyeshadow compact; and iRiver’s Mplayer Eyes, which is shaped like Mickey Mouse, all priced less than 50,000 won ($38), Auction said in a release.

“The S2 launched in June has sold 100,000 units as of November,” said Lee Seung-han, an official of Samsung’s public relations team.

Samsung Electronics’ S2 MP3 player, which resembles a pebble.
The MP3 player does not even have an LCD screen, but it does exactly what it sets out to do: play music.

Samsung has also extended this principle to its own mobile phones, after seeing the success of LG Electronics’ very basic Wine mobile phone. Unlike other features-heavy handsets, the Wine phone only offers basic functions. Due to its straightforward functions, the Wine, at around 150,000 won, is about 50 percent cheaper than its high-tech counterparts. Since the phone’s May launch, the company has sold 1 million units as of November.

Samsung has followed suit with its Origin mobile phone, launched yesterday.

“As the economy slows down, the market tends to polarize, meaning some consumers want high-end goods such as a touch-screen mobile phone for 1 million won, while others want an inexpensive handset with basic functions like the Origin,” said Shin Young-joon, a Samsung PR official.

The features on navigation systems have also undergone a paring-down process. These new “mini navigation” devices ranked third in sales on Auction’s list.

The price of full-size GPS systems ranges between 4.8 to 7 inches in screen size (300,000 won to 500,000 won), but the frills-free mini navigators come with smaller screens and price tags. They usually retail for about 200,000 won.

Thinkware, one of the nation’s leading GPS system makers, said its compact Inavi UZ (about 200,000 won) is ideal for biking and hiking, as well as driving.

Tiny laptops, called netbooks, took the No. 6 spot on the Auction list. While full-sized laptops cost between 1.5 million won and 2 million won, netbooks by Taiwanese laptop makers ASUS or MSI fall in the 500,000 won to 600,000 won price range. These streamlined laptops are designed for basic functions such as Web browsing and word processing.

Japan-based Nintendo has also found a hit product in its portable Nintendo DS. Sales surpassed 1.4 million in Korea as of April, with more than 100,000 units sold per month. The DS, with its touch screen controlled by a pen-like device, is simple enough for tech-averse users, hence its wide appeal.


By Sung So-young Staff Reporter [so@joongang.co.kr]



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