A deluge of new smartphone and tablet PC models

Consumers will be spoiled for choice this week with simultaneous launches

'스마트 기기' 2라운드 돌입, 과연 승자는?

Apr 29,2011
Samsung Electronics begins selling the Galaxy S II today, after a media event yesterday. Apple also launched white iPhone 4 as well as iPad 2 in Korea through SK Telecom and KT. Provided by Yonhap and SK Telecom

This week is undoubtedly one of the most thrilling for fans of high-tech gadgets in Korea with the anticipated launch of the latest smartphone and tablet PC products, including the Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy S II, Apple’s white iPhone 4 and iPad 2 among others.

But while consumers will have a rich number of choices, it will increase competition for industry players.

“Galaxy S II will usher in the second chapter of the heyday for Samsung smartphones,” J.K. Shin, head of the company’s mobile phone unit said at a media event held yesterday. “Galaxy S II is an innovative product that raised the bar in terms of display, performance, contents and leadership,” he added.

First unveiled at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain in February, the second edition of the company’s smartphone features a 4.3-inch diagonal touchscreen, which is noticeably larger than the 4-inch one on the first Galaxy S, coupled with enhanced brightness and clarity; a slimmer body than its predecessor, with a thickness of 8.5 millimeters; a faster processor and an upgraded operating system compared to the Galaxy S.

Samsung Electronics, the world’s No.2 maker of mobile phones after Nokia, will be selling the Galaxy S II through all mobile carriers in Korea, SK Telecom, KT and LG U+, starting today. It will release it in about 120 countries through some 140 mobile operators worldwide starting next month.

This is unique in two respects. Samsung has traditionally launched its key smartphone models in Europe and then in Korea as the localization of certain technologies takes time. But this time the company reportedly set up a separate team for this effort. The company sold about 2 million units of the original Galaxy S in Korea, one-fifth of its global sales.

In addition, Samsung had traditionally released its premium smartphone models with SK Telecom, the market leader, thereby giving it exclusive distribution rights for several months. But such exclusivity in the smartphone business has faded in recent months.

“Galaxy S sold more than 14 million units last year,” Shin said. “Considering that Galaxy S II has higher specifications, [we] expect to sell more than 10 million units of the device.”

The release of Galaxy S II coincided with those of its rivals in an indication of tech companies battling to steal the thunder from each other.

Several hours before Samsung held the media day for Galaxy S II in Korea, Apple announced through its Web site the much-awaited global launch of the white iPhone 4 from Thursday.

Shortly after, SK Telecom and KT announced yesterday that they had started selling the white iPhone 4 at its stores. The launch comes months after rumors began to circulate about the white iPhone 4. Analysts say, however, it’s unlikely that the release will give a notable boost to iPhone sales in Korea.

SK Telecom and KT also announced yesterday that they will start selling the iPad 2 starting today. The iPad 2, which features a lighter and thinner body than its predecessor, will hit the stores with the price tag of at least 640,000 won ($594), according to Apple’s Korean Web site.

Meanwhile, Samsung’s second-generation tablet featuring 10.1-inch screen will be available in June. “Samsung will offer a diverse portfolio in tablet market this year. [...] Galaxy Tab 10.1 is expected to sell five times more than the first Galaxy Tab,” Shin told reporters yesterday.

Apple and Samsung are currently in a legal battle, with Apple suing Samsung for patent infringements of the iPhone and iPad and Samsung suing Apple in turn for allegedly copying some of its communications transmission technology.

Although market observers say it doesn’t look like the simultaneous launch dates are intended, this isn’t the first time that Samsung and Apple have circled the same date on their calendars for product launches.

Last June when Samsung introduced the Galaxy S to the media in Korea, Apple unveiled the iPhone 4 to the industry in the U.S. Last November when Samsung showcased Galaxy Tab, Apple revealed the MacBook Air.

In addition, LG Electronics, the world’s No.3 manufacturer of cellular phones, also plans to release its new smartphone, Optimus Black, this weekend. “Optimus Black offers the brightest display in the world, thus it offers visual pleasure, along with mobility and style,” said Na Yeong-bae, executive vice president at LG’s mobile communications unit.

By Kim Hyung-eun [hkim@joongang.co.kr]

한글 관련 기사 [연합]
KT서 아이패드2 사면 월 2만7500원…SK텔레콤에 가입하면 월 2만9000원
2GB 요금제 24개월 약정 조건
순수 단말기 값은 미국과 비슷애플 ‘아이패드2’가 29일 SK텔레콤과 KT에서 동시에 출시된다. 3G(3세대) 통신망과 와이파이(근거리무선)망을 모두 쓸 수 있는 16기가바이트(GB) 모델 출고가는 72만6000원. 32GB 모델은 82만8000원이고, 64GB 모델은 93만6000원이다. 미국 현지 판매가격(629~829달러)과 비슷한 수준이다.

 하지만 24개월 약정으로 정액 요금제에 가입하면 단말기 가격을 깎아 준다. 월 2GB의 데이터를 쓸 수 있는 요금제에 가입할 경우 16GB모델을 39만원 정도에 살 수 있다. 4GB 요금제에 가입하면 21만원대로 낮아진다.

 두 이통사가 내놓은 2GB(기가바이트) 요금제는 KT가 월 2만7500원, SK텔레콤이 월 2만9000원. 4GB 요금제는 KT가 월 4만2500원이고, SK텔레콤은 월 4만5000원이다. 2년간 이용하면 KT가 최대 6만원 저렴하다. KT는 월 이용료가 2만2500원인 1GB 요금제도 내놓았다. 대신 SK텔레콤은 자사의 스마트폰 정액요금제 가입자에게는 아이패드2 구입가격을 최대 10만원 할인해 준다.

 와이파이만 쓸 수 있는 모델은 KT에서만 판다. KT 외에는 애플 전용 매장에서 살 수 있다. KT가 판매하는 와이파이 전용 모델 가격은 16GB모델이 63만5000원이다. 월 8000원을 내면 KT 와이파이망을 사용할 수 있다.

 KT와 SK텔레콤은 각자의 장점을 내세웠다. KT는 5만5000여 개의 와이파이존을 보유하고 있다고 강조한다. SK텔레콤은 통신망의 품질이 우월하다고 맞서고 있다. 애프터서비스(AS) 경쟁도 치열하다. SK텔레콤은 애플의 83개 AS센터 외에 전국 34곳의 SK텔레콤 AS센터에서 아이패드2 수리 및 상담을 한다. KT는 올레 모바일 트위터(@olleh_mobile)를 통해 24시간 아이패드 전문 상담을 한다. SK텔레콤은 아이패드의 화면에 맞춘 실시간 내비게이션인 티맵(T map) 3.0을 개발해 상반기 내 출시할 예정이고, KT는 아이패드 가입자에게 클라우드 서비스인 ‘유클라우드’ 20GB를 제공하기로 했다.

[한글 원문 보기]
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