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Korea’s Tablet PCs are the Busy Buzz in its Digitization Growth

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011
tablet pcs

Korea has been a major hub for sophisticated electronic gadget manufacturing for several decades now. More recently, led by such giant makers such as LG and Samsung, this nation has played a significant role of responsibility in the micro-revolutions happening in the Smartphone/mobile markets, and these same makers are now all set to create another seismic wave with their own tablet versions.

Korea: Fast Adopter of Technology

In Korea, where the technology adoption curve is very steep, the introduction of cutting-edge computational form factoring in a knowledgeable and adaptive market was truly a blessing in disguise to the tablet form. Even on a cultural and social level, Koreans are more likely inclined to use mobiles in comparison to consumers across the globe.

There is a curious law called the ‘Law of Mobility’, or ‘McGuire’s Law’, that is driving customer integration and mobility into everyday aspects of consumers in a multiplatform environment.

Not only has this greater mobility led the established telecom device makers of Korea like Samsung, LG, etc., to move into manufacturing of this exciting new device factor, but it has also increased the opportunity for further innovation and introduction of more agile hardware and operating systems. For example, Samsung’s tablet was one of the first of the major makers to switch to non-proprietary software platform.

Android or open source operating software for Smartphones, and now tablets, is fast defining the future of tablet’s computing prowess in the coming years. Leading the charge of agile and more capable hardware-software technology, these tablets and Smartphone makers (predominantly based in Korea) are creating seismic changes in the traditional, slow-paced personal computer segments.

Korea: Trendsetter in Tablet Consumption

It is, however, important to mention that Korea is both an intuitive tablet maker and a robust consumer. Korea is turning out to be a great testing ground for newer and faster tablets that manufacturers are now gunning for. With its broad spectrum of tablet consumers from high-end tablet users to standard-feature android tablets, Korea is now a trendsetter of sorts as consumers participate in testing newer models and their consumption patterns define their future. Korea’s leading manufacturers of core components of Smartphones, feature phones as well as tablets also play a very active role in partnering with leading software giants such as Microsoft in the making their branded devices.

Schools to Become Digital Centers of Learning on Tablet PCs

The Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology is keen on creating an interactive content environment by 2015. This ambitious plan shall take paper textbooks out of classrooms, and at an investment of US$2 billion, it will introduce tablet PCs to provide interactive instructional content. This would be a tall task to achievement for any other country, but for Korea, it is merely another step towards achieving total digital competency. With national broadband connectivity speed seven times faster than any other country and a cloud storage model, digitalization of study content and delivery for all school grades is definitely achievable by 2015.

However, the device-type for the project is under consideration yet, while schools will make final decisions on the textbooks they can use.

Surely, this project is going to revolutionize education in Korea.

Koreans User Experience with Tablets on the Rise

ell-illustrated when you consider the innumerable business and social applications in which they are being used.

IPad as such has not been relatively successful, largely because of the lack of Korean content in its apps and services. Samsung’s Galaxy, on the other hand, has been able to deliver on quality local digital content with Textore and Kyobo bookstores.

In fact, Textore consists of 8 newspapers,10 magazines, and 25,000 books. Kyobo app includes 70,000 Korean books, justifying the increased preference for Galaxy by Koreans.

There is an interesting instance of the tablet PCs making inroads into the social structure. A tablet now handles dating in Seoul’s prosperous Sinchon area. On August 8, 2011, an enterprising owner let his bar customers, a typical crowd, to first rate, talk, and then video chat and finally decide to share a table at the bar on all on its intralinked tablets.

Trends in Tablet Sales in Korea

Tablets are essentially mobile phones with PC features. Tablets are typically wireless communication devices, which double up as personal computers to almost 80 percent of the traditional machines’ capability. In not just Korea, but practically in all parts of the world, the slow and steady rise in the sales of tablets is indeed significant. There are two aspects to this growth.

First – innovative applications or apps have revolutionized how every day human tasks are performed.

Second – tablets are probably writing the epilogue of traditional Personal Computers. Their unique technology that provides wireless connectivity is what truly sets these smart devices apart.

Sales Buzz

Samsung ranks second only to iPad in Korean tablet share. Acer and several similar tablet makers typically sell their tablets online, and as such, are not so popular amongst non-internet users. As their advertisement spending and distribution costs are drastically low, they are able to offer their tablets at very low prices.

LG has almost given up selling its tablets in Korea, while Apple Inc. continues to dominate, with its incredible iPad sales. In fact, several mid-sized brands have achieved remarkable success in the portable media players as well. Yet most of them are being limited by the high competition, content costs, and prohibitive manufacturing costs.

Apple’s Patent Litigation with Samsung the Latest Buzz in Korean Tablet Market

Given the depth and the expertise of Korean tablet makers, unfortunately the thirdparty supply services, which some of the ers today are focusing on the increasing app download volumes of Asia. Distimo is an Apple app analytic firm and its latest analysis substantiates the claim that the boom-time in mobile app industry is largely due to Asia’s two largest markets – China and South Korea.

Distimo actually noted some distinct features in the relevant social consumption patterns. In South Korea, local rules do not allow inclusion of games apps in the App Store. Despite this, South Korea has a better download volume, when considered in terms of the per capita consumption. Almost every other country’s download volume is driven by games apps.

Asian Consumers are Price-conscious of the Apps

Distimo’s market study has also revealed that Asian mobile app users are very conscious of the prices of the apps they want to download. In fact, almost one-third of Asians are less likely to purchase apps.

Therefore, the volumes of downloads are in the categories of games and entertainment. However, only low-cost apps and free downloads are the most popular downloads.

Therefore, developers need to adopt a different platform for effective app marketing. At one level, most apps need to be localized. The most popular apps in the western markets are not exactly in the top 10 apps in local Asian app stores. Therefore, the flavor and content on these apps need to be more adaptable for Asian consumers.

The Future of Apps

Presently the most popular method of app delivery is the off deck method. This is the model adopted by Apple for its App Store. However, in models like Nokia, an on-deck method is in use to load apps. In this method, apps come with the model and the monetization processes of this method is quite different. Hence, it can be said that the right price and technology will drive the future of mobile apps consumption.

Asia at the Forefront of Digital Consumption

A region-wise analysis of consumption patterns reveals that Asia and the Asia-Pacific region is prolific in the use of digital devices, especially the adoption of Android-based Smartphones.

Asian consumers are the largest consumers of digital content thanks to the effective use of apps. There is a prolific use to perform almost all every-day activities on the super-sophisticated phones widely available today.

Hence, apps will play a very critical role in the continuing use of mobiles in this region. As long as apps remain good value-for-money, low-priced and deliver on good content, their usage is projected to cross the 3.4 billion mark in Asia and its neighbors alone.

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