Extra! Korea

April 5, 2010

(Updated) iPad has Samsung microchips and LG liquid crystal displays

Filed under: technology — extrakorea @ 2:10 pm

The iPad has arrived (in the United States, that is), and a company called iFixit Inc. wasted no time in taking it apart. What did they find? Among other things, Samsung microchips and LG liquid crystal displays. Hopefully, this will help alleviate the worry that is probably accompanying the coming of the iPad, considering the success of the iPhone here. No wonder, really, considering that its strength lies in something that the Korean education system strives, from elementary school to university, to crush: creativity.

It’s due to be released in Korea later this month. It will face some limitations, both in the U.S. and in Korea.

It doesn’t give you most of the things you want to do online, for example — Hulu.com, Netflix, because it doesn’t support Flash. These are things that Apple has chosen to do that I think hamper its ability to have the impact that it really could have otherwise,” he [Industry analyst James McQuivey] added.

(Chosun Ilbo)

“I think the impact of the iPad in Korea will be limited, at least at first. Many Korean Web sites are built to work only on Microsoft’s Web browsers, with all those Active-X tools and all, and that may prevent users from a smooth computing experience with the iPad,” said an official from a Web technology firm.

[ snip ]

The iPad model featuring Wi-Fi wireless connectivity will be available in Korean stores sometime this summer, industry sources say. Although Apple will release another iPad that offers both Wi-Fi and third-generation (3G) cellular connectivity in the U.S. later this month, it’s hard to predict when this model will be available in Korea.

KT, the wireless carrier that provides iPhone here, and SK Telecom, the largest carrier that controls more than half of Korea’s mobile phone users, both say they have yet to engage in serious negotiations about releasing the 3G-capable iPad here.

(Korea Times)

The phone companies screw the Korean consumer again.


The Marmot’s Hole now has a post about how 500,000 iPhones have been sold in Korea, and how its success has locals wondering why companies like Samsung and LG, the largest and second-largest electronics companies in the world, don’t seem able to keep up with Apple’s innovations. Here are excerpts from an article, quoted by them and re-quoted by me.

“Why can’t Samsung Electronics make an innovative product like the iPhone? The answer may be found in the company’s dated and rigid top-down approach in decision-making, which seems ripe to invite another crisis in the current market environment,” said Kim Sang-jo, a Hansung University economist and head of the shareholders’ activist group, Solidarity for Economic Reform.

All companies have hierarchies. They must, or nobody will know who does what, who is responsible to whom, etc., and nothing would get done. What makes a Korean company different, different in that they crush innovation more than others?

* If a subordinate (“hoo-bae”) has a good idea and presents it, it will embarrass his superior (“sun-bae”) and cause him to lose face. Since face is more important than logic, efficiency, or even profits, you can expect said hoo-bae‘s life to become very unpleasant in the future.

* If a hoo-bae has a good idea and his sun-bae learns about it, the sun-bae will steal it and present it on his own idea. What can the hoo-bae do about it? Two things: jack and s***. His options are to suck it up, or to quit. You say, “But that’s so unfair!” Welcome to Korea.

To improve the company’s software capabilities, Samsung Electronics is attempting to steal talent from elsewhere, but industry watchers wonders whether the company still lacks a clear direction for its software-based rebuilding plan.

Stealing talent from elsewhere won’t do much unless the corporate culture changes. If it doesn’t you’ll have talented people not presenting their innovative ideas, either because they don’t want to embarrass their sun-baes or don’t want their sun-baes to steal their ideas.


  1. Stealing talent or attempting to buy companies with talent (eg: SanDisk) won’t solve the problem of creativity or, more precisely, the lack of it. Unless this problem is solved (de-Koreanization of the company) then Samsung runs the risk of having a Chinese manufacturer overtaking it, just as they did to Sony.

    Comment by Douglas — April 7, 2010 @ 12:52 am

  2. I was sort of hoping to use an iPad & iPhone over 3G in Korea. Using MyFi (cydia store, and free in some repo’s) to share access of internet to the iPad. I would love to pay for just simple 3G without phone service (a simcard that acts as those USB dongle wireless internet packages now offered).

    Again phone companies despise their primary service to be circumvented via internet so in lieu of just letting go they completly leave everyone in hhe cold (which is unfortunate).

    I hope theres a turn around but the main want for 3G is the maps GPS. I want to explore but not get lost in South Korea =p

    I dislike how Apple has there store close-endedand though it lowers victims of phone exploitation and excorbiant cellphone bills – its less fun without being able to turn the iphone into a modem, seedbox, or rom emulator (that you can than connect with you Wiimote I may add!)

    Thankfully theres hackers.

    Comment by Nick Carefoot — April 9, 2010 @ 1:11 pm

  3. Korea needs to dump the active-x plugins. For a country that is so interested in cutting-edge technology, why do they hang on to old Microsoft-only, non-standard, plugins that crash browsers left and right. Korean websites flat out suck because of these plugins. HTML5 Korea, join the rest of the world, please.

    Comment by Koreawebsux — April 11, 2010 @ 7:17 am

  4. Your superior not liking having his subordinates presenting better ideas than him is not specific to Korea, as almost anyone having work experience elsewhere could attest.
    Very few companies have a corporate culture where innovation is nurtured.
    Just look at how Microsoft, HP or Dell are all failing at pushing groundbreaking products despite having tons of money and talents at hand…

    Comment by Jérôme — April 17, 2010 @ 7:27 am

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