Korea/Japan Week: LG’s concept NYX phone with a jog-wheel


At the end of my visit to the LG Demo Centre, they showed a quick presentation of another concept phone, called NYX. It has the slogan ‘Display Only Card Phone’, although that could be a way of saying ‘not for sale concept device’ I guess.

Anyway, it’s interesting, with a three-inch touchscreen and five-megapixel camera, and a big jog-wheel on the back of the device, which is used for everything from zooming while taking photos to altering the volume when listening to music.

Korea/Japan Week: LG reveals concept Rolex mobile phone

lg-rolex-mobile.pngYou’ll have to trust me on this one, as I wasn’t allowed to take photographs inside LG’s mobile demonstration room. But one wall has a display of concept mobile phones, including a model that’s basically a phone with a Rolex watch-face embedded in the casing.

It’s unclear whether LG and Rolex are actively working together on the watch, or whether it’s just an LG designer’s idea of how such a phone could look if they were. Rolex buffs would certainly approve – the phone had a luxurious leathery exterior, and looked reassuringly expensive.

LG Viewty: UK operators confirmed (including O2, despite iPhone)


O2 might have signed an exclusive deal to sell Apple’s iPhone in the UK, but the operator appears to be hedging its bets by also signing up to sell LG’s Viewty – one of the iPhone’s fiercest rivals.

However, O2 won’t be the only UK operator selling the Viewty – they all will. That’s what I found out during a visit to LG’s Seoul demo centre today, anyway. Besides giving a hands-on demo of the Viewty, LG said that it’ll be sold through Vodafone, O2, Orange, T-Mobile and 3 in Europe, and showed a model that was branded as O2.

Korea/Japan Week: Day One Roundup

Today I’ve posted about ten cool things on show at Samsung’s Anycall store, shot a video of its fun touchscreen-based phone recommender, and wondered why removable fascias are enjoying a new lease of life.

I’ve also looked at the problems of DMB mobile digital TV here in Korea, heard that video-calling is just as unpopular as in the West, discovered how you can feed your pet dog or cat via mobile, and shivered at the prospect of The Victim, a musical seemingly influenced by survival horror games like Silent Hill and Manhunt.

Korea/Japan Week: The problem with DMB mobile digital TV…


Us Westerners know that South Korea is ahead of us in terms of mobile technology, but we often assume that everything that’s launched there is successful, simply because it’s innovative. It appears that’s not always the case though, with DMB a prime example.

It’s digital mobile TV, comparable to having a Freeview or Sky receiver in your mobile phone in the UK, rather than watching streaming TV over your 3G connection. S-DMB (satellite) and T-DMB (terrestrial) have been available in Korea since 2005, but both have encountered problems which are less to do with the technology, and more to do with how they actually make money.

Korea/Japan Week: Manhunt The Musical?!

the-victim-musical.jpgWhy isn’t Andrew Lloyd-Webber writing musicals about serial killers stalking and killing people in a gruesome way? The heady mix of slaughter and showtunes would pack in the crowds. Possibly.

That’s what came to mind when I spotted this poster for a South Korean musical called The Victim. Judging by the poster, it’s more than a little influenced by games like Manhunt and Silent Hill. Survival horror hits the stage? Sounds like a good idea to me.

Korea/Japan Week: Feed your dog or cat via mobile phone


I had a nose around Korean mobile operator SK Telecom’s demo centre today, where it was showing off its latest mobile services. Most were serious, but there was the odd bit of quirky tech too, such as this Pet Care service.

Basically, it’s an automatic food dispenser, which pops out biscuits for your cat or dog to munch on, while you’re on holiday or away from the house. But here’s the fun part: you control it by mobile phone.

Korea/Japan Week: The new big mobile thing in South Korea is… removable fascias?


Don’t snort with laughter. In the West, fascias might be old news – remember the days when any market stall worth its salt was selling covers for your Nokia phone? But it seems fascias are enjoying a new lease of life in South Korea.

At least, that’s the impression I got from Samsung’s Anycall store in Seoul, where the SPH-6600 was on show with its ten optional fascias (three come with the handset, and seven more can be bought separately. Apparently it’s really popular, too.

Korea/Japan Week: Mobile users "hate" video telephony


Video-calling hasn’t taken off in the West yet, which I’d put mostly down to the fact that once you openly start using it, your boss and/or partner will assume they can videocall you at any time and see exactly what you’re doing, where you’re doing it, and who you’re doing it with.

It’s a slippery slope for anyone pulling a sickie, having an affair, or just going about their business in a private way. And y’know what? South Korea may be one of the most advanced mobile markets in the world, but people there don’t want it either. This is despite the fact that operators and handset manufacturers are keen to tout it as a hot new service.

Korea/Japan Week: 10 cool things from Samsung's Anycall Studio store


So, I’m here in Seoul being shown a taster of South Korea’s most cutting-edge mobile technology. This morning, that included a wander around Samsung’s Anycall Studio store, which acts as a showcase for the company’s handsets.

Besides the neat touchscreen phone-recommender, there was plenty of other fun stuff to see. I’ve picked out ten highlights from the store, so read on below. Starting with…

1. Picture-in-Picture dual-DMB TV Phone (above). The SCH-B710, to give the handset its full name, is the first Korean phone to come with a pair of digital TV tuners in – one S-DMB (satellite) and one T-DMB (terrestrial). What’s more, you can watch both simultaneously using its picture-in-picture mode, allowing you to watch a film and a football match at the same time.