Eight News Stories From Korea’s Mobile & Technology Industry, Featuring Samsung, LG, Pantech
4월 21, 2014

1. Pantech Co., South Korea's smallest smartphone manufacturer after Samsung and LG, recently raised concerns over a mobile carrier's decision to cut the factory price of its smartphone, saying the two did not have an agreement on the matter. LG Uplus said it will slash the price of Vega Secret Up smartphones by 37%, to $577.92 from the previous price of aroun $900, claiming the move is meant to help Pantech expand its sales amid stagnant market conditions.

2. South Korea will invest $14.4M this year in fostering its Ultra HD (UHD) industry to secure a competitive edge before the expected sales boom from global sports events, the telecom ministry said late last week. The Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning said it will inject more than $5.5Bn to develop core devices needed in creating and transmitting UHD contents, such as cloud-based editing systems and a High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) encoder.

3. South Korea and Israel will launch a joint program to develop new unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) this year, South Korea's commerce minister said last week, in an announcement that came just hours after Seoul said North Korea was behind the spy drones discovered near the tensely guarded border, known as the DMZ. "South Korea and Israel have long cooperated in joint research and development projects," Yoon Sang-jick, minister of trade, industry and energy, said in a press meeting.

Above three news items sourced from Yonhap News

4. Samsung Joins Forces with Global Foundries in the US to Produce iPhone7 APs

As reported by English Hankyung News, Samsung Electronics has joined forces with GlobalFoundries of the United States, the world’s second largest foundry, to produce mobile application processors (APs) for Apple’s iPhone 7. The Korean company announced on April 17 that it formed an alliance with the Santa Clara (Calif.)-based company to provide its 14-nanometer FinFET technology. FinFET is a technology that makes semiconductors in a three-dimensional manner.

The product made by using the 14-nm FinFET technology can save up to 35% electricity consumption and improve performance by more than 20% compared to those using 20-nm flat chips.

Samsung Electronics, which has produced all of Apple APs as a foundry, has lost some of its business (20-nm APs) to Taiwan’s TSMC, the No. 1 foundry in the world.

To retake the orders for Apple’s iPhone 7 APs, Samsung has developed the 14-nm FinFET process. After completing the development of the process, the company has enlisted GlobalFoundries and succeeded in clinching the order for manufacturing of APs for Apple iPhone 7

5. LG Plans To Launch New Phone Ahead of Schedule

LG Electronics plans to unveil its next strategic smartphone model G3 in June at the earliest.Inside the company, talks are underway to unveil G3 one or two months earlier than scheduled. An LG official said on April 17, “We decided to release the G3 earlier than scheduled but the exact date of release is still under discussion.”

This move is part of LG’s efforts to maximize its smartphone sales this year. Considering that the value of new smartphone plummets in the following year of the launch, LG plans to release the G3 as quickly as possible, aimed at maximizing its full-year smartphone sales.

The G series is LG Electronics’ flagship models. In particular, the predecessor model G2 was LG’s ambitious masterpiece. The G2 was mounted with the “knock” function that removes lock by knocking on the screen twice, and back buttons, first among LG smartphones. It also offered an improved feel of grip by reducing the thickness of bezel to 2.65mm.

6. Pantech Plans Unveiling of New Handset

Pantech, the No. 3 mobile phone maker in Korea, plans to reveal its next-generation strategic smartphone model Vega Iron 2 at its headquarters building in Sangam-dong in northwest Seoul at 11 am of April 24.

Much attention is given to whether the release of Vega Iron 2 will rescue Pantech which is now under a second workout program and mired in rumors about a possible acquisition by an Indian company.

Its predecessor model Vega Iron, which was released last year, garnered attention with the “Endless Metalling” technology that enabled a seamless bezel design.The Vega Iron 2 is expected to have a bezel applied with emotional color, with its exterior design being added with a splendid metallic emotion.

Pantech has not yet unveiled the detailed specs of the Vega Iron 2. However, the model is known to have a 5-inch bigger screen than that of its predecessor and to have a stronger processing performance thanks to the adoption of Qualcomm SnapDragon 801, the one that has been applied for Samsung’s Galaxy S5.

7. Korea's Music Industry on the Verge of a Shake-up

With the activities of listening to music through mobile devices becoming popularized, a drastic shakeup is looming across Korea’s digital music industry.

In the Android mobile net visitor ranking for March 2014, compiled by Korean Click, Melon came on top with 4.5 million, followed by Genie with 2 million.

Genie ranked No. 5 in January 2013 with the number of its net visitors estimated at a mere 500,000. However, in just nine months after it renovated the mobile app in June 2013, Genie achieved a 300-percent growth, growing into a music site with a strong client base.

A KT Music official said, “We launched a series of new services aimed at providing users with new music services and experiences. Our strategy to enhance user satisfaction by providing them with new music services meeting their emotional needs has finally paid off.”

For the first time in Korea, the music site Genie allowed users to enjoy 3D stereo sound without purchasing high-priced earphones or speakers. It also enabled users to enjoy high-quality FLAC sound sources at anytime and anywhere through streaming.

8. Samsung Aims to Beef-up Connectivity Between Their Devices

Samsung Electronics is working on initiatives to expand the scope of compatibility between its wearable devices like Samsung Gear 2 and Samsung Gear Fit and its Galaxy smart devices, according to a recent report from Hankyung News in Korea.

The company announced on April 16 that its three types of smart wristwatches will become compatible with 16 types of domestic Galaxy smart devices. They include 13 smartphone models, including Galaxy S5, Galaxy S4, and Galaxy Note 3, plus three tablet models, including Galaxy Note Pro 12.2.

The wearable devices will become compatible even with Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 which were released three years ago. Popular type smartphones such as Galaxy Note 3 Neo and Galaxy Grand 2 are also included.

The users of Samsung Gear 2, Samsung Gear 2 Neo and Samsung Gear Fit can make them compatible with Galaxy smart devices after downloading Gear Manager and Gear Fit Manager applications at Samsung Apps.

These wearable devices which are follow-up models of Galaxy Gear were released simultaneously in 125 countries worldwide on April 11, together with Galaxy S5.

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