Seoul Stories May 2, 2017

Google-funded ‘Science Playground’ now open at Seoul’s Gwacheon National Science Museum

Google Korea has announced today that a new Science Playground at the Gwacheon National Science Museum in Seoul is now open thanks in part to a grant from Google.org.

Starting this week, families visiting the Gwacheon National Science Museum in Seoul can drop by the new Science Playground to dabble in activities and experiments where the young—and young at heart—can get a glimpse of what it’s like to be a scientist or an engineer.

Seoul Stories March 10, 2016

Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt testifies before a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing called "The Power of Google: Serving Consumers or Threatening Competition?" on Capitol Hill, September 21, 2011. REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS)

Eric Schmidt is in South Korea this week to witness Google’s AlphaGo AI system completely destroy the world Go champion at his own game. Sedol lost the first game yesterday, saying then that he was “very surprised”. Today he lost again. “It was a clear loss on my part,” he said. He had predicted before the matchups began that he would win the five-game series 5-0 or 4-1 “at worst.”

But while the Alphabet Executive Chairman is in South Korea to witness the monumental battle, the Korean press (OSEN, in this case) is clearly focusing on something else. As you can see in the pictures below, Schmidt was caught at a press event this week taking pictures with an iPhone…

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Seoul Stories May 17, 2015

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In a pretty ambiguous press release, LG has come out this afternoon (or this morning for those in Seoul) to announce that its recently-announced G4 flagship will begin shipping this week to consumers in “key markets around the world.” The rollout will supposedly begin in Hong Kong, followed by introductions in Turkey, Russia, and Singapore… expand full story

Seoul Stories December 5, 2014

samsung

The downsizing expected at Samsung‘s mobile division has seemingly started at the top, with Re/code reporting that three senior execs are leaving the company. This follows the loss of five high-ranking execs earlier in the year.

Three deputies to the head of Samsung Electronics’ mobile division are leaving, a person with knowledge of the matter said on Thursday, as the world’s largest smartphone maker faces a rapid decline in profit […]

The departures included global marketing chief D.J. Lee, the source said, confirming earlier media reports.

All three of those leaving are said to be direct reports to mobile head JK Shin, who survived the cull despite presiding over a 74% drop in profits in his division …  expand full story

Seoul Stories October 29, 2014

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LG’s twin-track smartphone strategy – offering both premium G-series models and cheaper L-series devices – appears to be working, with the company announcing Q3 smartphone sales up by 39% to 16.8M and operating profits more than doubled to 461B won ($440M). The results beat analyst expectations, and LG said that it was bullish about future prospects.

Building on its momentum and two consecutive profitable quarters, LG expects to strengthen its positioning in the smartphone market with its G Series and L Series models despite the landscape becoming more competitive

The G3 handset in particular has helped the company gain ground against its much larger Korean rival Samsung. Samsung is due to announce its own Q3 results tomorrow, but has already issued a profit warning on the basis of low average selling prices of its phones …  expand full story

Seoul Stories June 26, 2014

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The WSJ reports that Samsung stock fell 1.9 percent as chief financial officer Lee Sang-hoon admitted that the company’s quarter two performance “doesn’t look too good.”

The comments were enough to drive down the stock price.  Samsung Electronics’ stock fell  1.9% to 1,320,000 won (US$1,296.4) as concerns over slowing profit growth reignited. Shares have fallen 8.5% so far this month, hit by a series of downgrades in earnings forecasts for the world’s largest seller of smartphones …

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Seoul Stories October 23, 2013

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Samsung is addressing one of the biggest issues with its Galaxy Gear smart watch it introduced earlier this year: device compatibility. Several Samsung devices including its Galaxy S3, S4, Note 2, and Mega smartphones will receive compatibility via a software update in Android 4.3.

Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smart watch debuted alongside Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 smartphone and Galaxy Note 10.1tablet with support limited to those devices. Initial reviews overwhelmingly disapproved of Samsung’s smart watch offering, but widening device compatibility is surely a step in the right direction. (Full press release below)

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Seoul Stories September 25, 2013

Samsung announces “Samsung Solution Exchange’, a mobile app store for businesses

Samsung announced today that it is launching the “Samsung Solution Exchange” to offer unique mobile solutions to business owners. The app marketplace of sorts will offer businesses an easy way to find productivity and business related apps from third-party developers that are specifically suited for Samsung devices:

The Samsung Solutions Exchange delivers a range of offerings from third party providers that increase productivity and ROI, including sales and management applications, mobile device management solutions, cloud services, collaboration tools and security solutions – all designed to make it easier for enterprises to succeed in the new era of mobile business with our robust suite of SAFE devices.

Samsung says it will work with third-party developers, MDM providers, and sales channels to “systematically identify unique customer requirements and rapidly deliver end-to-end solutions.” To do that it will be making its SDK available to those that are part of the new Samsung Solution Exchange and a web portal will make it possible for business to discover new mobile solutions.

You can learn more about the new program on Samsung’s business website here.

Seoul Stories April 10, 2013

Samsung logo inside Time Warner City

According to a new report from Bloomberg, police in South Korea searched offices belonging to Samsung yesterday in a raid connected with an ongoing case related to whether or not Samsung was involved in the leaking of trade secrets. Police originally charged six employees from LG Display related to the theft of OLED technology from Samsung. Reports from last year claimed Samsung employees were fired in connection with leaking the technology, and today an LG spokesperson confirmed the latest investigation is related to its OLED TV panel technology:

“The latest investigation is related to large-sized OLED TV panel technology, but the police have made the allegation themselves,” Son Young Jun, a Seoul-based LG Display spokesman, said by phone today. LG said in July the information its employees were charged with leaking or stealing at the time was widely known in the industry and wasn’t considered to contain trade secrets.

Police in the South Korea wouldn’t comment on yesterday’s raid, but LG reportedly said “it didn’t report Samsung to police in connection with the current investigation.”  expand full story

Seoul Stories November 20, 2012

ReutersTV posted this video of Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt speaking at the RAND Corp.’s “Politics Aside” conference in Culver City on Nov. 19. During the 32-minute-long interview, Schmidt discussed Google’s position on free speech, privacy, and described the process of removing potentially inappropriate user-generated content on YouTube.

Seoul Stories October 24, 2012

LG reports ‘solid’ Q3 earnings with $138.57M in net profit

LG is out with its Q3 earnings today, and it is reporting what it called “solid third-quarter performance” thanks to strong handset sales. The company took in $138.57M in net profit for the quarter, while recording 19.42 million operating profit for its mobile business:

LG Mobile Communications Company improved significantly in the 2012 third quarter, recording operating profit of KRW 22 billion (USD 19.42 million) due in large part to healthy sales of LTE smartphones in Korea, Japan and the United States. In addition, Optimus L-Series continued to expand into 3G markets, contributing to the sales increase. Revenues increased by 5 percent quarter-to-quarter to KRW 2.45 trillion (USD 2.16 billion) as shipments exceeded 14 million units, an increase of 9 percent from the previous quarter. The company expects to further increase its shipments and revenue in the fourth quarter with the global launch of the Optimus G superphone and sales of Optimus Vu: 2 in Korea.

LG’s full press release below:

Seoul Stories August 20, 2012

Samsung just announced the new dual-SIM Galaxy S Duos with Android 4.0.

The 4-inch handset boasts a WVGA 480-by-800 display and a 5-megapixel rear-shooting camera, but users who travel often or juggle multiple phones will mostly love its ability to toggle SIM cards. The dual-SIM functionality essentially lets users connect two phone numbers to a single phone, while the “Always on” feature allows them to receive calls on one SIM number while answering a call from the other line. The Galaxy S Duos further supports various billing plans for each SIM.

A few of the additional specs mentioned in the press release include “rounded edges and smooth ceramic-like finish,” 1GHz processor, 1500mAh battery, and 4GB of on-board storage. The Galaxy S Duos is eyeing a September launch starting in Europe with a rollout scheduled for other territories, and The Verge noted an LTE version, with possibly different internal specs, is coming down the pipeline.

Let’s hope the Galaxy S Duos marks an industry-wide transition to multi-SIM smartphones. It would certainly be interesting to see all the carriers simultaneously fight for usage on a single device.

The full press release is below.

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Seoul Stories April 30, 2012

LG abandons Windows Phones for Android, blames poor sales (Update)

 

UPDATE: An LG spokesperson reached out to PCMag and denied allegations that the company is abandoning the Windows Phone platform:

“No, we are not giving up on Windows Phone. Although we don’t have another Windows device in the pipeline at this moment, that is simply because demand for Android devices is so strong. […] We’ve maintained since the beginning that LG will support whatever operating system consumers want but at the moment, our priority is to get our Android devices to a level where we feel we’ve covered all the bases, to use an American analogy.”

During last week’s Q1 2012 earnings call, LG hinted it is abandoning Windows Phone hardware production to focus on Android, and now a Korean newspaper attributes the move to underwhelming sales and claimed Microsoft’s chief is immediately meeting with the manufacturer in coming weeks.

Microsoft Korea spokesperson Lee Seung-yeon told The Korea Herald that LG is dumping Windows phones due to poor retail performance and said Windows Phones barely stole 2 percent of the global smartphone market share.

The report also suggested Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer will attempt to remedy the split with LG during a May 22 visit to Seoul, Korea by engaging in business meetings with local industry representatives, including LG:

  • “’Ballmer, who will speak about the ‘new era of technology,’ will be staying for a day in Seoul,’ said a Microsoft Korea spokesperson Lee Seung-yeon. ‘We, however, don’t have the fixed details of his business meeting schedule as of now.’
  • An LG spokesman also said it is yet unaware of the meeting.
  • “Ballmer’s visit takes place shortly after LG Electronics’ executive said during an earnings conference session last week that the company is planning to focus on smartphones running on Google’s Android mobile operating system.”

LG makes a slew of Windows-based handsets, such as the Optimus 7. 

Seoul Stories September 26, 2011

Bloomberg reports that Samsung is expecting to sell 5 times as many tablets as it did in 2010.

The company is on track to raise sales of tablet computers by more than five times this year from 2010 as it planned, J.K. Shin, head of Samsung’s mobile-phone division, said at a media briefing in Seoul today.

Samsung said it had sold 2 million Galaxy Tabs (plus a marginal number of Windows 7 Tablets?) as of January 2011.  It had given estimates as low as 1.5 million for the 4th quarter of 2010, the only quarter it sold tablets last year.

That means Samsung believes it can sell 7.5 million – 10 million tablets this year.  Is that good news? expand full story

Seoul Stories September 7, 2011

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You know that scene in GoodFellas where the FBI comes to search the house for the 15th time in as many weeks and Karen Hill explains how they are on a first name basis and she’s cordial and serves them coffee while they turn over her house?  That’s how Google’s South Korean office must feel.

Google’s Seoul office has been searched by the police at least twice since August last year amid investigations into whether the company illegally collected wireless Internet data and location information from Android smartphone users.

They got raided yet again by the South Korean government this week over whether the search giant was making it too difficult for local competitors NHN Corp. and Daum Communications Corp., who together control 90% of the Korean Search market, to get their search onto Android handsets.

The charge is that Google delays certification to handset makers who include other companies’ search products, Seongnam-based NHN said in April.  Google will probably say that it takes longer to certify third party software.

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