Saturday, July 2, 2011

Korea - Getting a smartphone and Kakao?

There were many things happening lately, some worth talking and some not worth talking. This makes me not in a mood to blog. Anyway, I think I am a private person and I do not like to share personal stuffs to people. This blog is a bit of exception but I neither wish to have many readers nor to promote it.

This blog started off as a personal blog for my incessant ramblings on my life in Korea and my personal views (more like a diary to me la - and can you believe - a guy having one!), but after sometime, I gradually write about my experiences in Korea.


Honestly, I prefer her over the phone :P

IRIS drama star, 이병헌..

Acquiring a smartphone is of late becoming more of a necessity than an indulgence or a trend. As much as I like to say that the basic cellphone still serve its purpose to enable communications and other small functions like taking pictures, smartphone's rise is inevitable.

With the rise in usage of smartphone, more research and development (R&D) funding will be poured into smartphone's software and hardware while cellphone's development will remain as stagnant as ever. Like how pagers were replaced by bulky cellphones, and then a period of cellphones with multiple functions. Now, it's all about smartphone.

Blame it on iPhone too.

In Korea, it's still possible to get a basic cellphone but it's really difficult to get one that will suit your taste. These days, there are not many varieties of cellphones to choose from if compared to smartphone varieties. Nevertheless, there's always pros and cons of having a smartphone.

I, not being a gadget enthusiast, jumping into the iPhone bandwagon is just not my type. I chose an Android based phone - I chose a Samsung Galaxy. This Android based phone was okay but the apps in the market were a bit messy and sometimes, it's still a hassle to search for nice apps in the Android market.

In Korea, it's more common to find non-apple smartphone on the market than in any other countries. Nationalistic feelings (only buy either Samsung or LG) and restrictions imposed on foreigners mean it's quite difficult to have an iPhone. Besides the I-know-you-know expensive subscription packages too for iPhone users.

It's more expensive to own an iPhone in Korea than in Malaysia due to the "basic" fees. Nevertheless, performance wise, I think both smart phones are the same but iPhone remains as sleek as ever. Owning a Samsung or LG smartphone in Korea is easy and fast. Just sign pages after pages (erm... not really.. only a front and back subscription form) of contracts written in Korean without actually "knowing" it. lol. Just kidding.

The most downloadable apps in Korea is Kakao Talk. Kakao functions almost like a messenger but is more widely used here than in any other countries. It's free but that's if you do not include the 3G fees. Luckily in Korea, the free data usage is more than enough (up to 1 GB in my case).

The thing about getting a smartphone in Korea is that the staffs in the mobile shops will always promote the best and of course, the most expensive phones (and subscription packages too). Sometimes, a basic packages can be overly expensive, maybe an unlimited data usage with a limited free calling time (only up to 5 hours) and SMS messages (300 SMS) will set you back at least 55000 Won (51 USD) per month.

Frankly, unlimited data usage plan is not really worth it. Smartphone's (Mine's a Samsung Galaxy) battery life really sucks so what's the point of getting a package that is not worth subscribing because of the limited battery power? It's better to donate to a place called charity than to fatten the telecom company's paycheck. But really, get Kakao if you are in Korea!

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