iPad launch heats up tablet PC race

  • Published : Nov 30, 2010 - 18:14
  • Updated : Nov 30, 2010 - 18:14
An intense battle began to take shape in the lucrative multi-touch screen tablet PC market as Apple’s popular iPad officially hit stores in Korea on Tuesday.

The launch comes after local giant Samsung Electronics unveiled its new 7-inch Galaxy Tab in Korea last month.

“The media device iPad will bring revolutionary change to our digital lifestyle triggering mass consumption of contents,” said Pyo Hyun-myung, president of the mobile business group at KT. “The iPad, along with Apple’s iPhone, is expected to offer a new and favorable experience for people with the combination of our network and the variety of contents shown in the applications.”
Customers try Apple’s iPad at a downtown Seoul branch of wireless operator KT Tuesday as the tablet PC goes on sale for the first time in Korea. (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)

KT Corp., the exclusive carrier of the iPhone in Korea, announced the release of the iPad by holding a launching party with 100 early adopters at its headquarters in downtown Seoul.

The tech-savvy customers formed a line beginning at 4 a.m. to purchase the long-awaited, popular tablet PC.

KT featured various applications customized for local customers such as a package of electronic books named “QOOK book caf pack” ― displaying the content of 100 different magazines, English children’s books and comics, as well as six newspapers.

Other applications involving education, finance, navigation and music portal service “dosirak” have been released exclusively for the iPad, according to KT officials.

The successful launch of Apple’s iPad and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab is drawing attention as a number of the latecomers ― such as LG Electronics, Motorola and Lenovo ― are getting ready to unveil their tablet PCs early next year.

So far, Samsung has reportedly sold 700,000 of its Galaxy Tab and the iPad has topped 4 million.

The International Data Corporation estimated that the global media tablet PC market is projected to jump six-fold by 2014. The market research company also forecasted in May that worldwide media tablet shipments will grow to more than 46 million units in 2014, from 7.6 million units in 2010.

“The iPad will inevitably set the stage for growth in the local tablet PC industry,” said Lee Hyung-il, a researcher at KT’s economic research unit DigiEco, adding that 50 million units are projected to be sold globally by 2012.

“We also expect it to lead other growing markets, particularly the e-book industry.”

According to the Korea Creative Content Agency, the yearly growth rate of the e-book industry is expected to record 27.2 percent, whereas the paper book market is estimated to grow 1 percent in the same year.

“I would definitely say the demand (for the iPad) is high,” he said, hinting that the hype will not go away soon. “It has been found that about 20 to 30 percent more people say they would buy the iPad after they use the device.”

By Cho Ji-hyun (