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SKT introduces multi-gadget content platform

SK Telecom, the nation’s No. 1 telecom operator, launched on Monday a “numerous screen” (n-Screen) platform that allows users to access the same content from multiple devices based on cloud computing technology.

The “hoppin” service allows subscribers to use media content in its server on smartphones, computers, tablet PCs and televisions through a Wi-Fi network with a one-time payment.

For instance, users can pause a movie or TV show on one device and resume on another at the same time without buffering delays or frame freezes.

“Personal devices are spreading out rapidly and becoming more powerful,” Sull Won-hee, executive vice president of SK Telecom’s open platform division, told reporters at a meeting. “The paradigm in personal media is also shifting toward ubiquitous n-Screen platform from single-screen.” 
SK Telecom’s open platform division’s executive vice president Sull Won-hee presents the company’s multi-screen platform “hoppin” at its headquarter in central Seoul on Monday. (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)
SK Telecom’s open platform division’s executive vice president Sull Won-hee presents the company’s multi-screen platform “hoppin” at its headquarter in central Seoul on Monday. (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)

The “hoppin” will facilitate more efficient media consumption for subscribers by providing good portability and custom-tailored services, he said.

When users log into the site, they would see the main page customized to their preferences. The platform analyzes tastes of users based on past choices and keyword search history so it makes more accurate suggestions as they consume more content.

“It appeals customers’ sensibilities,” Sull said. “Emotional interactions between the platform and users will make rich media experiences.”

The same day, SK also unveiled Samsung Electronics’ new smartphone “Galaxy S hoppin,” which carries built-in set-top box software to enable TV services using the n-Screen platform. 
An SK Telecom official introduces Samsung Electronics’ new smartphone “Galaxy S hoppin” at SK’s headquarters in central Seoul on Monday. (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)
An SK Telecom official introduces Samsung Electronics’ new smartphone “Galaxy S hoppin” at SK’s headquarters in central Seoul on Monday. (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)

The new version of the handset maker’s flagship smartphone features a Super AMOLED 4-inch display and runs on Android 2.2 operating system Froyo ― same as the Galaxy S but with a twist to the media experience.

When connected with a TV, the handset will serve as a set-top box and will display streaming content stored in it on the TV screen, SK said. It can also function as a remote control using an application.

Though the bulky set-top box is gone, the smartphone does not enable full-scale n-Screen services since users will still have to buy a cradle, cables and other related devices to watch TV, critics said.

They also said the n-Screen services are provided only via Wi-Fi connections, not 3G networks, so it has limited ubiquity.

In addition, the “hoppin” has merely 3,500 choices of content including movies, TV shows, music and video clips compared with hundreds of millions spread out on the Internet or other smartphone platforms.

SK Telecom said in response it plans to raise the number to 10,000 by the end of the year and open the platform to other providers later.

Local and global companies such as telecom providers, mobile software developers, cable operators and TV makers are stepping up their efforts to bring infinite resources on the web to the living room over the past few years.

Apple Inc., Google Inc., AT&T Inc., Comcast Corp., Yahoo Inc. and Samsung Electronics and others have been striving to lead the market by developing n-Screen platforms individually or jointly but yet to come up with the ultimate ubiquity.

By Shin Hyon-hee (heeshin@heraldcorp.com)
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