iPod Touch Google Maps app

Written by admin on September 1, 2009 – 1:34 pm -

The iPod touch has a default application or app called Maps. I’ve always considered this application a novelty for us who live outside North America, Europe or even Australia as no street level data or maps were provided with it. Google by the way is the company that provides the data for this app and since there is no data provided one could only use the satellite view which could not be used for navigation.

I posted an article some time ago about Google being aggressive in the Korean market by developing their maps in Korea. Well it seems like that seems to be bearing some fruit now, if you have an iPhone or iPod touch, try firing up the Maps app and you’ll be pleasantly surprised that one can now perform some rudimentary form of navigation.

I tried this by entering locating myself on the map, since the iPod touch does not have any sort of GPS as the iPhone, it locates itself via WiFi using Skyhoook. The results have been fairly accurate and Skyhook has pinpointed my location all the time. A neat surprise is that Google or some third party developer has integrated the Seoul Metropolitan Bus routes into the app and you can now see what bus numbers are available to get to particular place including time intervals and an estimate of how low it will take to get there. Pretty neat eh!


Posted in Seoul, South Korea, Tech | No Comments »

iPhone 3G / 3GS

Written by admin on June 24, 2009 – 4:29 pm -

Again yet another news tidbit about Apple’s iPhone surfaces on the Korea Times. According to the report the iPhone 3G has passed the Korean Communications Commission (KCC) testing and the device is certified for use in Korea. Normally mobile providers such as SKT or KTF apply for this but in this case Apple submitted the device for testing. This is by no means a guarantee that it will reach Korean shores as the networks themselves have to do what is called network interoperability tests which takes months as well. Nevertheless its a welcome piece of news that takes the iPhone closer to Korea.


Posted in South Korea, Tech | No Comments »

No joy for foreign mobile phones

Written by admin on June 20, 2009 – 2:13 pm -


UPDATE : I wrote this article in 2009 and I am no longer living in Seoul, South Korea. Please check other sites for more current info regarding using a foreign 3G phone in the ROK.

You might be wondering why you’re looking at a pretty old Nokia E61. Well I’m not here to do a review on it, in fact I’ve lost all interest in smartphones for now. Why? Because most of Korea’s offerings in the smartphone market are Windows Mobile 6. Being a Mac fan, Windows would be a last choice for me but its a given that you can’t change the language on a WM6 device short of reflashing the ROM, which is something I’m not prepared to do, especially after shelling out close to KWN800,000 for an Xperia or T-Omnia.

So what options are left for us waegook gadget freaks? Nothing much… I tried bringing my trusty 3 year old Nokia E61 to an SKT outlet. I had my Globe Prepaid SIM in there and had selected SKT as my network, I did this to show that rep that my E61 was a 3G (WCDMA) phone and it worked on their network, albeit it was on roaming. I inquired wether it was possible for me to just buy a sim card and have it work on my phone. The rep took my phone and examined the model number and after a few minutes of staring blankly at it said that it was not possible, unless Nokia Korea started selling it locally.

Now that completely sucks!!! Especially since the iPhone 3G or 3GS won’t be sold here in the near future.

I learned that SKT and KTF lock other phones out of the network by their IMEI numbers. The IMEI is sort of a serial number that is unique to your mobile. If your phone’s IMEI is not in SKT or KTF’s database then there is no way your phone can get on the network with a local SIM card.

I’m going to start venting here since this has been a long time frustration for me over the past 10 years. When South Korea decided to pick WCDMA as its 3G standard I was stoked because I thought I finally would have choices when it comes to a true smartphone. Seems like I was mistaken.

UPDATE : Don’t hold your breath for the iPhone 3G or 3GS, it ain’t coming to Korea in the near future, and you thought WIPI was a stumbling block, it seems like one of the bone of contentions in the distribution of content. Apple has their iTunes Music Store and it seems that KTF want their own brand of App store, I don’t think Apple is going to let that happen. Oh what the he@#$ that’s what I get for living in the hermit kingdom.

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Posted in South Korea, Tech | 17 Comments »

Sony Xperia at SKT

Written by admin on May 21, 2009 – 3:24 pm -

I spotted the Sony Xperia at a local SKT shop today while accompanying a colleague. Seemed like a very nice unit. The Xperia X1 runs Windows Mobile 6, unfortunately the language cannot be changed unless you flash the ROMs. A task that isn’t easy although there are a  lot of resources on the net should you be willing to try it on this W800,000 gadget. I’m assuming that  the features on this phone are similar to most Windows Mobile devices such as Samsungs T-Omnia. I like the X1 because of its physical keyboard which I’ve been used to, especially for text messaging and IM. Frankly speaking I’m starting to look at these phones because I’m getting tired of waiting for South Korean release of Apple’s iPhone.  If only the price tag weren’t so steep.


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Posted in Seoul, Tech | No Comments »

Nokia’s back!

Written by admin on April 13, 2009 – 5:36 pm -

With WIPI abolished in South Korea, mobile phone maker Nokia is back albeit with a disappointing launch model.

A few weeks earlier the second largest mobile service provider KTF announced that it would soon be selling the Nokia 6210 (a.k.a. Navigator). This isn’t a new model by any standards and has been around for about two years now. With domestic models offering more features such as hi-res cameras it baffles me as to why Nokia chose this model instead of their flagship N-series or business oriented E-series. I don’t expect the locals nor expats to go gaga over this especially since most domestic offerings from Samsung, LG, CYON and Motorola all offer english menus. The only models that don’t offer english are the smartphones such as Samsung’s Omnia which is powered by Windows Mobile 6. 


More info on the Nokia 6210 here.

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Posted in South Korea, Tech | 2 Comments »