Smartphones. The term is fairly self-explanatory. A smartphone can be characterized as a miniature computer that can make phone calls. The first smartphone was introduced in 1992 after its first launch by IBM as a phone with a variety of applications including a calendar, address book, email, and games. The modern world demanded computers to change from being portable, where a user is able to carry a device from point A to point B but is unable to use it while moving, to mobile, where a user is both able to carry and use a device from point A to point B. The hottest we've gotten so far to this problem would be the Smartphone.
iPhone released in Korea
An interesting battle of smart phones has begun in South Korea as Apple launched its iPhone and Samsung released the Omnia 2. After the first introduction of the original iPhone on June 29, 2007, Apple's iPhone has gained tremendous popularity around the globe, creating its own pop culture. Since then, Apple has updated its hardware and software to improve its features and functionality. The latest iPhone 3GS with a 3.0 OS was released short after the announcement on June 8, 2009. The iPhone is available in over 80 countries and more than 35 million units have been sold to date. However, the iPhone was not available in Korea until now because of government policies - such as the WIPI and LBS permit requirement - which restricted the iPhone from being sold in Korea. The WIPI requirement was abolished in April and Apple Inc. received an LBS business permit this October. After all those issues were resolved, longsuffering Korean consumers could finally put their hands on an iPhone.
iPhone Ups and Downs
Before the arrival of the iPhone, some were skeptical about the success of the iPhone in Korea. Most foreign handheld devices did not find great success in the Korean market due to the dominance of Korean manufacturers like Samsung and LG. Some people also criticized the iPhone for its absence of DMB, irreplaceable battery, warranty and service issues. However, consumer reactions were more than what everyone expected. Fully 62,000 consumers pre-ordered an iPhone during the first week after the release announcement and the demand is getting greater. The iPhone has certainly settled itself in Korea as an icon of pop culture.
The iPhone has a 3.5 inch scratch-resistent touchscreen with multi-touch sensing, letting users click several applications at once. It contains three sensors that turn off the screen when the phone is brought near the face during a call, adjust the brightness of display to save battery power, and recognizes the phone's orientation to chang its display to either be in portrait or landscape mode. Inside, the iPhone uses its own OS which can be updated and promises more speed.
However, all the flashy gadgets moved aside, the biggest strength of iPhone is not just its hardware. The integration of its iTunes software makes the iPhone a great smartphone. Through iTunes, Apple provides a variety of media content like music, movie, TV shows, podcasts, and audio books which are updated constantly and can also be personalized for its users.
The iPhone's strongest forte is its App Store. Currently, more than 52,000 applications including games, education and financial information, developed by individual or corporate software developers are available for iPhone users. Need to edit your pictures Download Photogene. Feel like strumming a few tunes How's Pocketguitar, and for the surfers, check the weather and tide on Surf Report. The App store is certainly an iPhone forte and just when everyone thought Apple had dominated the smartphone market, along came Omnia 2.
Samsung released the Omnia 2 (Samsung i8000) on June 15, 2009 and the response was unbeaten by the iPhone at a number of 65,000 new clients. The smartphone has a 3.7 inch AMOLED (Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode) screen which promises a brighter and clearer screen of 16 million colors and uses less battery power. Its DMB application lets users watch television anywhere and its 5 megapixel camera with face detection and smile detection helps users take extremely clear pictures. In addition, the Omnia 2 has introduced Geo Tagging, which enables the iPhone to automatically taga picture with the location it was taken in the world so users may always remember which pictures were taken where. On the inside, the Omnia 2 uses Windows Mobile 6.1 OS and hosts a built-in maximum of 16 gigabytes of flash memory and a port for microSDHC cards which can add another 32 gigabytes. As for updates and applications, users can log into Tstore to download games, music, movies, comedy shows, and more.
iPhone vs. Omnia 2
Opinions differ on which smartphone should persist. The iPhone has lost prospective clients in Korea due to its limitations with wireless internet. While Omnia 2 supports unlimited wireless internet for a certain fee, the iPhone has a limited pay plan. In addition, the iPhone's non user-replaceable battery has a short life span which can only be replaced without cost by going to an Apple store before the warranty expires. Apple's battery life has been an issue since the iPod but the criticism still persists. The iPhone's incompatibility with movie files has also been brought up. While most movie files in Korea are distributed as .avi files, iPhone can only host .mp4 files, which means users have to go through the pain of converting file types before synchronizing their iPhones.
The list goes on for the Omnia 2 also. The iPhone's downloadable applications are one gap Samsung will not be able to abridge shortly. Users have commended the abundance of applications in the App Store which lets them utilize their costly smartphones to the fullest. Compared to the iPhone in terms of applications, the Omnia 2 certainly does not look good. And as Apple released the iPhone 3GS where S stands for speed, the Omnia 2 has earned a reputation for slowness due to its Windows-based OS. The lag isn't so serious as to raise complaints, but when compared to an iPhone that has set its theme on speedy processing, the Omnia 2 certainly can't help but be left behind. Another problem that is being called out by users is Omnia 2's single touchscreen system which, in the simplest terms, means that the smartphone can only process one click at a time. This has put a big separation between the App Store and T Store. Any application requiring two or more instantaneous clicks is something the Omnia 2 can't handle.
The smartphone is not a gadget for professionals and early-adopters anymore. The smartphone has become a commodity and a fashion icon. As smartphones advance to become perfectly mobile, the market will be fierce and eventually, just as mobile phones have replaced telephones, the smartphone will eventually replace computers and laptops. The iPhone and Omnia 2 are taking steps into a no man's land that is soon to become the center of IT. The world will see a rapid growth in the field of smartphones where only the smartest will survive. But as for now, the verdict would be a definite tie.