20110413

Kakao Talk of the day

Kakao recently claimed its 10 millionth KakaoTalk user - or is it app download ? -, including 10% overseas (mostly in the US, thanks to the Korean diaspora, but the service is also available in English and Japanese). Now the Bundang based venture wants to go global.

Good luck : VoIP is a highly competitive field where "incumbent" Skype almost looks like the obsolete PTT running on grand dad PCs. In Korea, Kakao faces giant netco Daum's MyPeople, a more comprehensive social networking tool, or pure players like NeoMecca (OlivePhone app)... not to mention Google Talk, present on all Android smartphones.

Note that rivals Daum and Naver are considering suing Google for its dominant position as Android's favored search engine.

Indeed, the Google brand is indeed reigning on every Android smartphone's main screen, and more discreetely but pervasively present across the app menu : "Talk" for Google Talk, "Maps" for Google Map, "Places" for Google Places, "Latitude" for Google Latitude, "Finance" for Google Finance. Also there : Gmail, YouTube...

What puzzles me most is the way local MNOs deserted the battlefield : where a Vodafone would have branded the UI, KT / Show remains in the background. You know you have an iPhone or an Android device, but the operator appears simply as the hardware salesperson, and a not so proud carrier.

As we saw earlier, Korean MNOs have very poorly prepared for the smartphone revolution, but even now, it almost looks as if they want to dump their own app stores.

mot-bile 2011



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