KT and Softbank wed in the cloud

Two years after the merger of Korea Telecom with KTF, the group claims 27% of its turnover in the "non-communication sectors", and targets 45% by 2015. "Non-communication" covers "convergence, IT service/media and global operations", which have something to do with communication but nevermind :
- 'Communication' means wired and wireless comms + call centers (KRW 18 Tn in 2010, 22 in 2015).
- 'IT service/media' stretches over 'SI/NI, cloud, solutions, contents', so typically Software as a Service (SaaS)... (evolution 2010-2015 : KRW 2 to 6 Tn).
- 'Convergence' includes 'communication-finance convergence' (KT will absorb BC Card and challenge more directly Hana SK Card or the duo SK Telecom - Hana Card), 'car' (KT Rental), 'security', 'ad/commerce' (evolution 2010-2015 : KRW 4 to 8 Tn).
- 'global operations' collects the rest : 'investment, IT and communication' (!), and probably real estate (evolution 2010-2015 : KRW 1 to 4 Tn)

In this last category, KT intends 'to expand its global markets for Smart City, Cloud, and ICT Solutions', and 'to secure more than ten new business items, such as Smart Home, Smart City and Digital Signage', or to 'develop globally competitive products and services and consider expanding its business worldwide from the launch of a project, as in the case of KT Kibot and CCC'. For your information : KT Kibot is a cute robot.

CCC means, of course, Cloud Communication Center. And that's where Korea Telecom and Softbank decided to create a 51/49 Joint Venture next September : a huge cloud data center will be created in Busan, with a back-up system in Seoul. A smart risk management move from ethnic Korean Masayoshi Son : the March 11 earthquake + tsunami followed by Fukushima meltdowns caused major business disruptions and massive energy shortages. This center will start with a 6 MW capacity (the equivalent to 700,000 PCs or 10,000 servers according to KT), and quickly reach 20 MW. A dedicated 10 GW line will secure the traffic and that's another reason why Korea's second biggest city was chosen : it's very and one of the closest to Japan (210 km or 130 miles), with all the right IT and human connections.

Yet. If Korea is spared by tsunamis and earthquakes, it is frequently attacked by North Korean hackers, and that's the reason why mobile banking and finance, a traditional strong point in the country, is not booming as fast as smartphone sales.

NFC-based Google Wallet* will have to overcome even more resistance there considering the company's image in Korea these days and the intense lobbying campaign from local netcos against its potential dominant position.

mot-bile 2011

* see "Coming soon: make your phone your wallet"


Don't catch a Chromebook cold

In "A new kind of computer: Chromebook", Google announced for June 15th the first Chromebook computers from Samsung and Acer.

Big G claims 160 million Chrome users, and that's more likely Chrome the browser than Chrome the OS. The new devices are supposed to take 8 seconds to boot. How long to catch a virus that may leave you with a useless piece of metal desesperatly knocking on the cloud's door ?

mot-bile 2011


Showing off : Google I/O, World IT Show, Android@Home, Flixster@omized...

More news from Google I/O* :
- Google loves contents and furthermore, how it's conveyed to you : beyond Music Beta by Google (see "
Skype keeps moving, Google googling"), "Movie for rent" sounds like the killer app for (or rather against) Flixster & co.
- Android rocks and keeps gaining Gmentum in the hardware and middleware wars : 100 million activated Android devices (+ 400,000 every day), 200,000 apps in Android Market (4.5 bn apps installed from the same joint)
- on the go : handsets and tablets to converge in the Ice Cream Sandwich version of the OS
- in the more "fixed" range : with the Android@Home concept, Android starts sniffing around your place for friendly devices (including the Project Tungsten designed for Music Beta by Google)

... deja vu all over again for Apple, even if Google won't dominate the OS world the way Microsoft did.

More modestly, the World IT Show (WIS) started at the COEX in Seoul, with LG back on tracks (LG Optimus 3-D handsets, 3D TV war on Samsung, who also pushes its Smart TV and its dual core, 4G Galaxy S2), and SK Telecom showing off its own novelties (N-Screen, LTE network, Wibro CCTVs...).

mot-bile 2011

* "
Android: momentum, mobile and more at Google I/O"


Skype keeps moving, Google googling

Microsoft purchased VoIP 1.0 leader Skype. Not for the technology but for the address books and the entry point to interhuman communications, something Redmond still has trouble getting into.

Google Music sounds like Google Book redux. No agreements yet, but a statement, and an invitation to store your stuff on Big G's cloud. You know, Google, not the major media company but the tech nerds with the big servers that never crash (take that Jeff - see "
Melting clouds"). And as YouTube turns 6, Google promotes user generated quality content (YouTube Next, YouTube Creator Institute, YouTube NextUp...). So beyond storage, the idea will soon be to source new talents and to give everyone the opportunity to broadcast oneself.

The main news here is not the service but the branding: it's not "Google Music" but "Music Beta by Google", which allows a future brand to fill the blank (ie a future purchase), but furthermore echoes Google's pervasiveness on Android. In Korea, for instance, a country where it was lagging far behind Naver or Daum, the company managed to accumulate an impressive content far beyond mobile searches, through its no-logo apps and in particular in the LBS fields (maps, places...).

The debate shouldn't be only about collecting personal data but about dominant position in collaborative contents.

mot-bile 2011


Did you slap your PaperPhone on ? Snaplet

Foldable screens and e-ink technologies have fueled our imaginations for years (remember the downloadable newspaper ?), and teams of North American researchers* added the logical next next step, with a PaperPhone prototype to be on display next Tuesday at the Computer Human Interaction conference in Vancouver. They went one notch further with the Snaplet, a wristband which becomes "a watch when convex, a PDA when flat and a phone when concave"**.

The Snaplet is a really interesting concept because it adds a human touch and provides a wearable solution for the rollscreen (call it a tablet or a phone depending on the circumstances). Of course, it won't be that simple (consider sweat, thefts, or shocks, for instance), but that's a nice upgrade for the snappable watch, and a perfect support for promotional gifts : I don't see people paying fortunes for a rugged version, but couple this with the disposable phone...

mot-bile 2011

* from Human Media Lab, Queen's University / Motivational Environments Research, Arizona State University
** both unveiled by the Beeb, see BBC's "
Flexible phone made from electronic paper to debut"

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