Monday, November 28, 2005

Dean Bubley: Killing Tme in Korea?

Dean Bubley posts at his Disruptive Wireless blog about his observations about mobile device usage while traveling in Korea. During his visit, Bubley noticed a lot of usage of personal technology, "not just cellphones, but also huge numbers of MP3 players (but few iPods), and also "proper" digital cameras." He also noticed that:

Koreans use their phones a lot. Sit (or more likely stand) on the Seoul subway, and there is a large percentage of people pecking away at keys (mostly games or SMS), and a substantially smaller number actually talking (there's decent cellular coverage in the metro). Interestingly, there are far fewer people actually talking on their phones on the streets & other locations as well.
Bubley states that mobile services in Europe, such as mobile-TV and gaming, are being pitched as ways to kill time or as info snacks. He writes that:
In the UK certainly, and probably elsewhere in "chatty" countries with few taboos about talking on the phone in public (Italy, for example), I'm wondering if larger bundles of voice minutes & better in-building coverage would just make people use more voice instead. If you've got a few minutes free - why not call your friends or family? why bother trying to download music onto your phone (and paying through the nose for it), when you could have a good gossip instead "for free"?
In the U.S. where more minutes are bundled with plans, this is partially the case. However, it also seems to depend on the mobility of society. In California, the car is king and so is voice for the most part. However, as seen in other cities and cultures (i.e. Asia), if your commute requires mass transit then data services and time killing makes much more sense...