Smartphones take over
More than 60 percent of South Koreans now have smartphones despite their belated debut, according to the latest industry figures. Data from three mobile providers quoted by Yonhap news agency showed the number reached 30.03 million on Monday, out of a total of 52.55 million mobile phone users. The tech-savvy nation has more mobile phones than people. The population hit 50 million in June and is one of the world’s most wired societies, with 95 percent of homes using broadband Internet. The nation also has the world’s top Internet download speeds, according to a study by Pando Networks.
LG launches 84-inch HD TV
South Korea’s LG Electronics yesterday began sales of what it claims is the world’s largest ultra-definition television, with a view to expanding its share of the premium TV market. The company released an ultra-definition TV with an 84-inch screen to the local market, with a price tag of 25 million won (US$22,067). Overseas sales will start in Europe and the US next month ahead of releases in Asia and Latin America, it added. The new product comes as global manufacturers seek to drive slowing sales by producing premium TVs with bigger screens and sharper images.
B&N cuts loss with e-books
Barnes & Noble’s (B&N) fiscal first-quarter loss narrowed, lifted by sales of e-books and other digital content as well as sales of the Fifty Shades of Grey series at its bookstores. For the period ended on July 28, Barnes & Noble lost US$41 million, or US$0.78 per share. This is smaller than the US$56.6 million, or US$0.99 per share, that it lost a year earlier. Revenue climbed 2 percent to US$1.45 billion from US$1.42 billion. Revenue for the retail division — which includes bookstores and its web site businesses — rose 2 percent. Revenue from bookstores open at least a year, a key gauge of the chain’s health, increased 4.6 percent. This performance was buoyed by the liquidation of Borders’ bookstores.
Windows 8 orders open
The window to upgrade to the next version of Microsoft’s computer operating system is now open. Microsoft Corp began accepting orders for Windows 8 this week. However, the new operating system will not be delivered until Oct. 26. People who own a personal computer running earlier versions of Windows can buy the revamped system for US$14.99 to US$39.99. The lower price is being offered to PC owners who have bought a machine powered by Windows 7 since June 2. Everyone else with a Windows-based computer will have to pay the higher price if they want to upgrade. The chance to upgrade at these prices expires on Jan. 31.
Old Airbuses rack up faults
Airline pilots who fly certain Airbus jets that first came into service more than two decades ago have reported over 50 episodes of multiple electrical failures in the cockpit. The failures knocked out navigation and communication equipment. No accidents have been blamed on the problem, but there have been some scary moments, with planes forced to return to the airport or make unscheduled landings. That is what happened aboard a United Airlines flight in 2008 when the radios went dead on takeoff from Newark, New Jersey. Airbus, the Federal Aviation Administration and European regulators are aware of the problem, and airlines have been told to modify the jets.