updated 08:50 am EST, Fri December 31, 2010
Korea snubs Nexus S over Google control, iPhone
Korean cell carriers are turning down the Nexus S both because of Google's control but also because of Apple, insider tips said late Thursday. Both KT and SK Telecom are reportedly upset that Google's insistence on a pure Android experience won't let them promote their own proprietary apps and services. Google's control of the marketing for the Android 2.3 flagship also wouldn't give them the marketing angle they would like, Korea Times had heard.
The iPhone is also cited as a reason for the lack of any plans. Even SK Telecom, which has often had Nexus S maker Samsung's blessing as the anti-iPhone carrier, reportedly doesn't believe that the official Google phone would have any effect. "The Nexus S won't make a huge impact enough to break the current iPhone stronghold," an anonymous official from the carrier said.
KT has still said it has "no plans," but its position may be mixed. Most of its smartphone performance is based on the iPhone, but it was the only carrier to sell the Nexus One in Korea. The Android device has sold at much lower levels, at 50,000 units since July, but KT is believed willing to keep talking with Google to "recover ailing corporate ties" with Samsung. The local electronics giant has allegedly been abusing its dominant position to retaliate against KT for iPhone competition, such as by withholding better phones and dictating harsh marketing requirements.
The absence of HDMI video out and a microSDHC slot were similarly cited as factors in a Korean market that often favors feature-heavy devices, but it's not certain how likely this might be given that the iPhone has thrived without either. Samsung's Galaxy S has sold very well in the country despite the absence of HDMI.
The similarity between the Nexus S and the Galaxy S may ultimately be the main factor, as the Nexus S' primary advantages are mostly limited to its newer, unmodified OS, its front-facing camera and its support for NFC wireless.