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Samsung's Galaxy S4: What the Koreans are saying

March 16, 2013: 10:37 AM ET

Usually it's Apple that gets savaged by Korean users. Not this time.

Screen Shot 2013-03-16 at 10.24.59 AM

Screen grab from the Korea Times

FORTUNE -- "The initial reaction from South Korean users -- garnered Friday from 100s of comments to the news aggregator Naver -- ranges from tepid praise to complete scorn for the Galaxy S4, with negative comments currently predominating around 4:1."

So wrote our Seoul-based reader "Jake_in_Seoul" in the commentary to Friday's post Samsung's Galaxy S4: What the press is saying.

Jake has written in the past about the overt anti-Apple (AAPL) bias in the South Korean tech press. Lately, he reports, the focus has shifted:

"The Korean domestic debate has moved away from a Samsung-Apple battle to one largely between Samsung and LG, with the LG Optimus currently in great favor. iPhone users remain a stalwart minority in the Korean market (maybe 15+%?), but increasingly embattled, as the vicious press campaign against the iPhone 5 ("completely lacking in innovation") has taken its toll.

"Yet this cynical media play has increasingly turned the general public away from Samsung, and made charges that the Galaxy S4 itself lacks fundamental innovation all the more satisfying to hold and repeat."

In a separate e-mail, he offers a sampling of the largely negative comments (translated from Korean) on the Navar site:

  • "Samsung design truly makes me ill."
  • "Wow how could they have that design... Apart from that, it's fine."
  • "I'm a Samsung fan and early on ... but the phone this time really disappoints me. There's nothing innovative about it at all."
  • "Where has there ever been any innovation in smart phones by Samsung? ---- From the Omnia [phone] on down to the present, no innovation at all --- Maybe if they make Tizen [OS] well, then there might be innovation."
  • "I truly don't understand why Samsung is stubbornly holding to AMOLED. In battery capacity as well, Samsung is far behind. It used to be first, now has been surpassed."

Thanks, Jake.

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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