Tuesday, March 30, 2010

No IPhone? No Problem!

A few months ago, I wrote a post about the IPhone coming to Korea, and the difficulties foreigners face in getting one.  The IPhone is only available through a contract from Show/Qook, and contracts are not readily available to foreigners.  Either your school would have to sign you up for a contract, or you would need to have a Korean friend who can sponsor you in order to get one.  The price tag for a service contract is also pricey as well, which could be more than a foreigner is willing to pay for cell phone service here.

There is way to get around the IPhone problem, however, and for much cheaper than the contract.  An IPod touch can do just about everything an IPhone can, just by downloading the right applications.  You can use your IPod touch to make calls with the Skype application (which is free), and since the 3rd generation models come with ear buds that boast an inconspicuous but highly useful microphone, it's easy to talk to people near and far with this little gadget.  The microphone can also be used to record voice memos, as well as voice control your music playback.  There are also other free applications that allow you to text locally or worldwide.  All you need for these applications to work is a wireless network connection, which are becoming more and more prevalent in Gwangju these days.  There's even an application called eWifi which can find hidden wireless networks that wouldn't otherwise show up on the IPod.

The IPod touch is also good for organizing your life with its notes and calendar functions, and can even double as your alarm clock.  There are translation programs and dictionary applications to help you find that Korean word you're trying to think of in a pinch situation.  The popular Korean site Naver has even launched several applications for those who are more savvy in their language skills.  And if you're ever stuck waiting for a bus, subway, or to meet with friends, there are innumerable games and applications to keep you busy.

All in all, I have had little problems using my IPod touch as valuable resource in Korea.  And with my applications installed, there's no limit to what else I can do with my little handheld gadget.  The 3rd generation model comes in 8GB (299,000), 32GB (449,000), and 64GB (599,000) models, which are available from the Apple store in Kumho World (4th floor).  The guys there speak good English and can get you set up easily.

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