Every gadget freak and computer buff”s Shangrila: Seoul’s Yongsan electronics market, which claims to be bigger than the Tokyo and Hong Kong markets combined. As well as hundreds of businesses in this centre, the surrounding streets are full of electronics shops.
But for this New Zealander, it was a cornucopia of electronic delights to be ogled at rather than purchased. Most were as expensive or more expensive than the same items back in Godzone. There were, of course, things we haven’t seen in New Zealand yet, but it would be a brave person who forked out money to buy stuff that might not work on our phone network, or might be hard to set up because of language difficulties.
Below is a line-up of laptops at the electronics market. There must have been thousands of these spread through the building. One hundred percent of the laptops I saw were running Windows. That includes the smaller ‘netbooks’, which were very numerous – at a guess they were between 30-40% of all computers on show. Nearly all of them were 10 inch models (as opposed to my own nine inch netbook, which has really fallen out of favour – though I still like it). Netbooks started out less than two years ago, when all of them were based on Linux. It’s tough for Linux fanatics to swallow, but the world wants Windows. That said, I’m still happy with my Ubuntu Linux netbook, which followed me up to Korea and back, never missing a beat, and connecting easily to every wireless network available to me.
One type of electronics gizmo at the market that hasn’t reached New Zealand yet, was the super-large car GPS unit. These multipurpose gadgets do more than tell you where you are and where you should be going. One taxi driver I travelled with switched to Solitaire mode whenever we got stuck in traffic. Some units can also show television on a split screen. Who knows what else they can do?