Time for another segment from our favourite techy source the Gadget Show! This time its a battle between London and Seoul, West vs East.
At the beginning of the segment, Suzi talks about how the West always seems to be months and even years behind the East in getting all the new tech, but they believe that the West are starting to close this technological gap. To test this theory, Suzi and the legendary Jon Bentley battle it out, comparing 3 key technological aspects between Seoul and London…
This segment is actually from over 2 years ago so obviously with advancing technology, a lot of the details are different. But how much have we really advanced in the past few years? Have we managed to catch up to the most connected city in the world?
First up Suzi brings broadband to the table, during the time of this segment, the average broadband speed that Britain was experiencing was 3.6mb; speeds of up to 50mb was available but at a very costly price. Cut to Mr Bentley over in Seoul where in 1995, the South Korean Government thought broadband was the way to go and invested billions on its infrastructure resulting in capital experiencing standard speeds of 50-100mbs with Jon’s interpreter claiming to have speeds of 1000mb for under £10 a month. Flash forward a few years and currently with BT having invested over 1.5bn to get faster broadband speeds to 10 million homes across the UK by 2012, the top speed available is 100mb but still extremely limited depending on your location and at a costly £35 + £10 line rental. So, still no where near the standard of Seoul a couple years back. We can only imagine that Seoul got better and even if it didn’t advance at all in the last years, its still light years ahead of Britain and at a much more accessible price… In the mean time, the price of my up-to 20mb speed tariff has gone up in price and I can still only get about half that speed in my rather central location…
Next up is mobile phone tech. Now I’m not 100% sure as to when this segment was filmed, but there is no mention of the iPhone which seems like such an ancient time. Back when this segment was filmed, THE mobile tech in the Britain at the time was Nokia’s Ovi. Yes, I’m scratching my head too. It’s main feature was file sharing; where you are able to access all your files from the home PC on the move, even if your home computer was switched off. Hmmm, kinda sounds like what Apple is currently trying to do with the whole cloud concept. Jon once again, brings in the mobile tv argument, it may be recycled but still a very relevant point. With most people only receiving the 5 terrestrial channels a couple of years ago, Korea’s mobile TV of 12 free channels seems ridiculously futuristic especially with the fact that it was readily available on Seoul’s subway system. Previous post about mobile TV here. And now, with Samsung being one of the main contenders to Apple, South Korea shows that it is able to keep up with the times and have the resources to executive ideas efficiently, leaving the once almighty Nokia trying to catch up in between candy bar phones.
Last but not least, the category was Ultimate Gadget. Personally to me, this round was a bit lame. Jon’s selected the electric toilet to represent Seoul in this round when the hi tech toilet was always the symbol for futuristic Japan. But saying that, the first hi tech toilet from the East arrived here not that long ago at a Japanese restaurant in London, Holborn. (I know this as I was asked if I wanted to be one of the very first few users and have my experience documented… I sadly had to refuse having been to Japan before). To represent London, Suzi brought in the sWaP watch. At the time it was exclusive to the UK, it was a watch which combined a mobile, music and video player with a touch screen. Suzy claimed this was the future of high quality converged mobile communication. Yes it would have been cool to all be talking into our watches looking like 007, but I think we can all agree that the current age of smart phones especially the iPhone is a lot more practical.
So back then the technological gap was still quite wide, but coming up to 2012, has London managed to close the gap at all? It seems that the East is still fairly far ahead but with Apple coming from America, the West is starting to give the East a run for their money!
For link to video click image above or here : Gadget Show archive