Pioneering Venture Firm JTEL Eyes Chinese, U.S. PDA Market

Article excerpt

PalmPilot V, a popular digital organizer developed by U.S.-based 3Com, is generating a slew of buzzwords about the so-called ``palm computing.'' But the sleek, pocket-size device has yet to make its debut in Korea.

To that end, PalmPilot has to navigate past a small yet powerful Korean rival -- CellVic.

CellVic, an ambitious product by the domestic venture firm JTEL, is widely regarded as the frontrunner in the field here. What's more, CellVic plans to pounce on the huge Chinese and U.S. markets.

``We are now talking with Chinese partners to implement a full-fledged marketing plan for China. For the U.S. market, we are in talks with an influential distributor to introduce CellVic,'' Shin Dong-hoon, president and CEO of JTEL told The Korea Times yesterday.

Shin said CellVic has a competitive edge in both markets, even compared with the much-vaunted PalmPilot. ``Since we developed our own technology to develop CellVic, the price is lower than other products, which will help boost sales in overseas markets,'' he said.

CellVic is priced at 200,000 won ($163) while PalmPilot V has a price tag of $300. Despite the price gap, Shin claimed that both digital organizers show a comparable level of functions and performance.

CellVic, which debuted here late last year, weighs 140g and is 15.7 mm thick. The pen-based gadget has a memory that stores more than 10,000 addresses, thousands of memos and 10 years worth of scheduler data.

It is also powered to exchange data with PCs and download the latest games and applications from the JTEL Internet website (www.jtel.com). ``Users can upgrade their systems for other languages, which is simple and easy,'' Shin said.

A particularly notable feature is CellVic's Asian language compatibility, which offers seamless operation in Korean, Japanese and Chinese, he explained.

But a high-powered PDA (personal digital assistant) does not always guarantee market viability. Shin knows the tricky mechanisms of the market and is betting on the homegrown technology and a low price to aid exports.

In contrast, the nation's leading electronics makers started investing in the PDA technology earlier on, but they have yet to make profits out of the yet-to- be-popularized products. …