July 11th, 2008
06:29 AM GMT
HONG KONG - For Yin Ho, fame was instantaneous.
The first in line, Ho was mobbed Friday by the hordes of press covering the launch of the iPhone 3G here in Hong Kong. And he was enjoying the glory, posing with an enormous grin for the camera, first with a sample phone, then with his own precious handset.
Hong Kong did not have the queues of Japan or the United States. Carrier Hutchison Telecom had an online lottery to pick the first 500 customers to receive the iPhone. More than 60,000 applied. New iPhones were also given to select friends and loyal customers of the company.
Officially, the new iPhone 3G is the first to be released in Hong Kong. In reality, the original iPhone is everywhere, brought over from the United States or Western Europe and unlocked to run on networks other than Apple's approved service providers. Many of the customers in line for the new phone on Friday proudly showed me their original models. The taxi driver who took us to the launch this morning even had one on his dash.
Critics might complain about the new iPhone's price plans, battery life or features that don't measure up against existing phones on the market in Asia. For the die-hard iPhone fans online this morning in Hong Kong, none of that mattered. They wanted the new phone, for status, for the new features, for its style. And they wanted to tell all their friends they had it first.
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