I've been in Seoul, South Korea for the past week covering the gripping Go face-off between human champion Lee Se-dol and DeepMind AI AlphaGo, and it's been endlessly fascinating. There wasn't a game today, though, so I headed on down to the arty student district of Hongdae to do some drone shopping. What else?
Market leader DJI opened its first ever store outside of China — and second ever store in the world — just two days ago here, after first announcing plans in January. The opening also came two days after The Verge reviewed DJI's new flagship consumer drone, the Phantom 4, calling it "the first drone for everyone" because of its radical autonomous features.
The store is not what I would call mindblowing — it's very much in the minimalist Apple-inspired tradition for vanity tech retail. And the whirring of propellers aside, it was pretty quiet on my visit, though maybe that's to be expected for a new store on a Monday afternoon.
But it is an architecturally neat way for DJI to show off both its range of drones and the things they're capable of. And while drones are still legislatively controversial, placing slick stores in global cities could be helpful for demystifying the technology.
Oh, and I didn't buy anything in the end — but I'm thinking I might go back tomorrow to fix that.