North Korea launches smartphone, origins questioned

Does North Korea's home-grown smartphone live up to expectations?
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

North Korea says it has produced its first home-grown smartphone, but experts suggest it may have been produced elsewhere.

State-sponsored media the KCNA says that during a factory tour, leader Kim Jong-un was shown the "Arirang" -- described as a "hand phone" apparently being manufactured at the factory.

In a healthy dose of propaganda, the KCNA said the North Korean leader "appreciated the creative ingenuity and patriotic enthusiasm" displayed by employees preparing the "solid foundation for mass-producing hand phones."

The device appeared to run on Google's Android operating system. The news agency also said the camera function has "high pixels."

KCNA claims that the Arirang phones "are high in demand among people, he [Kim Jong Un] said he was also pleased as they are liked by people," and "mass-production of goods with DPRK trademark can instil national pride and self-respect into the Korean people."

While the news agency says Kim Jong Un thinks it is "nice to see hand phones being successfully produced with indigenous technology," experts remain unconvinced about the smartphone's origins.

Martyn Williams, an expert on North Korean technology, says that the Arirang smartphone was unlikely to be produced in the 'Hermit Kingdom.' In the same manner as North Korea's Samjiyon tablet, which was later found to be a product of Hong Kong.

As there was no evidence of actual manufacturing, the device was "probably made to order by a Chinese manufacturer and shipped to the May 11 Factory where they are inspected before going on sale."


Image credit: KCNA

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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