North Korea Launches its Own Android Smartphone

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Posted 3 years ago

North Korea Launches its Own Android SmartphoneNorth Korea – the world’s most secretive country – is known for relying on its own resources as much as possible. This reliance has meant that citizens looking to join the smartphone revolution have had to illegally import handsets from China – until now. It has been revealed by North Korea’s KCNA that the country is releasing its own smartphone, for the people of the country.

According to the news outlet, the new mobile device is named the AS1201 “Arirang” after a famous North Korean folk song, and is designed to be more accessible thanks to government approval and affordability.

Pictures emerged of Kim Jong-Un touring the May 11 Factory where production is taking place and inspecting the phone, which is claimed to be made with “indigenous technology”. The officially released photos, shown by the guys over at North Korea Tech, revealed the device will run a version of Android. No actual specifications of the phone were released however, the AS1201 Arirang is said to be a touchscreen handset, with a camera that features “high pixels”.

KCNA says that development of the smartphone has been going on for two years and Kim first visited the factory with his late father, Kim Jong II.

Speaking about the phone, Kim Jong-Un was quoted as saying he “highly appreciated the creative ingenuity and patriotic enthusiasm with which the officials and employees of the factory laid a solid foundation for mass-producing hand phones by building a new modern hand phone production process.”

Interestingly, no photos of the phone actually being produced were released, leading many people to believe that the story is more classic North Korean propaganda. North Korea Tech suggested that China might actually be taking care of the manufacturing before shipping devices into North Korea. This does seem more realistic given the lack of hardware experience and expertise in the country, but I guess we’ll never know.

The Arirang will reportedly be sold through Koryolink, a joint venture between Korea Post and Telecommunications Corporation and Orascom Telecom, an Egyptian company. The phone will also give Android a foothold in yet another market – one that it probably never expected!

– Anthony Carter

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