TECH

North Korea Launching Home-Grown 'Arirang' Smartphone (PICTURES)

12/08/2013 14:40 BST | Updated 12/10/2013 10:12 BST
KCNA

It's already got a home-grown tablet, now North Korea is preparing to launch its own brand of smartphone.

According to KCNA, the foreign arm of the country's state news agency, leader Kim Jong Un recently visited the factory where the "Arirang" phone is being built.

And we would have never guessed, but KCNA is pretty convinced it's a winner.

It reports that the phones "will be very convenient for their users as their camera function has high pixels".

The news agency added that Kim Jong Un took a strong interest in the phone, saying that "he learned in detail about the performance, quality and packing of "Arirang" hand phone being made at this factory".

kcna

"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.

He praised them for developing an application program in Korean style which provides the best convenience to the users while strictly guaranteeing security.

After learning about the performance of a touch hand phone, he said that a hand phone is convenient for its user when that part of the phone is sensitive."

Jong-Un added that the phones made in North Korea and stamped with the "DPRK Trademark" will "instil national pride and self-respect into the Korean people" - which is not dissimilar in some respects to the logic of making the Moto X in the USA. However, whether the phone really is made in North Korea is an open question. The recently announced North Korean tablet is reportedly made by a Chinese contractor, and not inside North Korea.

The phone also has a darker side, since it will be honed to "strictly guarantee security" and will not offer anything like free access to the internet.

kcna

Jong-Un concluded:

"How nice to see hand phones being successfully produced with indigenous technology, he said, adding it is of educational significance in making people love Korean things.

He said that only when the quality of products is improved while boosting their production, people will like home-made things and they will be in high demand."

We will of course be requesting a review unit, but don't hold your breath.

For obvious reasons it also remains unclear how many of the North Korean population will be able to get hold of a phone, since the average wage is roughly $100 a month in the isolated country.