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DPRKs First Smartphone Based on Google Android OS

Posted: August 15th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: HTC, Technoid Gadget News, Übergadget | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on DPRKs First Smartphone Based on Google Android OS

North Korean SmartphoneThe Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – DPRK aka North Korea, our second favourite peoples republic – has unveiled what it says is its first domestically produced smartphone, although industry analysts say the “Arirang”, built around Google’s Android OS, is most likely made in China.

The Arirang – complete with touch screen, high-pixel camera, and its very own set of apps – is being offered for sale to North Korea’s reported two million mobile phone users, all of whom are prevented from contacting the outside world.

The phone, named after a famous Korean folk song, has already gained the approval of the country’s President, Kim Jong-un, Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency – KCNA – reported.

Visiting a factory where the phone was said to be produced, Mr Kim was reported to have praised its Korean-style applications, which he says provided best convenience to users while guaranteeing security. State security, that is ::::

North Korean Smartphone via KCNA

While Internet access is virtually non-existent in North Korea, one of the most isolated and censored societies on the planet, the country is not a complete IT desert. Mobile phones were introduced in 2008 through a joint venture with the Egyptian telecom firm Orascom. A domestic Intranet was launched in 2002 and some state bodies have their own websites.

Internal Calls Only

A smartphone is a natural progression for an impoverished country desperate for investment, but in North Korea the economic imperative is always weighed against the potential for social disruption. Subscribers to the country’s sole cell phone system provider, Koryolink, can call each other, but not outside the country.

The Intranet is similarly cut off from the rest of the world, allowing its very limited number of users to exchange state-approved information and little more.

According to KCNA, access to the full-blown Internet is reserved for the super-elite, around 1,000 lucky comrades at most. However, for all the regime’s efforts, the information barrier erected around North Korea has in recent years begun to show cracks.

Smuggled Chinese mobile phones allow people near the border to connect with Chinese servers and make international calls, while re-wired TVs allow access to outside broadcasting.

Factory Tour via KCNA

North Korean Phones ‘Made in China’

The KCNA report on ‘most gracious leader’ Kim’s factory visit noted that the young leader praised the Arirang’s developers for coming up with a product that “provides the best convenience to the users while strictly guaranteeing security”.

KCNA photos of the factory visit show workers with the finished phones, inspecting, testing and packing them. There are no pictures of an actual assembly line.

“Despite KCNA’s reporting that the handsets are made at the factory, they are probably made to order by a Chinese manufacturer and shipped to the factory where they are inspected before going on sale,” said Martyn Williams, who runs the North Korea Tech website.

Steven Millward on the Tech In Asia website reached the same conclusion.

“Possibly, the whole smartphone is made in China, and only the final boxing is done in the rather sparse plant that Kim Jong-Un toured,” Millward said.

In February, a picture of Kim Jong-Un with a smartphone triggered fevered speculation about which brand was favoured by the leader of one of the world’s most repressive nations.

After ruling out an Apple iPhone or a Galaxy from South Korea’s Samsung, the consensus was an HTC phone made in Taiwan.



The North’s Niggley Internet Access

North Korean Internet

RELATED! On the Net in the World’s most Secretive Nation via BBCs David Lee: What’s it like to surf the Internet in the most secretive country on Earth? The short answer is – strange, at least by the rest of the world’s standards. But as North Koreans begin to put their lives at risk just to connect to the outside world, it could mark a dramatic moment in the country’s history.

There’s a curious quirk on every official North Korean website. A piece of programming that must be included in each page’s code.

Its function is straightforward but important. Whenever leader Kim Jong-un is mentioned, his name is automatically displayed ever so slightly bigger than the text around it. Not by much, but just enough to make it stand out.

It’s just one facet of the “internet” in North Korea, a uniquely fascinating place :: Read the full BBC article »»»»

Fidel Castro Sings Praise For North Korea…

ps: happy 87th birthday!

Fidel Castro

Our most favourite revolutionary Fidel Castro has credited North Korea with supplying Cuba with free weapons in the 1980s after the Soviet Union said it could no longer defend the island against an American invasion.

Castro’s reminiscence in an article published Wednesday came as United Nations experts were scrutinizing a shipment of Cuban arms to North Korea to determine if they violated a UN ban.

Castro has dismissed the discovery of the undeclared arms aboard a North Korean freighter – more below -transiting the Panama Canal as an attempt to smear Cuba.

In an article penned by the most beloved former leader today, marking his 87th birthday, Castro did not mention the case but praised North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung for coming to Cuba’s aid near the end of the Cold War :: Read the full article »»»»

North Korea Gets ALL Vocal!

Threatens to Ditch Armistace

North KoreaNorth Korea has threatened to scrap the armistice which ended the Korean War in 1953, citing US moves to impose sanctions for its nuclear test and tensions over South Korean-US exercises.

The threat comes amid reports from the United Nations that China and the United States have reached agreement on new measures to punish the North for last month’s nuclear weapons test.

The North’s military said it could launch a “precise” strike anytime, unrestrained by the armistice. It also warned it could mount a strike with atomic weapons to counter any US nuclear threat.

In a statement on official media yesterday, the military called the joint exercise a “most blatant” provocation and slammed a “vicious” scheme by the US and its allies to push for tougher United Nations sanctions.

The North’s foreign ministry, in a statement carried by state TV on Sunday, rejected suggestions that the impoverished state was using its weapons program as a way of bullying neighbours into offering much-needed aid.

“The US is seriously mistaken if it thinks that [North Korea] had access to nukes as a bargaining chip to barter them for what it called economic reward,” the statement said :: Read the full article »»»»

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source: afp
source: bbc
source: kcna
source: knowyourmobile
source: htc
source: wikipedia

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