This undated picture released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on August 11, 2013 shows a close-up of the new touch-screen mobile phone "Arirang" at the May 11 factory at an undisclosed location in North Korea.
North Korea has itself an allegedly home-grown "hand phone," one that's making the first chairman proud.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (C) inspects the production process of the new touch-screen mobile phone "Arirang" at the May 11 factory, in this photo provided by the KCNA.
According to North Korea's own Korean Central News Agency, the phone, called "Arirang," runs a version of Android. Photographs of the phone reveal a back-facing camera, one that "has high pixels," according to the press release.
KCNA reports that Kim Jong Un toured the May 11 Factory and "highly appreciated the creative ingenuity and patriotic enthusiasm" behind the new devices.
Photographs of the event show the North Korean leader sitting at a table stacked high with new, boxed phones.
While news reports claim the phone has been manufactured at this facility, numerous blogs guess that it's more likely that the phones, like Apple's iPhones and countless Android devices, are made in China and merely boxed locally.
Kim Jong Un sits at a table with what appear to be boxed devices at the May 11 Factory in this photo released by the KCNA.
Even if the people of the republic did line up round the block to buy themselves a new device, it's a puzzle what they'll be able to do with them, as Internet access in Korea is restricted to a handful of government and military leaders.
Recently, the country began allowing foreign visitors to bring in their smartphones, but after one, golden, 3G-enabled month, those were barred from accessing the Internet as well.
Some speculate that the phone would be equipped with spyware to enable the nation to better track its citizens.
Specs of the new North Korean phone weren't provided, but descriptions were. Here's how Apple and North Korea describe their prized devices, respectively, in their marketing materials:
- "Designed in California" - iPhone
- "Mass produced" in North Korea - Arirang
- "There's iPhone. And then there's everything else." - iPhone
- "Very convenient for their users" - Arirang
On the operating system:
- "The world's most advanced mobile operating system … Safety and security by design." - iPhone
- "An application program in Korean style which provides the best convenience to the users while strictly guaranteeing security" - Arirang
On the touch screen:
- "The revolutionary Multi‑Touch interface in iOS was designed for your finger" - iPhone
- "Convenient for its user when that part of the phone is sensitive" - Arirang
On the camera:
- 8 megapixels - iPhone
- "high pixels" - Arirang
On popular demand:
- "Loving it is easy. That's why so many people do." - iPhone
- Kim Jong Un "was pleased as they are liked by people." - Arirang
Nidhi Subbaraman writes about technology and science. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.
First published August 13 2013, 7:17 AM