Origins of Arirang ‘hand phone’ questioned by experts

Kim Jong-Rung? North Korea reveals self-produced ‘hand phone’

North Korea’s state media yesterday released details of its first home-produced smartphone, following a similar launch of a tablet last year.

Referred to as a ‘hand phone’, the Arirang handset was demonstrated to North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un as he toured a factory. Named after a popular folk song, the phone’s camera was praised by Kim Jong-un for its ‘high pixels’, while the Korean Central News Agency gave some specifications, including ‘an application program in Korean style which provides the best convenience for the users while guaranteeing security’ and ‘convenient for its user when that part of the phone is sensitive’.

While some experts believe that the phone, like the North Korean produced Samjiyon tablet last year, may in fact originate from China, Kim Jong-Un apparently commented on ‘how nice [it is] to see hand phones being successfully produced with indigenous technology’, ‘adding it is of educational significance in making people love Korean things.’

North Korea has only had a national mobile network since 2008, but mobiles cannot access the Internet or dial internationally, with many turning to illegal alternatives in order to contact those outside of the secretive country.

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