Kim Jong-un

'Arirang' handset produced using 'indigenous technology,' says state media

Funny thing about an open-source operating system -- it can show up in the most unexpected of places. North Korea has unveiled its own Android smartphone through its state-controlled KCNA TV news channel, which recently showed supreme leader Kim Jong-un visiting a "cell phone factory."

Dubbed "AS1201 Arirang" after a Korean folk song, North Korea says its smartphone is manufactured using "indigenous technology." Yet on the phone's screen you can clearly see the stock Android UI, as developed by Google in Mountain View, Calif.

Arirang phone

The KCNA said of Kim's visit to the factory --

He learned in detail about the performance, quality and packing of “Arirang” hand phone being made at this factory.

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.

However observers have cast doubt on whether the secretive communist country is actually manufacturing the devices itself. The North Korea Tech Blog notes that it's more likely the "Arirang" is actually manufactured in neighboring China before being boxed up in the DPRK.

Of course the device is unlikely to be of much use to North Korea's impoverished population, most of which is forbidden from accessing the Internet due to strict controls on their media consumption and contact with the outside world.

Oddly enough, it's not the first time Android gadgets have shown up in North Korea, nor is it the country's only connection to Google. An Android-powered tablet was shown at a trade show in the capital city of Pyongyang late last year. And back in January Google chairman Eric Schmidt visited the country on what was described as a "private humanitarian mission."

Source: Sky News, North Korea Tech Blog

 

Reader comments

North Korea unveils Android smartphone

100 Comments

Ha. Can't wait for some engineers to get a hold of one of these and find out what kind of spying software is installed on these phones.

But here I can call Obama an idiot and don't have to worry about my family being shipped off to a "Camp".

... And yet he can still call Obama an idiot without having to worry about his family being shipped off to a "Camp".

This is very interesting that you mention this. I am VERY opinionated politically, and have posted many rants on Facebook. Few weeks ago I got a letter from the IRS saying I owed them money from 2011...I have NEVER been audited etc, and they "found" a mistake I made (due to lack of proper paperwork), and zinged me for over $500.00 lol.

It is for sure because of what you posted on Facebook. I suggest you start building your shack in the woods now.

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It's even more interestinger that I keep my head down and maintain a low profile politically, and last year I got much the same letter from the IRS telling me I owed them $1100! You'd almost think they were doing their job and auditing at random or something!

Of course because the NSA and CIA don't do that on us stupid democratic people right?

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Well there is definitely a difference between scanning call logs for numbers associated with known terrorists and installing spying software on phones that could say, possibly record and report your conversations and location history.

One is questionable, the other is a blatant violation of privacy.

All of which are currently being done by the NSA and GCHQ lol :( they probably need to spy on phones less in NK... The only people who can afford/are allowed high-tech devices are rich and powerful. Which automatically makes you more trustworthy...

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Sounds like the US. Rich and powerfull equals trustworthy and smarter.

And as much would like to think so when the other party is in power in washington. The US government is nothing like north korea.

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The only difference between the US federal government and North Korea is that North Korea gets their people to love their government the old fashioned way. The US government is a lot more charismatic, but no less intrusive and debilitating to human rights.

In one group of countries though, there is an expectation of privacy in the DPRK I don't think they have that luxury. For all we know, the picture of Kim Yong they have to hang in their living rooms has a camera and microphone built into it.

There should be a lot to read there.

Note he has three (count em, 3) writers, ready to take down every word. The harder they try, the sillier they look.

And to think that sometimes we have it bad paying too much for cell service or complaining about updates...

Living in North Korea has to be horrible...

"Indigenous technologies"? Lol, North Korea is so original. I bet that thing is packed with spying software even worse than what the NSA is pulling off.

At least we know North Korea hurts people. USA on the other hand use a black guy to say they are not racist only to promote hate, religious propaganda and racism around the globe. I think North Korea case is clear, bad guys all around. USA on the other hand a wolf in sheep's clothing.

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LOL -- "Indigenous technologies"?

So the OS is Google's and the phone is made in China ... what exactly has North Korea done here?

They will probably say that Kim wrote the code and designed the most powerfull smartphone himself in one afternoon. And its 100 times faster than anyother smartphone.
Like scoring 18 on a PGA course

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No, Putin discovered the ancient alien Android technology while snorkeling in the Arctic ocean, dressed in only a speedo. He immediately modified it to run on the internet using Al Gore's original designs for the Internet (which Putin stole during a state visit). Chinese hackers were them able to use the Internet to steal Putin's new design, inventing the first truly smart phone. The Supreme Leader of the Universe (which mysteriously resembles North Korea) then revealed to China that he is the alien that seeded Smart Phone technology into our planet. Kim then took this technology he gave himself via Russia & China & planned it in the NSA labs, where, upon discovery, it was planned in Google labs, where Steve Jobs finally invented the smart phone. This is how North Korea deployed their sophisticated spy network, which poses as Facebook. Every time you like something on Facebook, you are actually liking the Supreme Leader, giving him the power he needs to continue his galactic domination. We're all just pawns...

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Not quite. Chuck Norris was just a weak, western imperialist wimp until Kim Jong-Un invented his beard and gave him great power.

If they get Music before Canada, I'm gonna hurl something at the first target I see and rage-quit whatever I was going.

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Wait, what's Pat the Baker doing there?
Did Glorious Leader bring him in to ensure his supply of snack cakes is uninterrupted?

Whoever scooped me on the reddit submission you suck. This article is made of karma

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Reminds me of the Penis phone that Venezuela put out a few years ago. The concept not the actual phone

Why are the military touring the phone factory with the Dear Leader, N. Korean Edition? What notes could they possibly be taking? "320x240. Very impressive."

They have to keep their citizens poor and uneducated. Otherwise, there will be NO ONE to believe this line of BS. Seriously, how brainwashed are these people to believe there leaders, and not revolt? I guess when all you know is crap, crap seems like a good thing.
And in regards to the NSA references, it's nothing compared to NK. We can access the internet. We can look up (pretty much) whatever we want. We can say (pretty much) whatever we want. We can badmouth our president and other leaders, and nothing will happen to us, unless we cross a(n admittedly vague) line, and make direct threats. North Koreans will end up dead or in prison camps until they are dead if they even appear to do anything we take for granted. Our government is far from perfect, but I'll take it over "glorious leader" any day.

there you go apple! another mobile phone you can sue for having rectangular shape and maybe not so rounded corner, but yeah apple go for it!!hahaha.

Actually, it did....free land-lines was started under a previous president.....all part of the same freebies for deadbeats package , but freebie cells was added to that package under the Obama administration.

The 2nd box from the end isn't lined up with the other boxes.... Someone's probably gonna get shot over that. Bummer :-(

lol, did you see "The Dictator"? *spoiler alert* He kept sending people to be executed, only to find out they were all sent to America, and he never really killed anyone. It was f'ing hilarious, and you only have to see his weiner once, which is a record for a Sacha Baron Cohen movie.

great...now everywhere on the internet i go , i'll be hearing from the sheep about how ANDROID is helping north koreas nuclear war or something.

Just so everyone understands, you can't call outside of North Korea on cell phones, and nobody can call into it. It will be a nice tool for people knowing what is really going on inside their own country though.

I don't care where you're from or how silly you run a country, as long as you got Android in your pocket!
Long live Android!

I pitty the poor NK sap who roots this bad boy without first obtaining permission from the supreme leader.

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