While North Korea originally trumpeted the indigenous technology of their Arirang AS1201 Android phone, turns out it's actually the spitting image of China's Uniscope U1201. The images were posted by Japan's Blog of Mobile, as GSM Insider explains —

The images obtained from Japanese source revealed that the Arirang AS1201 is actually based on the Uniscope U1201 or the Uniscope U1201 is based on the Arirang AS1201. Of course, we are not sure which one was built first. We assume that the Arirang AS1201 is based on Uniscope U1201 and built by the Chinese firm.

There are minor differences, including branding, but otherwise it's too close to call. Both include the same 960x540 display, 1GHz Spreadtrum LC8810 processor, 4GB of solid-state storage, and 8 megapixel and 2 megapixel cameras, front and back.

What this all means and why it even exists remains a mystery, but feel free to jump into your mind palace and speculate away in the comments!

Source: Blog of Mobile via GSM Insider

 
There are 34 comments

NoNexus says:

It means a shit country copied a cheap Chinese phone, dare I say espionage?

Nah it just means that the Chinese are building the phone for the North Koreans.

The bigger question is where is the kit Kat updates for galaxy devices on Verizon?

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You really should see the crap I don't post. Sorry if honesty offends you

rkopsie says:

Most likely, China copied. Usually the case.

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Johnny Blake says:

China copied DPRK? Doubtful. But why does North Korea need its own smartphone?? One would assume that state officials would simply import directly from China. The people of North Korea would have little use for smartphones, I think. Surely they're not going to mass export DPRK made Android phones because who would buy them? China? Only if they're cheaper than the Chinese phones.
Posted from my Motorola Moto G

eahinrichsen says:

The people have no use for this whatsoever. DPRK does this kind of thing all the time. They trumpet about things they've created and invented and built within their own borders. It's just an attempt to get attention and make it sound like the country is more prosperous and economically viable than it is.

Thumbs up for mind palace reference.

Even if the name are too similar....
My guess is that one of the companies employees is working for multiple companies and pretending to be a really smart engineer when all their doing is copying from the other company
I dont know what company copied who because, well I just don't my mind palace is empty ;(
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TheDu9du says:

My take is that they both outsourced their design team and thus that designed team thought it would be funny to sell them both the same design.
Happens a lot with cheerleading choreographies, plays, commercials, etc.

Johnny Blake says:

That's actually a clever assertion.

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TomW093 says:

What Bizarro world is this that Rene is writing articles for Android Central?

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BB_Bmore says:

+1 Mind blown

Mike

eahinrichsen says:

It's amazing. You'd think that these guys all worked for the same company or something.

benhaube says:

That Uniscope is running touchwiz. I smell a lawsuit coming on!

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Johnny Blake says:

That's the app launcher icon for ICS and Jelly Bean, not the square used by TouchWiz which is unchangeable within TouchWiz.

Posted from my Motorola Moto G

The other icons are a direct copy of the old TouchWiz, and that is probably what he was referring to.

Got Nexus?

dextorboot says:

Touchwiz has no problems crossing the 38th parallel.

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benhaube says:

Yeah that's what I was referring to. I use mainly vanilla android devices so those icons are the first thing that stood out to me. I forgot that the touchwiz launcher has the app drawer icon all the way to the right.

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eahinrichsen says:

Whoops, double post.

mkashen says:

This phone is known as the Alilang outside of the Asian market.

I want one of these phones made in NORTH Korea. :) It's so rare... but is it legal for us to buy it and use it in the US?

Just think about it... there will be less than 10 people in the entire USA who own this phone.... while there are thousands or Rolls-Royce and Bently cars that cost over $250,000 in the US.

You need to get out more

Posted via my HTC M8

abbott says:

That, and I'm sure these phones are bugged to the teeth, would North Korea let a phone within it's borders that's not?

izzyizzo says:

Me too. Like they say, North Korea Is Best Korea. But you'd probably have to register it on a China knockoff network, like KT&T or E-Mobile.

izzyizzo says:

I wonder if it's worse to have spyware from the NSA or DPRK...?

Maybe the North Koreans outsource their spyware development to the NSA.

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It's one and the same. NSA has backdoor access to all DPRK spyware, so you're good to go. :)

someguy01234 says:

Good point.

izzyizzo says:

Now that's what I call security.

zackmack7 says:

How long has Rene been doing articles on AC? Or have I just not noticed?

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BigDinCA says:

He sometimes posts under the nom de plume Phil Nickinson. Or Edward Nickinson. I don't remember which.

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zackmack7 says:

ahhh

Most likely, China copied. Usually the case.
http://sm-phone.blogspot.com/

retsaw says:

Although the Chinese copy a lot, I'm not sure why they'd copy a crappy north Korean phone. It is more likely the DPRK paid a Chinese manufacturer to build it with the branding they wanted and just claimed they made it themselves.

What confuses me about this is why anyone thinks this is newsworthy. (In case you are worrying why I would read and comment on an article I don't think is newsworthy, I do have a bit too much time on my hands today)

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chowdog13 says:

I'm surprised that the Arirang AS1201 isn't plastered with images of the Dear Leader.

thNoz says:

It has Toshiba guts.

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