North Korea claims to have domestically manufactured a smart phone, a device called the Arirang, which appears to use a version of Android as its operating system.
The state-run Korean Central News Agency released photos of Kim Jong Un touring a facility where the phones are supposedly made. (Notice that nothing resembling manufacturing is going on in the photos.)
According to KCNA, Kim Jong Un praised the “high pixels” of the phone’s camera function and predicted that the “hand phone” would “instill national pride and self-respect” in the North Korean people. Though the manufacture of the phones began “a few days ago,” according to the report, Kim Jong Un believes they are in “high demand.”
Martyn Williams, the editor of a website on North Korean technology, says the phones were likely produced in China and shipped to the factory.
Cell phones were introduced into North Korea in 2008 thanks to a partnership with the Egyptian telecom firm Orascom, but subscribers are limited to making domestic calls. Presumably anyone purchasing an “Arirang” would be prohibited from using it to surf the worldwide web.