North Korea says its Android smartphone is home grown
North Korea claims the AS1201 Arirang is made from "indigenous" parts but may actually be manufactured in China.
North Korea has introduced its own smartphone in the form of an Android-powered AS1201 Arirang. Named after a Korean folk song, the phone is reported to be manufactured in North Korea using "indigenous technology".
The Arirang made its debut on state-controlled KCNA TV when the government mouthpiece showed images of Kim Jong-un visiting a "cell phone factory".
As one might expect, not everyone buys the claims of a phone being built in North Korea. For example, the tech site North Korea Tech Blog posits that the Arirang is likely manufactured in China before being boxed up in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Save for its "high in pixels" camera, we don't know much about what kind of user experience the Arirang phone offers. Taking a closer look at the device, we see what appears to be a stock Android build, likely a generation or two behind Android 4.3 Jelly Bean.
Of course the Arirang probably won't be of much service to many North Koreans, as the country places tight restrictions on Internet use.