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North Korea's Kim Jong Un praises country's new smartphone

By Katie Hunt, for CNN
August 13, 2013 -- Updated 1222 GMT (2022 HKT)
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un inspects production of new touch-screen mobile phones.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un inspects production of new touch-screen mobile phones.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • North Korea has begun producing its own smartphones
  • Pictures emerge after leader Kim Jong Un inspects factory
  • The phones feature a touch screen and a "high pixel" camera.
  • Commentator questions North Korea's ability to produce such technology

Hong Kong (CNN) -- North Korea has begun producing its own smartphones, the country's state-run news agency KCNA has reported, even though most residents' access to the Internet and telephone networks is severely limited.

Pictures of the smartphone emerged after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visited the factory where the devices are made.

Branded "Arirang" after a Korean folk song, the phones feature a touch screen and a "high pixel" camera.

What do you give a North Korean leader?

Kim said it was "nice" to see phones being made with local technology, adding that the mass-production of goods with a North Korean trademark would instill national pride.

A close-up of the North Korean touch-screen mobile phone.
A close-up of the North Korean touch-screen mobile phone.

However, there was skepticism about North Korea's ability to produce such technology.

Martyn Williams, the editor of the North Korea Tech website, said that the phones were probably made in China and shipped to the factory where they are inspected before going on sale.

"Workers are shown with finished products, inspecting them and testing them but no actual manufacturing is shown," he said on the website.

The KCNA report said production began a "few days ago."

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