Skip to main content

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."

North Korean Mass Games: Why this year they're different

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
July 2, 2014 -- Updated 2225 GMT (0625 HKT)
As diplomats discuss a string of unsolved kidnappings of Japanese citizens by North Korea, the families of those abducted anxiously wait and hope.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 2357 GMT (0757 HKT)
When President Xi Jinping arrives in Seoul this week, the Chinese leader will have passed over North Korea in favor of its arch rival.
July 1, 2014 -- Updated 0313 GMT (1113 HKT)
North Korea says it plans to prosecute two American tourists that it detained earlier this year, accusing them of "perpetrating hostile acts."
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 2338 GMT (0738 HKT)
North Korea proposed that "all hostile military activities" with South Korea be halted, but it attached conditions that Seoul is likely to reject.
June 27, 2014 -- Updated 0023 GMT (0823 HKT)
North Korean state news is reporting the country test-launched "cutting-edge ultra precision tactical guided missiles."
June 25, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
James Franco won't be following Dennis Rodman into North Korea anytime soon.
June 13, 2014 -- Updated 1104 GMT (1904 HKT)
Don't you hate it when the weatherman gets it wrong? Apparently, so does Kim Jong Un.
June 5, 2014 -- Updated 2344 GMT (0744 HKT)
New signs show Russia and North Korea are developing a closer relationship.
May 22, 2014 -- Updated 0012 GMT (0812 HKT)
Photographer Eric Lafforgue visited North Korea and shares his inside look at the most isolated country in the world.
May 13, 2014 -- Updated 0125 GMT (0925 HKT)
Many North Koreans listen to illegal broadcasts on homemade radios, some are convinced to defect.
May 8, 2014 -- Updated 1926 GMT (0326 HKT)
Jang Jin-Sung, a North Korean defector and former regime insider, speaks with CNN's Christiane Amanpour.
May 13, 2014 -- Updated 1406 GMT (2206 HKT)
iReporter Kenny Zhu visited North Korea in April and was able to take video footage and photos with his Google Glass during the trip.
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 1842 GMT (0242 HKT)
North Korea loves saber-rattling. Here's a look at all the firepower they have stockpiled.
April 24, 2014 -- Updated 0003 GMT (0803 HKT)
CNN's Elise Labott reports on the new baby pictures of Kim Jong Un released by North Korean state media.
April 2, 2014 -- Updated 1127 GMT (1927 HKT)
Experts warn that under Kim Jong Un's rule, Pyongyang has shown an even greater willingness to raise the stakes than before.
March 18, 2014 -- Updated 1314 GMT (2114 HKT)
China and North Korea criticize a U.N. report that found crimes against humanity committed in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
March 17, 2014 -- Updated 1205 GMT (2005 HKT)
Megumi Yokota was only 13 when she was abducted by a North Korean agent in the 1970s. What happened after that?
March 12, 2014 -- Updated 0430 GMT (1230 HKT)
Report: North Korea uses multiple techniques to defy sanctions, and shows no signs of abandoning its nuclear missile programs.
ADVERTISEMENT