In the first of our series made in North Korea, we explored the Arirang Smartphone,the first device of its kind in the DPRK. Now, moving on from phones we’re going to explore something new. Once again, it will certainly surprise audiences to hear that North Korea also has its own domestic brand of handheld tablets, the first of which is known as the “Samjiyon Tablet”. Whilst our upcoming blog below is unlikely to get you jumping on the first plane to Pyongyang to trade in your I-Pad, nevertheless it is another sure sign about how life in the country is modernizing!
The Samijyon tablet is a device that was first released in 2012 at the Pyongyang international trade fair. It’s a small tablet (7 inch, 1024 x 768 pixel screen) with a black coating, looking somewhat like a Kindle. However, it doesn’t appear to be lacking in capability, holding a 1.2GHz processor and 1GM RAM, which is actually more than the Samsung tablets of that time. Utilizing what appears to be Android version 4 software, it has a wide variety of apps and games available, including those of a North Korean origin!
Whilst it is fast, modern and seemingly efficient, the Samijyon tablet however has one huge flaw which may put off potential buyers… it doesn’t have any wifi capability at all. The device has a built in behind the scenes programming to connect specifically to North Korea’s intranet network, as well as even having an ability to broadcast live DPRK television, but any attempts to connect to outside networks are disabled! The browser that it comes with titled “web browser” has irremovable bookmarks to North Korea’s state media websites; and that’s about it.
So here you have a tablet that you can’t actually access the internet with. You can play a few games, you can watch North Korean television, you can find out what Kim Jong un is up to and watch all the latest announcements, but you can’t get google apps, you can’t books on it to read, you can’t use your social media and so on. One might even wonder what is even the point of having such a device in the first place? For all the Samjiyon tablet is the sign of a modernising North Korea, it offers very little in practice as to how it can change the way people live. It’s a technological innovation which has been superseded and contained by politics.
Read more about the Samjiyon tablet on specialist website North Korea tech.