First look: Inside North Korea’s latest ‘Samjiyon’ tablet device

Angry birds, basketball games, tanks and other fun on North Korea's latest iPad-style device
June 24th, 2013
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SEOUL – North Korea’s latest Android-based ‘Samjiyon’ tablet, runs a version of Angry Birds, an arcade basketball game, features books praising Kim Jong Un as the next Paektusan general and carries a web browser but no WiFi.

NK News was lucky enough to get hold of one of the latest models, complete with the original protective film over the screen and factory-standard Micro SD card. This model debuted this Autumn, and is the third North Korean tablet to have been launched.

The tablet runs a version of Google’s Android operating system, although many features (such as WiFi) are missing. The Samjiyon comes with a very useful Korean-English dictionary and various other educational tools.

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The default background shows a picture of the device with an optional keyboard accessory, and the North Korean Unha rocket that launched a satellite into orbit earlier this year. It also comes with a front and back camera, and an extendable aerial that can receive North Korean television (within the country).

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GAMES

Angry Birds was available on the first Samjiyon, and ships as standard, here repackaged as Slingshot:

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Another game is Tank War, that appears to be a repackaging of a Chinese game of the same theme. The object is to shoot tanks, some of which drop power-ups that can be used to improve the users ‘tank’:

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Samjiyon also ships with Defense War, another combat-themed game:

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A simple basketball game, where the user flicks balls into a hoop, is also included.

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BOOKS

A micro SD card full of PDFs ships with the unit. One of the books is an “etiquette” book for children, and includes information about the ‘Dear Leaders’. Kim Jong Un is mentioned alongside Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung as a fellow Paektusan general.

The textbooks are displayed using something not too dissimilar to Apple’s iBooks software:

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Instructions for schoolchildren regarding the proper way to queue:

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Another book is full with creative instructions for children:

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That includes instructions for drawing red flags:

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And how to make best use of the full color palette:

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The military theme continues in the section on clay modelling – North Korean sources told NK News that they had modeled some of the below figures when at school in the 1990s:

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All images: NK News

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About the Author

James Pearson

James Pearson (@pearswick) is the NK News Seoul Correspondent.

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