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View more articles by Chad O'Carroll
Chad O'Carroll has written on North Korea since 2010 and writes between London and Seoul.
North Korean State media outlet KCNA today reported on the growing popularity of its very own iPad clone, a “PAD” computer device otherwise known as “Achim” (아침), or “Morning”. The North Korean iPad clone is reportedly enjoying popularity with students, allowing users to use specially designed programs in Korean, English and Russian. Unlike the iPad, it operates just five hours on full charge (compared to ten), presumably due to the low-price components being used in its manufacture.
“Users can get teaching materials, references, dictionaries and scientific data in this multi-functional PAD.
Ri Yong Suk, a teacher at Pyongyang Secondary School No. 1, told KCNA that the PAD is helpful to improving education and developing students’ intellectual faculties.”
It is impossible to tell from the report or pictures what operating system the unit runs on, but the DPRK has been known for producing its own “Red Star” (Linux variant) OS software in the past for other platforms. Might this Achim unit be running on a variant of “Red Star”?
Always weary about new challengers to its iPad market (see the ongoing Apple vs. Samsung legal fracas), was it just coincidence that Apple’s shares were down today following the news? Probably, but let’s North Korea doesn’t fall victim to further litigation from Apple surrounding “design similarities” between its Achim unit and the iPad. After all, Apple’s California based lawyers won’t have much of a chance in the North Korean courts.
This is not the first time that North Korea has made headlines for the production of its own indigenous range of IT hardware, with news of the “Samjiyeon” tablet computer’s recent launch emerging in a number of international media just last month.
Click here to read about North Korea’s first blogger: “The Blogger in Pyongyang”