About the Author
Dagyum Ji is a senior NK News correspondent based in Seoul. She previously worked for Reuters TV.
North Korea’s Arirang Information Technology Exchange Company has released a preview of its new Arirang 171 smartphone, in a promotional video carried by the state-run outlet the DPRK Today.
The phone is the fifth in the Arirang line of North Korean smartphones to appear in state media and will reportedly be released “before long.”
It is equipped with the Taiwanese-made Helio X20 MT6797 2.6GHz deca (10)-core processor, the DPRK Today reported in the video released on Friday, and runs the Android 7.1.1 Nougat operating system.
State media reports that the phone will feature a 5.5-inch panel with a 1080 x 1980 pixel screen resolution and support for 4K video recording – roughly the same specifications as the Mi Note 3 smartphone released by Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi in September.
The screen is made of high-tempered glass, the report said, and the phone comes in gold, red or black.
It features 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage and comes with a dual-rear camera setup with a 13MP lens and an 8MP front-facing camera.
The release of the Arirang 161 was reported in September last year, and the phone reportedly comes with a built-in fingerprint reader. It featured 32GB of storage and 4.7 inch-screen – the same as Apple’s iPhone 6.
The Arirang IT Exchange Company reportedly runs a dedicated store on Pyongyang’s Ryomyong Street, selling around 20 kinds of electronic products including TVs, computers, tablet PCs, audio speakers, and walkie-talkies, state-run outlet Dawn reported last December.
Phone accessories such as cell phone cases and portable batteries are also on sale, photos provided by the outlet showed.
Another dedicated store is located at Terminal 1 of Pyongyang’s Sunan International Airport.
DPRK state media has in recent years reported on the growth of a domestic smartphone market, with numerous brands now reportedly available in the country.
The growth in smartphone popularity has also led to a growth in mobile app development. Earlier in the month, state media reported that the Samhung IT Exchange Company was now selling apps through “700 branches and agencies.”
The company has in recent years rolled out a number of games and programs, including the anti-Japanese “Samurai Hunting” 3D shooting game for mobile, the Netflix-style service “My Companion 4.0” for smartphone and tablet PC users, and the “Fellow Traveler 1.0″ navigation program.
The phone is set to be released soon, state media says
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured Image: DPRK Today screen grab