The latest models of North Korea’s domestically-produced “Jindallae” brand of smartphones now feature artificial intelligence (AI) and facial recognition technology, the state-run DPRK Today reported Tuesday.
The “Jindallae 6” and “Jindallae 7” — named after the Korean rhododendron flower — use biometric identification technology such as “fingerprint, voice, and face, and text recognition… guaranteeing high accuracy,” an advertisement carried by the online outlet said.
The phone can recognize the user’s voice and transform it into text, it continued, for the purposes of “managing business, memos, and contact.”
“Various types of ‘Jindallae’ smartphones, currently being developed and produced by Mangyongdae Information Technology Corporation, have been earning popularity since their launching due to their unique appearance, function, and convenience,” the article said.
One of the ads featured in the article shows what appears to be a user unlocking the phone through fingerprint and facial recognition, as well as a picture of the phone’s cameras recognizing the characters in a piece of text.
The latest models are the first new iterations of the brand since the launch of the “Jindallae 3” back in 2017. State media has yet to report on the brand’s fourth and fifth iterations.
Photos show that the latest “Jindallae” models come in various colors as well, such as pink, purple, green, and black.
A notable difference in design, compared to the earlier “Jindallae 3” model, is the removal of the home button — a move in keeping with a global trend seen in multiple mobile phone brand models, including the Apple iPhone X, in recent years.
News of the new models’ features follows reports last year in which AI and facial recognition technology were prominently featured at Pyongyang’s National Exhibition of IT Success.
Tuesday’s DPRK Today article reported that the “Jindallae” is produced by the Mangyongdae Information Technology Corporation, said to be developing “communication products, operating system (OS) development technology, automation and flexible manufacturing system technology, biometric identification technology… and amusement software development technology.”
Scientists and technicians, it claimed, are “developing diverse IT products both meaningful in building the powerful socialist country and in high demand in the international market,” suggesting that the products may be aimed at foreigners.
North Korean outlets often boast of the “Jindallae” models as being an “our-style smartphone” that the North Korean scientists and technicians of Mangyongdae Information Technology Corporation developed “through our own power and technology.”
But despite frequent North Korean claims of a booming domestic smartphone sector, previous reports have suggested that many models are primarily manufactured in China.
The new smartphones unveiled this week also hint at some foreign inspiration — at least when it comes to design.
The “Jindallae 6,” for example, shares many design features with Samsung’s Galaxy S9+, including the location of its cameras and fingerprint scanner, while the “Jindallae 7” model, too, bears a strong resemblance with the Samsung Galaxy A30, launched in April 2019.
Edited by James Fretwell and Oliver Hotham