NORTH KOREA, Jul. 29 (Korea Bizwire) — Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported on July 28 that Azalea 3, the smartphone launched by North Korea in the first half of this year, is known to have an outer appearance similar to that of the iPhone 6, but is devoid of internet service.
The radio station also stated that the Azalea 3 has programs and applications typically used on smartphones, such as games and a calculator, but it does not offer access to the internet, which is deemed the core of smartphones.
“From the perspective of North Korean authorities possessing sole control over the internet, there is no need to add internet services when 3G communications services are more than enough to satisfy the desires of the people,” said Kim Yeon-ho, a senior researcher at Johns Hopkins Korean-American Institute.
“Smartphone use in North Korea is very different from other countries in that information from the outer world is completely cut off. Smartphones in North Korea are mainly focused on basic voice communications and text-messaging, functions available even on legacy mobile phones. Other additional programs installed on the smart phones are trivia such as games and electronic dictionaries, but it is devoid of any apps that would enable connection to the outside world,” Kim added.
“The Mangyongdae Information Institute of the Republic recently successfully developed and localized state-of-the-art products so as to support the aim of the Labor Party to move ahead of the world. Moreover, it has self-produced every single component in smartphones without a blemish in our own way.” argued Chosun Today, an international propaganda website run by North Korea.
RFA said that the Azalea 3 is assessed to be an upgraded version of the Arirang and Pyeongyang Touch, smartphones made public by North Korea as self-produced in 2013.
“The number of mobile phone users in North Korea has surpassed 3 million. The prices of the Arirang and Pyeongyang Touch are said to be $400 and $700, respectively. The Azalea 3 is thought to be even more expensive,” added RFA.
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