Following on from the launch of its first tablet computer, the “Samjiyeon,” Daily NK has learned that a new mobile phone similar to the smartphones available elsewhere in the world has been released in North Korea. Coming in at a price point roughly double that of ordinary phones, the phone is currently unpopular, but sources say they expect sales to improve.
According to one such Daily NK source, the newly released phone has a touch screen, voice recognition, dictionaries, games and the ability to receive TV signals.
The source from Hyesan in Yankang Province told Daily NK on the 7th, “The ‘Eumsong-patgi’ with its touchscreen is popular with cadres and young adults. You cannot use the Internet on it, but it has games, TV and a touch pen for writing memos and such like. It’ll probably end up quite popular with more affluent people.”
“It is very different from the old folding model mobile phones like the T1, T95 and T103,” the source added. “But the problem is that the new phone costs $600. Currently they are only making about one for every hundred of the existing phones, and only something like five senior cadres are using them in Hyesan because they are so expensive.”
However, the source concluded, “It looks like the new mobile phone was launched not only for cadres but also for the emerging middle class. In addition to which, the authorities only take dollars for the phones so it is a good way for them to earn foreign currency.”