Anujeet MajumdarJun 28, 2013 19:34:22 IST
North Korea has been talking about coming up with its own tablet computer for a while now, according to deathandtaxes. The idea of a North Korean tablet first came to notice in 2010. The next piece of evidence came when a North Korean company named Chosun Computer gave users a sneak peek at what was supposed to be the country’s first tablet during a trade fair in Pyongyang in September last year.
Now, a hands-on of the tablet has been done, courtesy NK News, which confirms that the North Korean tablet does in fact exist. There is one problem, though. Users can’t connect the device to anything. The tablet, called Samjiyon, runs on Google’s Android software and comes pre-loaded with media sanctioned by the government. Ironically, North Korea's very first tablet does not have Wi-Fi connection or any way to load new content. And there is definitely no scope to download or install new applications.
While looking through the content in the tablet, the media featured is essentially propaganda-ish in nature, exalting the achievements of North Korean General Kim Jong Un. Children are also taught important skills like how to properly line up and draw a red flag. Other features like an encyclopedia (about the country), eBooks (about the Great Leader) and a map service (North Korean maps) have also been reported.
North Korea has come up with a tablet named Samjiyon, without Internet access (Image credit: tangledweb)
The pre-loaded media also offers some entertainment in the form of a few games. A ripped-off version of Angry Birds, called Slingshot, starts the line-up of games, which also features quite a few combat-themed games. It’s a little disturbing to find out that most of those games revolve around shooting at tanks, though. There is a sports game as well, wherein users have to flick balls towards a hoop, i.e., a North Korean version of basketball.
The fact that the tablet doesn’t come with any connectivity is no surprise. North Korea is known for its closed society, which does not allow for Wi-Fi or access to the global Internet at home. Only a select number of government officials are allowed access to the World Wide Web. Most citizens instead make use of Kwangmyong, which is the country's heavily filtered national intranet. While there are a few Internet cafes that provide access to the Web, there is a great deal of regulation and censorship.
In recent years, the country has been slowly changing its attitude to new technologies and the Internet. The country has been reported launching social-media accounts and redesigning its official news service into English.