Remember in August last year when North Korean leader Kim Jong-un toured a factory that claimed to be producing the nation’s first ever homegrown smartphone? At that time, we were suspicious about the ill-equipped facility and speculated that the North Korean workers were simply boxing up an imported, no-name Chinese phone. And it turns out that’s exactly what’s happening.
A Japanese blog has got its hands on the North Korean Arirang AS1201 (hat-tip to AndroidCentral for spotting this). Putting it next to a China-made Uniscope U1201 (both pictured above) shows that the two phones are clearly separated at birth. The two models have mostly the same specs, including a 960 by 540-pixel screen, 1GHz Spreadtrum processor, 4GB of storage, and 8 megapixel and 2 megapixel cameras front and rear.
While the made-for-China Uniscope U1201 has an Android skin (that looks a lot like Samsung’s TouchWiz UI), the made-for-PROK Arirang AS1201 seems to have a version of stock Android. Here’s the rear of both phones:
And here’s a photo collage of Kim Jong-un from last summer touring the plant that supposedly makes the Arirang phone: