Mysterious tablet spotted in North Korea

North Korean tablet
It'll connect to...nothing

It looks like Kim Jong-un may be a little more attuned to technology than his daddy was, as photos of a mysterious new North Korean-made tablet at the 8th Pyongyan Autumn International Trade Fair have appeared online.

The unknown tablet appears to be running Android, and boxes in the background feature the name "Samjiyon," the name of a tablet that was reportedly heard of, but never seen, over the summer.

The photos come from Associated Press by way of the Wall Street Journal's Korea Realtime blog, which reported that the tablet may in fact be running a legal version of Google's Android OS, which of course is open source.

Unless the North Korean tablet is running Google's own software like Gmail or Google Play, the WSJ's blog points out, this could be the first glimpse of a legitimate consumer tablet from the traditionally closed-off country.

I spy

The photo of the mysterious North Korean tablet came with no other information, so what's pictured is all that's known.

The man holding the tablet is reportedly Choi Cheol Min of Chosun Computer, which is likely the manufacturer of the tablet.

But the case surrounding the device prevents it from being identified with 100 percent certainty.

Another blog, North Korea Tech, reported never having heard of Chosun (and if anyone had, you'd think it would be them), but posted several other images of the tablet online that are reportedly from North Korean state TV coverage.

A tablet without internet

As North Korea Tech points out, the images from the television coverage of the tablet clearly show several identifiable Android icons.

But others - email, web, etc. - are conspicuously missing. That's because North Koreans are reportedly not allowed to access the internet. One wonders what they need tablets for.

According to that same blog, other technology - including another, unnamed tablet PC - was on display at the trade fair as well.

The last news out of North Korea that TechRadar reported was that the restrictive country would be getting 3G service (in 2008). Before that it was that the U.S. had banned iPods from being shipped to North Korea in 2006, apparently to spite then-dictator Kim Jong-il.

So even a glimpse of a tablet is a step in a positive direction.

Via The Verge, WSJ, North Korea Tech

Michael Rougeau

Michael Rougeau is a former freelance news writer for TechRadar. Studying at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Northeastern University, Michael has bylines at Kotaku, 1UP, G4, Complex Magazine, Digital Trends, GamesRadar, GameSpot, IFC, Animal New York, @Gamer, Inside the Magic, Comic Book Resources, Zap2It, TabTimes, GameZone, Cheat Code Central, Gameshark, Gameranx, The Industry, Debonair Mag, Kombo, and others.

Micheal also spent time as the Games Editor for, and was the managing editor at GameSpot before becoming an Animal Care Manager for Wags and Walks.