Intercom of Internet: Made in North Korea

Posted on August 5, 2013  /  0 Comments

Intercom was a small telephone network, which allowed calling strictly within the office. That was the Jurassic era of telecommunication when the dinosaurs state-owned incumbents mercilessly harassed the consumers. At that time the ‘sophisticated’ office automation equipment called intercom was a ‘must have’ gadget across the public and private enterprises. Speakerphone or hands-free calling feature was intercom’s jewel in the crown. Unlike the rotary-dial PSTN phones, the “trendy” intercom sets were fitted with a push-button keypad. Gone are the days of pressing a button of intercom and asking for something in the office.

North Korea has recently hit the headlines not for making the A-bomb but for “inventing” an intercom of Internet. Dubbed as “Samjiyon” the tablet comes with a 7-inch screen, a 2-megapixel camera, a 1.2-GHz processor and it runs a version of the “Imperialist Amrica’s” Android operating system. Several apps, including games like “Angry Birds” (Another product of imperialist America) come pre-installed.

It is, however, fitted with a genuinely North Korean mother of all features – Samjiyon cannot be connected with Internet (Created by the evil military establishment of imperialist America).

The device certainly comes with a browser. The latter is, however, fortified with pre-installed bookmarks of the country’s national news agency, its major daily newspaper, a portal of the Korea Computer Center and the state television. Yes, television! The tablet’s TV tuner exclusively works with North Korea’s analog broadcasting system and comes preset to tune VHF channels 5 and 12, and UHF channels 25 and 31.

A western tourist, recently back from Pyongyang with a Samjiyon, could not get the Samjiyon online. Configuration files deep in the tablet suggest there is Wi-Fi hardware installed, but there is no apparent way to activate or control it. The hardware is either not present or has been configured to connect only to certain networks.

Samjiyon is packed with a multilingual dictionary, a dictionary of IT terms, a Korean history app, a Korean chess game and a collection of books for studying “juche,” North Korea’s founding principle of self-reliance. The tablet has been hailed by state media as a useful tool for students, and there are several learning apps. One opens a virtual bookshelf with books on music, computers, mathematics and revolutionary studies, such as the childhood of Kim Il Sung, the country’s founder aka “Dear Leader.”

New York Times reports furthermore.

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