While there's a lot of buzz among tech-watchers about Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) soon-to-be-released new version of the iPad, North Korea’s newly revealed tablet, the Samjiyon, is also grabbing some headlines. While the country isn’t exactly known for being on the cutting edge of technology, its newest gadget is "fully loaded," according to a visiting academic who was able to get his hands on it.
Below is an inspection of the latest version of the Samjiyon tablet, by the North Korean Tech blog:
Writing for North Korea academic blog 38North, Ruediger Frank, a professor of East Asian economy and society at the University of Vienna and departmental head for East Asian Studies, says he was able to purchase the tablet during a recent visit. Frank says that the tablet, which cost him 180 euros, a little more than $240, at a shop in Pyongyang, was worth every penny. “After a few days of intensive, use I can say that this is one of the few cases in my career as a consumer when I got more for my money than I had expected,” he said.
In an extensive, 16-page review, Frank goes through the specs of the gadget, which actually turns out not to be the latest version, and features 4GB of memory, a 7-inch screen and a 2-megapixel camera. The tablet, Frank said, came with a lot of pre-installed games, including Angry Birds, puzzles, chesss, Tank Recon 3D, Basketball Shot and Field Runners, among others.
The tablet also featured a shocking number of pre-installed reference tools, 488 in all, including Korean-English dictionaries and an encyclopedia, which are fully stocked with “the immortal achievements of leaders Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il and the revolutionary leadership of the Korean Worker’s Party.” The tablet also features a short language lab for learning “modern Chinese” in 32 lessons.
Perhaps most interestingly, the tablet also features several pre-installed e-books. Aside from the assortment of Korean novels and writings, there is also a section dedicated to “foreign books.” Among them were several literary favorites, including Victor Hugo’s "Les Miserables" and Margaret Mitchell’s "Gone With the Wind."
Frank also explains that most people in North Korea don't have access to the Internet, or can even afford to purchase a tablet. "No, this gadget is not available to all North Koreans; just as a Mercedes Benz S-class sedan is out of reach for most Germans."
The full review can be read here.