UPDATED 13:38 EDT / JULY 26 2012

North Korea Gets Its Own Tablet Device

Normally, reports of the North Koreans launching something send western governments into a mad panic, with emergency meetings being hastily convened and threats of sanctions issued. However, the latest launch by the secretive communist regime will probably have much less of an impact this time around, for instead of weapons of mass destruction, this time they’ve just unveiled a new tablet device.

Apple won’t be too worried just yet, but they’ll probably raise a few eyebrows (along with the rest of us) about claims that the tablet has been designed and manufactured inside the Stalinist state.

Called the Achim (아침), the name of the new device translates as Morning in English.

The official North Korean news agency, KCNA, didn’t reveal too much about the Achim’s capabilities other than the fact it has a seven-inch screen, it weighs 300 grams, and boasts a five-hour battery life. However, NK News, a South Korean-based site that monitors North Korea, speculated the Achim was probably running the Linux-variant ‘Red Star’ operating system. They added that the device is said to be growing popular with students in the country, as it comes pre-loaded with a variety of educational materials and dictionaries.

From the grainy images taken from KCNA, the Achim bears a strikingly similar appearance to the Samsung Galaxy Tab, although the images themselves raise a few questions about North Korea’s claims. There are no real close-up shots of the device, and nowhere in the photos do we see actual evidence of a manufacture. What we do see is a production line of workers appearing to clean and package the tablets, raising suspicions that they were more than likely made in China especially for the Koreans.

What isn’t clear is if the Achim is the same tablet as the one reported on last month by the South Korean website Dong-A Ilbo. The device featured in that report was known by a different name – the Samjiyon, and was said to be pre-loaded with various eBooks, maps, games and an encyclopedia, whilst lacking internet capability.

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