June 7 (UPI) — North Korea‘s premier smartphone with a multi-touch interface cannot download apps not approved by the Kim Jong Un regime, but costs as much as $690 on the market, according to a South Korean news service.
Daily NK reported Wednesday North Korea’s latest model of the “Pyongyang,” a smartphone that rivals Samsung’s Galaxy S8 in style and design, demonstrates an impressive array of features, including a touchscreen display.
The resolution of the display “enhances readability” and can be used to read electronic books or watch videos.
The technology, however, has relatively poor touch response, compared to South Korea-made smartphones, according to Daily NK.
“While the [Samsung] Galaxy S8 responds immediately to touch, North Korea’s Pyongyang touch phone is slower to respond,” the report read.
Daily NK did not provide details on how reporters acquired the device.
The phone camera was also of inferior quality, relative to the Galaxy.
Samsung’s phone has an 8-megapixel camera on the front and a 12-megapixel camera on the back, but the North Korean phone only has 200 pixels on the front and 800 pixels on the back, according to the report.
The Pyongyang smartphone also retains four preinstalled camera modes that include portrait and landscape modes and weighs 1.5 ounces more than the South Korean phone.
Daily NK reported the phone cannot download new software beyond the preinstalled apps that include dictionaries and a state-sanctioned encyclopedia.
The touchscreen smartphone is still considered a novelty among newly wealthy people in North Korea, and costs $250-690, depending on the model.
The most expensive model is equivalent to the price of 1.25 tons of rice, according to the report.
According to January data from Egyptian firm Orascom, owner of North Korea’s main wireless provider, there are now about 3.7 million mobile phone subscribers in the country.