updated 04:40 pm EDT, Wed May 25, 2011
North Korea begins building three PC models
North Korea has issued a statement that maintains the country has begun manufacturing three new computer models, PCWorld revealed. A state TV report took viewers on a tour of the factory, which showed a much less advanced production method compared to those used in China. Instead of automated machines, the majority of the work relies on workers.
They were seen in the video installing the keyboards, checking the hinge on a notebook and testing them by scrolling through screens. Of the three models, two are meant for educational usage and one is meant for office use. While the educational ones share the same custom software, one resembles a netbook and the other is a desktop box with a keyboard and mouse that connects to TVs.
They can display textbooks, provide brain teaser activities, be used to learn languages, edit documents and view dictionaries, a factory representative said.
The office-optimized netbook contains productivity software and has a web browser. Unlike the educational computer, it gets two USB ports. The battery is said to provide two-and-a-half hours.
The operating system is likely to be Red Star, based on Linux and developed by North Korea, though it's not clear from the report.
The factory is owned by the Information Technology Institute, which matches the name of a unit of Pyongyang's Korea Computer Center.
North Korea is highly controlled, with few households having computers and those that do aren't permitted to access the Internet. A domestic intranet service is available in libraries and educational locations.