A new smartphone under the “Pyongyang” brand appeared promoted in North Korean outlet Sogwang earlier this week, sporting features such as Wi-Fi, wireless charging, and face-recognition unlocking technology.
The article, dated April 8, reported the Pyongyang 2425 is a “newly-developed smartphone” which company officials said “represents a major leap in performance… compared to previous Pyongyang-series models.”
The Pyongyang 2425 includes the now-infamous “notch” cutout at the top of its screen, as well as other physical characteristics and technical specifications which suggest that it was likely manufactured by a Chinese company.
Images accompanying the article show that the device comes packaged in a larger box than other phones from the Pyongyang and Arirang brands, displayed alongside multiple phones and what appears to be a tablet.
“New features such as wireless charging and a high-resolution camera are some of the reasons customers prefer this product.”
But it also described the phone as including a “Wi-Fi SIM” card, which one consumer reportedly told the news organization they “enjoy using to view and save sci-tech materials from any location.”
The description may be in reference to the “Mirae (future) public free wireless data network” promoted late last year in coverage of the 2018 National Exhibition of IT Successes aired on Korean Central Television (KCTV).
The Mirae network was characterized in the report as allowing users to “browse and access news and materials on science and technology by accessing homepages… at any place and time in the vicinity of ‘Mirae’ public free wireless data networks.”
According to North Korea media and tech specialist Martyn Williams, the Pyongyang 2423, reportedly released in North Korea last year, was almost certainly made by the Shenzhen Chenyee Technology Co. Ltd. and rebranded as a locally-made DPRK product.
Though the company reportedly went out of business last year, with its CEO Lu Weibing moving on to head Xiaomi sub-brand Redmi, its phones are still being sold rebranded under a number of companies worldwide such as the Nigeria-based Soda Mobile and U.S. company Blu.