Jonsung smartphones are still not showing up



The new smartphone brand in North Korea seems to have stumbled.

End of 2019, Jonsung Economy & Technology Exchange Company (전승 경제 기술 교류사) caused a sensation at the 15th Pyongyang International Autumn Show with a large advertisement showcasing its Samthaesong (삼태성) smartphone.

But now, almost two years later, that same smartphone is said to be still in development. A company profile in the latest edition of Foreign Trade magazine indicates that Jonsung “is making efforts to develop a new smartphone, Samthaesong.”

Judging by the timeline, it’s entirely possible that the delay was due to the closure of North Korea’s external borders in January 2019 in response to COVID-19. The shutdown has meant that no new smartphones appear to have been launched in the country in 2020 or so far in 2021.

Little is known about Jonsung, although the profile says he has already developed a multilingual text entry program, web browser, and messaging app.

It would be the sixth company to launch a smartphone in North Korea, where only domestic brand phones are available. Like the other five, it is highly likely that the hardware for the smartphone will be acquired from an OEM smartphone maker in China. The Chinese company will place the Samthaesong brand on the phone, and North Korean engineers will install a locally modified version of the Android operating system that includes certain security features and restrictions.

The profile is reproduced below:

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