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North Korea unveils new tablet, probably not an iPad killer

Whenever there’s talk of North Korea launching something, governments in the region usually hold emergency meetings and consider a plan of action. However, the secretive state’s latest launch needn’t cause too much concern, as this time around it’s of a tablet rather than a weapon of mass destruction.

A report from the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Wednesday claimed that the new tablet was designed and manufactured in North Korea.

According to KCNA’s report, which was picked up on by Martyn Williams of the North Korea Tech blog, the new device, called ‘Achim’ (meaning ‘morning’), comes loaded with a variety of teaching materials, dictionaries and scientific data. It’s probably headed straight for schools and colleges, with most people in the desperately poor nation unable to afford a luxury item like a tablet.

Unfortunately there are no details of its specifications and few photos showing it off. What we do have is a picture of a man (North Korea’s Steve Jobs?) looking very happy with himself as he holds the Nexus-7-sized tablet in his left hand (wasn’t Steve Jobs left-handed?). There are also several photos of workers in a factory looking at the device, with one holding some kind of tool close to it.

Williams, a long-time North Korea watcher, thinks it’s more than likely the device came from China.

“Pictures accompanying the report don’t show any manufacturing, just workers in overalls checking devices – a style that’s been seen several times in the past couple of years, including once in 2011 when North Korean TV news featured a laptop TV factory that apparently produced several models of computer,” Williams writes. The laptop, it turned out, almost certainly came from Meng, a manufacturer in China.

Whether it came from next door or was built by the North Koreans themselves, the new Achim tablet poses no threat to the iPad’s market because a) it will only be available inside the country, and b) it probably sucks.

Perhaps Achim II will promise more.

[Images: KCNA / North Korea Tech]