When you think of North Korea, you probably picture images of extreme poverty and a country still in a technological Dark Age. But now North Korea is making three models of state-controlled PCs for its citizens, according to a report from the country’s state-run TV channel. That’s the office model, above.
Naturally, the machines are stripped of anything that isn’t expressly work-related. The educational models allow students to “view elementary and middle schools textbooks, do intellectual training exercises, view various types of dictionaries, edit documents and even learn foreign languages,” according to a factory representative in the report. The business model runs productivity software and includes a web browser, though it likely accesses the domestic intranet, not the internet the rest of the world enjoys.
Still, all of this is pretty surprising coming from the Hermit Kingdom, where news from the outside world has to be floated over the DMZ on balloons (and under threat of violence at that). It’s possible that this is the state’s way of trying to appease its technologically starved citizens without actually giving them access to the outside world, but there’s also a chance, deliberate or not, that this is the beginning of North Korea’s entry into the digital age.