North Korea PC industry gets off to slow start

North Korea has apparently begun producing its own, state-approved computers, with a recent TV report revealing the three machines intended for education and office use. According to PC World, the business computer and one of the education PCs are notebooks, while the remaining model uses a TV as its monitor.

"You can use multimedia educational materials. For example, you can view elementary and middle schools textbooks, do intellectual training exercises, view various types of dictionaries, edit documents and even learn foreign languages" Pae Myong-sok, factory representative

The report did not specify the OS each machine used, though it is not believed to be Microsoft's Windows platform. Suggestions have been made that North Korea's own modified Linux build, "Red Star", could be the most likely candidate. The office version appears to be the most complex, with preloaded productive software and a browser; it also has twin USB ports, which the educational machines do not.

While the browser may be present, it's unclear how many users will actually get onto the internet. North Korea strictly limits access to the web, with a domestic intranet service available at libraries and schools. Some digging by North Korea Tech, who screengrabbed the shots you see here from the TV report, has suggested that the office laptop (below) may be a rebranded Sylvania machine commonly sold in the US for $99 at CVS stores.