North Korean Athletes Didn't Receive Their Galaxy S7 Units


In commemoration of the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic Games, Samsung made up a special batch of Olympic edition Galaxy S7 Edge units. The units were made on a limited run, and a good number of them, 12,500 to be exact, were earmarked for Olympic athletes. The athletes would be given the phones before the games kicked off, so that they could use them during the opening ceremonies and between events. A few of the phones, however, never made it to their intended recipients, though they were accounted for and taken by an authorized person. The phones were supposed to go to North Korean athletes, and were taken by their manager.

31 of the special Olympic edition Galaxy S7 Edge units never made it to the hands of the North Korean athletes. One athlete was asked if she had received her phone, and shook her head in silence. According to a source inside North Korea's Olympic village, none of the athletes in the village ever received the devices that Samsung had earmarked for them. As it turns out, North Korea's Olympic Committee had decided not to hand over the phones to their athletes. The reasoning behind the decision is that the phones could provide access to Samsung's Galaxy Studio expos, where athletes would be exposed to South Korean electronics.

While North and South Korea have been peaceful toward one another since an armistice was signed in the 1950s, the two countries are technically still at war. This means it would be difficult for North Korean officials to accept a gift from a South Korean company. On top of that, according to at least one source, North Korea makes a habit of confiscating gifts provided to their Olympic athletes, whether they are from South Korea or not. Add to all of that the fact that the gift is a smartphone and North Korea makes a point of carefully controlling citizens' contact with outsiders and internet activity, even going as far as to create their own highly monitored Red Star OS, it becomes quite clear what the reasoning was behind the decision. At this point, Samsung has not commented on the situation, and the phones have not been returned to Samsung.

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Senior Staff Writer

Daniel has been writing for Android Headlines since 2015, and is one of the site's Senior Staff Writers. He's been living the Android life since 2010, and has been interested in technology of all sorts since childhood. His personal, educational and professional backgrounds in computer science, gaming, literature, and music leave him uniquely equipped to handle a wide range of news topics for the site. These include the likes of machine learning, Voice assistants, AI technology development news in the Android world. Contact him at [email protected]

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