North Korea is refusing its athletes complimentary Galaxy S7 Edge smartphones
Samsung is one of the most prominent sponsors of the Olympics, much to the chagrin of North Korea. You see, Samsung is based in South Korea, which the North considers its mortal enemy. So, perhaps it’s no surprise that North Korea has not allowed its athletes to have the free Samsung phones everyone else is getting. In the last several Olympic games, Samsung has provided its latest flagship smartphone as a gift to all the competitors. If you don’t get a medal at least you go home with a free phone, I guess. This year Samsung’s Olympic sponsorship allowed it to create a special Olympic edition of the Galaxy S7 Edge. It has the same Snapdragon 820, 4GB of RAM, and a 5.5-inch curved AMOLED screen as the “regular”phone, but the Olympic rings are emblazoned on the back and there are Olympic-themed color accents on the buttons, earpiece, and camera rim. You can buy this version of the device yourself for $850.via Fernando Frazão/Agência BrasilSamsung had over 12,000 phones on hand to give athletes, including 31 for the North Korean delegation. Samsung reports that a manager of the North Korean team stopped by the company’s exhibition to pick up the phones. However, none of the athletes ever received them. The manager of North Korea’s team has refused to explain what was done with the phones. North Korea is known for its restrictive controls on outside information and influences. The Olympics and other international competitions are likely the only time these athletes will have a chance to leave the North. They aren’t even permitted to do any sightseeing in Rio. Sending them back home with smartphones made by a South Korean firm would be out of step with how the DPRK cavorts itself. The phones were probably locked up someplace where the athletes won’t be able to get their hands on them.