Kim Jong-Un and the mystery smartphone

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. AP FILE PHOTO

SEOUL – A picture of North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un with a smartphone has triggered fevered speculation about which brand is favored by the leader of one of the world’s most repressive nations.

The photo released by the North’s state media showed Kim presiding over a meeting with top national security advisers last week — a meeting believed to have been focused on Pyongyang’s threat to conduct an imminent nuclear test.

It also showed a black smartphone on the table next to Kim’s arm — as well as a lit cigarette in his hand.

“It’s believed that the smartphone belonged to Kim given that the device was placed right next to the documents he was looking at,” a Seoul government official told AFP.

The South Korean media gave the picture prominent coverage, opening a debate over the manufacturer, with speculation ranging between South Korea’s own Samsung, Taiwan’s HTC and iPhone maker Apple.

Samsung, the world’s top smartphone maker, was adamant that one of its flagship Galaxy models had not turned up across the border.

“It’s not a Samsung phone,” a company spokesman told AFP, adding that it looked more like an HTC model.

The Seoul government official said the picture had been analyzed by the South’s intelligence agency which also concluded that the Taiwanese firm was the likely manufacturer.

HTC declined to identify the device but said in a statement that the company appreciated the “support of all users”.

While North Koreans live in probably the most isolated and censored society on the planet, the country is not a complete IT desert.

Mobile phones were introduced in 2008 through a joint venture with the Egyptian telecom firm Orascom, and a domestic Intranet was launched in 2002.

But the one million normal cellphone subscribers can only phone each other, not outside the country, and the Intranet is similarly cut off from the rest of the worldwide web.

“Kim and his family members as well as the North’s political elite appear to use smartphones or other mobile phones capable of accessing the Internet,” said the Seoul official.

Kim, believed to be in his late 20s, took over the country after the death of his father Kim Jong-Il in December 2011, completing a second dynastic succession of the Kim family.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/bobby.espedilla Bobby Espedilla

    cherry mobile yan

  • tilamsik

    North Koreans enshrined their own evil….. parang tayo.. bumoboto ng mga nagnanakaw sa ating bayan …

    • samarutan

      Bulls eye, Tilamsik!  Kaya we deserve the kind of people  that we vote.

  • trader1nb

    Hindi yun Smartphone, detonator yun ng Nuclear bomb nila.!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_V6JTYBZXUSXIDCD67ACZK7NUKM Joseph

    People give Kim Jong Un less credit than he is due. Educated aborad (Switzerland), he is knowledgable of the outside world and modern day trends.

    What people are not aware of are the internal pressures he has to deal with such as controling the trigger and money hungry generals. Do you think the 70 year old Korean War vets will listen to some 20 year old punk who spent most of his youth abroad just because his dad (now dead, btw) was good to them?

    Rocket launches and nuclear tests are his way of keeping them in order while he tries to fix up the wasteland he calls his home.

    • http://twitter.com/soulassassin547 soul.assassin

      Guess he must have a Cardinal Richelieu behind his chair and handling most of the official stuff.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VDMUJ6NKKCLWRMVMJRLJFI633I Rene V

      the generals control him. he is just the plaything and the namething… anything else is just propaganda from the generals… nameless elves who have the power but not this kim jung un. and that’s dictatorship for you. again, will these 70yrs old generals want to do anything good to this kim jung un who spent his life in a democratic Switzerland and just… TOOK OVER? are you all kidding?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/VS5EYSP4FPOTVQCJZ24NRE6Z2M Edgardo Mendoza


  • http://joboni96.myopenid.com/ joboni96

    android yan
    bigay ni eric schmidt

    straight from the cia

  • pfc_kulapu

    Saan pala yong sinasabi nilang pantay pantay na lipunan.. Bakit si Tabachoy naka gadgets. Pero mga tao nila gutom… Parang si Joema , sarap buhay nya sa netherland. MGA TANGANG KOMUNISTA.

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