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North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un (supposedly) owns a HTC smartphone

It may just look like a black curved blob to the eyes of the average viewer, but apparently the South Korean Ministry of Unification has analysed photos taken at one of Kim Jong-un’s latest national security meetings and determined that he is the proud owner of an HTC smartphone. Really.

North Korea’s supreme leader, who rules a country with strict mobile rules which up until recently required foreigners to leave their phones at the border, was pictured with the smartphone next to him in photos published by North Korea’s official Central News Agency. According to the Taipei Times, the South Korean intelligence agency speculated that, after “precise analyses of images and data”, Jong-un owns one of the latest HTC devices.

This is apparently because he did not want to show favour to manufacturers like Apple or South Korea’s Samsung (Samsung has in any case quickly denied that the supreme leader uses one of its phones). It’s unclear if he is a Fandroid or a Windows Phone user though — if the phone is one of the Taiwanese company’s latest devices, it could be an Android-based One X+ or a svelte 8X, which runs Microsoft’s latest mobile operating system.

It’s unclear if Jong-un has to comply with the restrictions in place in his country — probably not, but if he does, he won’t be able to use his shiny smart new phone to the fullest. North Korean has around 1.5-million mobile phone users but no data network, as citizens are forbidden from accessing the internet on their cellphones, and can only make phone calls and send text messages to others inside the country. The intense internet restrictions are one of the topics Google chairman Eric Schmidt discussed with government officials during his recent trip there, asking them to consider switching on mobile internet access for their 3G network.

Image: KCNA via GDVN.

Author | Lauren Granger

Lauren Granger
While studying towards her Bachelor of Journalism degree at Rhodes University, Lauren gave into her fascination with everything digital. As she was more interested in creeping tech sites and Twitter than she was in picking up one of those printed things called 'newspapers', she decided to specialise in... More

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