Based on this new picture, people, including a South Korean intelligence agency, have concluded that North Korea's supreme leader uses an HTC smartphone. The North Korean government hasn't confirmed the phone-type nor that the gadget even belonged to Kim Jong Un. But a South Korean intelligence agency believes the phone belongs to the dictator and is likely an HTC make, reports the AFP. South Korean industrial giant Samsung was quick to tule itself out as the favored phone in the North. "It's not a Samsung phone," a spokesman told the AFP.
It would be politically problematic — on both sides of the border — for North Korea's leader to concede the technological innovation of South Korea. And it would mix messages to rely on an American-designed device on the same week North Korean propaganda fantasized about wiping out an American city. So what's a busy dictator-on-the-go to do? Huawei, which hails from from China, the closest ally of the Hermit Kingdom, and has a booming smartphone business, may have made the most sense. But it appears that Kim went with Taiwanese device maker HTC.
It's an interesting choice for a powerful political leader, since HTC has become one of the most irrelevant phone makers, losing 91 percent of its profits last quarter. But a smartphone of any brand is a privilege for most North Koreans, who only have access to cell phones that make calls within the secretive state. That HTC, like a regular 21st Century smartphone, looks like it connects to the Internet. Plus, it looks like an upgrade from Kim Jong Un's landline:
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.