Kim Jong-Un and the mystery smartphone

Feb 05, 2013

A picture of North Korea's Kim Jong-Un with a smartphone has triggered fevered speculation about which brand is favoured 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 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 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.

The Seoul government official said the picture had been analysed by the South's , which concluded that HTC was the likely manufacturer.

The Taiwanese firm declined to identify the device but said in a statement that the company appreciated the "support of all users".

South Korea's Chosun Ilbo newspaper suggested politics was behind the .

"It must have been politically uncomfortable for Kim Jong-Un to use products made by the US... and he can't publicly endorse the fact that the South is more technologically advanced," the daily said.

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.

Explore further: US warns retailers on data-stealing malware

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

N. Korea jamming affects flights: Seoul official

May 02, 2012

Electronic jamming signals from North Korea have affected scores of civilian flights in and out of South Korea, a Seoul official said Wednesday, amid rising tensions with Pyongyang.

Cyber attack on Seoul's Unification Ministry

Aug 09, 2011

The South Korean ministry which handles relations with North Korea has been targeted by hackers in the latest of a series of online attacks on government and corporate websites, an official said Tuesday.

S. Korean hackers trade cyber blows with N. Korea

Jan 10, 2011

Computer hackers from South and North Korea are waging an apparent propaganda battle in cyberspace, less than two months after their militaries traded artillery fire across the tense sea border.

N. Korea jammed S. Korea GPS devices: report

Mar 06, 2011

North Korea used jamming equipment to block South Korean military communication devices last week, a report said Sunday, amid high tension over the joint drills between Seoul and Washington.

Recommended for you

US warns retailers on data-stealing malware

5 minutes ago

US government cybersecurity watchdogs warned retailers Thursday about malware being circulated that allows hackers to get into computer networks and steal customer data.

Android grabs 85% of smartphone market: survey

25 minutes ago

Smartphones powered by the Android operating system captured 85 percent of the worldwide market in the second quarter, threatening to marginalize rival platforms, a new survey shows.

Irish bookmaker apologizes for 2010 data breach

45 minutes ago

(AP)—Irish betting company Paddy Power announced Thursday it is notifying hundreds of thousands of customers that most of their profile information was stolen in 2010, but hackers did not gain their credit card details ...

User comments : 0