Mystery revealed: Kim Jong-un uses Taiwanese smartphone made by HTC
Washington, Feb. 7 : The smart phone spotted next to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is a Taiwanese phone, made by HTC, it has been revealed.
The high-tech phone stirred interest after it was spotted in a photo released by North Korea's Central News Agency partly because so few people in the low-tech country could afford one and because Kim has ordered people hiding cell phones to be shot, reports ABC News.
But there was also speculation whether Kim owned a Samsung or Apple phone. Samsung is a South Korean company while Apple is from Kim's arch enemy America.
A South Korean government official said the phone was apparently a HTC brand, made in Taiwan. HTC declined to confirm, but said in a statement that it appreciates the "support of all users".
There has been evidence of using smartphones in North Korea in the past.
StatCounter.com which tracks search engines, browsers, and operating systems around the globe confirmed in 2011 that some North Koreans used Apple's iPhone and Nokia's smartphones. In 2010, Foursquare had confirmed a check-in from North Korea as well.
Whether this was simply a test run of the 3G network by the state or for private use is not known.
Mobile phones were introduced in 2008, in the isolated country through a joint venture with the Egyptian telecom firm Orascom, and a domestic Intranet was launched in 2002.
However, 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.
But witnesses who have been in North Korea recently say most people who own phones own Chinese cell phones - folder types and sliding types - not smartphones. Currently, North Koreans could text messages but have no access to the internet from their mobile devices.
If caught hiding the phones, authorities used to arrest and send illegal phone users to political camps for reformation. But starting this year Kim Jong-un has given strict orders to have villains be shot to death.