A new picture released by North Korea's state media has triggered speculation about which brand is favoured by the dictator of the country which introduced mobile phones only in 2008.
The photo showed Kim Jong-un presiding over a meeting with top national security advisers last week, which is believed to have been focused on Pyongyang's threat to conduct an imminent nuclear test, reports the Telegraph.
It also showed a black smartphone on the table next to Kim's arm, as well as a lit cigarette in his hand.
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.
The Seoul government official said the picture had been analysed by the South's intelligence agency, which concluded that HTC was the likely manufacturer.
He added that 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.
South Korea's Chosun Ilbo newspaper suggested politics was behind the brand choice. It said that it would be 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.
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.
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. (ANI)