Kim Jong-un has HTC phone, not iPhone or Galaxy?

North Korea's "supreme leader" is reportedly in possession of a smartphone. And reports from South Korea suggest that possession of an iPhone or Samsung device would provide "extra burdens."

Does he look like an HTC user to you? 154thmedia2012/YouTube; screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

When I hear that Kim Jong-un, North Korea's "supreme leader," has released a little movie about a missile attack on the U.S., one thought enters my head: I wonder what sort of phone he has.

There is a part of me that believes he must be sporting a flip phone, in order to show solidarity with his fellow people, most of whom couldn't afford a flipped pancake, never mind a phone.

Yet TechInAsia offered me the startling news this morning that the man who is often portrayed with a cigarette in his hand -- like a villain from an early Bond movie -- is in possession of what it says is a handy HTC smartphone.

It even offers pictorial evidence and claims that this phone is Android-powered, which will please recent visitor Eric Schmidt . (I've contacted both HTC and Google for comment and will update this post when I hear back.)

TechInAsia speculates that this fine, sturdy phone may be one of only 1.7 million cell phones in the whole of North Korea. This is surely fewer than in Silicon Valley on a rare wet Wednesday.

The Taipei Times knowingly informs me that His Interesting Coiffness likely uses this phone to talk to his family and other important and powerful people, whom he could eliminate with the twitch of a nostril.

It relied on reports from South Korea that this was the "latest HTC model." These reports suggest that if His Supreme Beingness sported an iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy S3, he would be risking "extra burdens."

I do not believe this has anything to do with the weight or girth of these fine machines.

The willfully ignorant will declare that, should the speculation be accurate, this is not a good endorsement for HTC. They will say that the last thing the slightly struggling Taiwanese phone maker needs is for its product to be used by troubling world leaders.

But a man of power is a man of power.

It's well known in the advertising world that if you can't get the most famous actor in the world to endorse your product, you work your way down the list, until you can get, say, Tara Reid or Richard Simmons.

In any case, Kim Jong-un was not so long ago voted "Sexiest Man Alive." Allegedly .

For myself, I wonder whether the natural choice for His Supremeness would have been something from mainland China -- a Huawei, perhaps.

But who knows? If it is an HTC, perhaps the company and Kim Jong-un came to a deal.

Perhaps His Supremeness will carry an HTC phone around for a while and, in return, the company will help him create North Korea's own cell phone brand.

What might they call it? May I suggest Un-Mobile?

Update, 1:34 p.m. PT: An HTC representative offered me this comment: "We can't speculate on where Kim Jong-un got his device."

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Show Comments Hide Comments
Latest Galleries from CNET
The best tech products of 2014
Does this Wi-Fi-enabled doorbell Ring true? (pictures)
Seven tips for securing your Facebook account
The best 3D-printing projects of 2014 (pictures)
15 crazy old phones from a Korean museum (pictures)
10 gloriously geeky highlights from 2014 (pictures)