What phone does a North Korean dictator choose?

Not one made in South Korea, evidently.

A photo has surfaced of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un using a smartphone - and the tech press is abuzz trying to figure out whose handset he's using.

The picture was published by the state Korean Central News Agency on 27 January:

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Above: the picture has caused a stir online


Clearly the phone, which is black and has a touchscreen, isn't an iPhone made by American giant Apple, or a Samsung device by rival South Korea's Samsung corporation. Political analysts said that using either brands device would be politically insensitive in North Korea.

The best guess currently is that it's an HTC phone made in Taiwan - though exactly what model or OS it uses is unclear.

"Given that Kim has put the phone right next to a document in front of him, we assume that he carries it himself," said a South Korean official.

Accessing the internet via a mobile phone is not legal in North Korea, but it is speculated that Kim may himself have access.

More than 1.5 million people in the North - and 60 % of Pyongyang residents - do have a mobile phone, figures suggest.

If so, and you're reading this Kim, can you let us know in the comments?