Kim Jong-Un and the mysterious smartphone

Bet the Hardy Boys couldn’t solve this one.

A picture of North Korea’s leader holding a lit cigarette with a black smartphone near to hand has the tech world in a tizzy -- but the mysterious maker of the phone remains an enigma.

South Korean smartphone giant Samsung has distanced itself from the gadget, according to AFP, denying any connection to the device.

"It's not a Samsung phone," a company spokesman told AFP, adamantly denying that one of its flagship Galaxy models had turned up across the border.

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

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

But it’s not even clear whether Kim Jong-Un himself owns the phone or is merely near it. South Korean government officials said they believe it his, but did not confirm that fact.

"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 government official told AFP.

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

But the Taiwanese firm declined to identify the device, saying in a statement that the company appreciated the "support of all users."

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