As Barack Obama is rumoured to be ditching his beloved BlackBerry, we take a look at the favoured mobiles of world leaders
The Wall Street Journal reported models from Samsung and LG are being tested by the White House as viable alternatives to the BlackBerry.
“We can confirm that the White House Communications Agency, consistent with the rest of the Department of Defence, is piloting and using a variety of mobile devices,” a Defence Department spokesman told the paper.
It may seem trivial, but the mobile phone choice of world leaders is more telling than just revealing their operating system preference.
Addicted: Mr Obama tapping away on his BlackBerry
Both Mr Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron insisted on keeping their BlackBerries when they joined office, despite security concerns surrounding hacking, espionage and data theft. BlackBerry’s network is considered to be the safest and most secure of the smartphones, resulting in the company being the White House’s primary choice for more than a decade.
Fan: Mr Cameron risks a nasty accident by only holding his BlackBerry with thumb and two fingers
Mr Obama’s love affair with the BlackBerry has been long documented. “They’re going to pry it out of my hands,” said Mr Obama in 2009, who fought long and hard to hang onto his handset. When asked if advisers were trying to ween the President off it, Mr Obama’s spokesmanRobert Gibbs said: “Nobody can do that.” He and Mr Cameron eventually agreed to use encrypted devices, lowering the risk of attacks.
Fan: Angela Merkel can barely contain her excitement over the BlackBerry Z10
Mr Obama and Mr Cameron are not the only high-profile, high-powered fans of the BlackBerry. Last October German Chancellor Angela Merkel was pictured endorsing the BlackBerry Z10, following the claim Mr Obama had personally authorised the monitoring of Mrs Merkel’s phone in 2010. The Z10 Mrs Merkel is holding in this picture had been equipped with Secusite encryption to prevent phone tapping. Previously, the German Chancellor had been using a Nokia 6210 Slide from October 2009, before switching to a Z10 in July 2013.
Hillary Clinton is another notable BlackBerry fan. A picture of her tapping away at it while wearing large sunglasses and a pursed expression became an internet sensation, inspiring the Tumblr Texts From Hillary.
French President Francois Hollande is an iPhone 5 fan, which he uses to conduct Presidential business.
Russian President Vladimir Putin long denied owning a mobile phone, saying in 2010 if he did own one, it would “keep ringing incessantly.” However, since 2012 Putin has been pictured using Android-based MTS-Glonass 945, which is claimed to be Russia’s answer to the iPhone.
Across the world North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un favours the HTC Butterfly over his country’s manufactured Android-based Arirang smartphone. The young leader voiced his excitement about the phone, which is produced entirely within North Korea, saying it was “instill national pride”, but has been pictured with an HTC Butterfly handset resting on his desk during a defence meeting last year.
Mysterious: the brand of phone was debated for some time, with Samsung adamant it was not theirs
Taiwanese company HTC was a politically safer bet for the leader than the South-Korean based Samsung and LG, or US Apple and Motorola. HTC declined to comment on the images at the time, but released a statement saying the company “appreciated the support of all users”.
Thailand’s prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra is believed to own five smartphones, including an iPhone 5, and was previously the CEO of Thailand’s largest mobile phones operator Advanced Info Service.
Much has been written about how Google’s Android system is catching up with BlackBerry’s levels of security, and how the company may be affected by the loss of government custom. But at least Mr Cameron will always have his trusty friend…