From making popular social media apps like TikTok, developer ByteDance seems to be developing its very own smartphone. If reports are to be believed the smartphone from ByteDance will come pre-loaded with apps from the developer that include TikTok, News Republic, and TopBuzz among others. According to a report by the Financial Times, two unnamed sources have claimed that the smartphone will also come with an unreleased music streaming service.
The Financial Times report mentions that it has been ByteDance CEO Zhang Yiming’s long standing aspiration to build a smartphone that will come pre-loaded with the apps from the company. The Chinese company and the smartphone making company Smartisan confirmed the presence of a deal between the two where ByteDance acquired patent portfolio and even hired some employees from Smartisan. ByteDance had previously claimed that the deal was made in order to “explore the education business,” but present news seems to steer that piece of information into new light.
There has been no mention of the smartphone’s design, intended market or any other details for that matter, although does seem to suggest that ByteDance may run into some trouble with the US government and its hostility toward Chinese telecommunication companies at the present moment. And if existing strained relationships are to be mentioned then ByteDance has had some trouble in India, where TikTok became immensely popular and then received a brief period of ban from the government on grounds that it apparently promoted “cultural degradation.”
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The Financial Times report does not seem too positive about the proposed smartphone’s prospects, because of the precedents that have been set by Facebook and Amazon. Both the companies launched their own smartphones that were preloaded with specific apps, and both the companies gave up and discontinued the products because of how unpopular they were.
One of the biggest issues that the smartphone launched by Facebook was that the apps that were available on it could very well be downloaded on smartphones from other companies. This could be an issue with ByteDance unless they choose to make a mainstream app like TikTok exclusive for their smartphone, which could very well kill the popularity of the app. One example of things working out in favor of the company making an app is the Chinese selfie app maker Meitu who successfully got into the smartphone business with a deal with Xiaomi.