tiktok bytedance smartphone

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TikTok parent company announces a smartphone is in the works

No, it's not a phone just for uploading TikTok videos.


Brooke Sjoberg

Internet Culture

Published Jul 30, 2019   Updated May 20, 2021, 7:42 am CDT

Chinese social media powerhouse ByteDance, the creator of TikTok, announced Monday that it will be producing a smartphone.

Among the company’s holdings are TikTok’s Chinese counterpart Douyin, news app Jinri Toutiao, and messaging app Flipchat. Mashable reports that rumors of plans for the handset floated around for several months leading up to the announcement. The phone is being produced in collaboration with developer Smartisan after ByteDance acquired some patents from the hammer logo-bearing developer, according to Reuters.

A ByteDance spokesperson told Gizmodo that despite early reports, there are no plans for the phone to be explicitly tied to TikTok or any of its other apps aside from having them preloaded on the handset.

“Reports of our smartphone development strictly refer to a continuation of plans that were in place before ByteDance began working with Smartisan. The product has no connection with TikTok and the focus is on meeting the needs of Smartisan’s existing customer base,” a ByteDance representative told the Daily Dot in an email.

The news recalls the pattern of app creators releasing hardware such as Snap Spectacles in 2016, Amazon’s Fire Phone in 2014, and Facebook’s 2013 collaboration with HTC to create the HTC First.

All of these devices were spectacular failures. The Fire phone was discontinued just over a year after it launched, unsold Spectacles led to a $40 million loss for Snap in 2017, and the HTC First was pulled from production just five weeks after launch.

Being in the business of content platform creation, ByteDance’s jump to hardware is likely a choice with heavy consequences—positive or otherwise.


H/T Mashable

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*First Published: Jul 30, 2019, 4:27 pm CDT