Bytedance, the company behind social video sensation TikTok, has confirmed plans to make a smartphone.
Bytedance will be working with smartphone manufacturer Smartisan Technology on the device. We don’t know if the phone will have any special TikTok integration (hopefully nothing like the infamous Facebook button from the early 2010s).
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There is a catch for interested TikTok’ers, however. According to Engadget, Smartisan is a niche brand even in its home country of China – with its products usually staying within the country’s borders.
A spokeswoman for Bytedance seemed to confirm as much (via Reuters): “The product was a continuation of earlier Smartisan plans, aiming to satisfy the needs of the old Smartisan user base”.
So it does seem unlikely that the smartphone that emerges from this new partnership will ever make it to the UK.
While a Western release of the Bytedance/Smartisan phone doesn’t seem like it will happen, Bytedance has been aggressively expanding – with a view to taking on some high profile rivals.
Bytedance appears to be hopping onto a project already in production by Smartisan. The company is beginning to work with Smartisan at a time when the smartphone project has been in motion for around seven months.
In May, it emerged the TikTok owners were working on a rival to Spotify and Apple Music – while also not simply creating a clone of the popular music apps. We haven’t heard anything more about the potential app – however, it is expected to feature both music and video content.
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While the move could prove popular with TikTok fans, some privacy advocates may be slightly apprehensive about the prospect of a Bytedance smartphone. TikTok was previously hit with a record fine for its collection of US kids’ data via its app.
Due to these aforementioned reasons, products from social media companies have not traditionally gone down very well. Facebook received huge privacy and data-related backlash when it announced the launch of Portal – an Alexa-powered video chat device.