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Thursday, Oct 24, 2019

TikTok phone could be a real thing as ByteDance explores hardware foray: Report

A phone just for TikTok fans? Parent company ByteDance is said to be working on own phone preloaded with the company’s applications including TikTok and an upcoming Apple Music rival.

tech Updated: May 28, 2019 15:11 IST
Kul Bhushan
Kul Bhushan
Hindustan Times
TikTok phone is in the works
TikTok phone is in the works(REUTERS)

ByteDance, the parent company of viral platform TikTok, is reportedly working on an own smartphone. The device, dubbed as TikTok phone, is said to come pre-loaded with a range of ByteDance apps including Jinri Toutiao news aggregator, an Apple Music-rival, and of course the TikTok app.

According to a report in Financial Times, ByteDance CEO Zhang Yiming has long planned to enter the smartphone business and push the company’s applications. The Verge in its report pointed out ByteDance’s deal with a phone company Smartisan earlier this year. As part of the deal, ByteDance acquired some patents as well. ByteDance had then said the deal will help the company foray into the education segment.

The latest report comes at a time when ByteDance’s under scrutiny worldwide. Its TikTok app was briefly banned in India for failing to remove pornographic content on its platform. The company had been directed to ensure the platform doesn’t allow such content in the future. Earlier this year, TikTok paid record $5.7 million to settle claims by the US government over collecting data of users.

With the US government becoming stricter on China-based companies, ByteDance’s global expansion, driven by a new phone portfolio, could take a big hit. The company may rely on emerging markets such as India which has become one of the top TikTok nations.

That said, self-branded phones by a services company isn’t new. In the past, Amazon launched Fire-branded phones which failed to take off. The Fire phones extensively focused on pushing Amazon apps to users. Interestingly enough, Facebook also experimented with phones way back in 2013. Facebook and HTC launched a HTC First phone which came with a “Facebook Home” screen. Just like Amazon’s Fire, the Facebook phone flopped as well.

First Published: May 28, 2019 15:05 IST

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