ByteDance, the Chinese technology company behind the short video sharing platform TikTok, has released a new smartphone. And, as the headline above suggests, here’s what you need to know about it in quick-fire digestible form:
It’s called the Jianguo Pro 3, is currently available only in China, and costs 2,899RMB (about 413USD).
The phone has built-in perks for Douyin, TikTok’s Chinese sister app. Users can access the short video platform simply by swiping up on the phone’s lock screen, and some filters popular on the video platform are built into the camera.
The Jianguo Pro 3 resulted from a collaboration with Smartisan, the flagging phone developer from which ByteDance acquired patents and employees in a deal early this year. Smartisan’s eccentric and embattled founder Luo Yonghao was recently banned from traveling by planes and high-speed trains, due to the company’s failure to comply with a local court ruling.
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ByteDance’s play for the smartphone market is a bold move given how saturated and cutthroat the industry is in China, with much of the market share dominated by Huawei, and followed by the likes of Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi.
On microblogging site Weibo, the Jianguo Pro 3 had mixed reviews. “The phone’s system is great in its simplicity and lack of garbage advertisements,” one netizen writes.
“The Jianguo Pro 3 is not even as good as some 1,000RMB phones,” writes another, clearly less impressed commenter. “The automatic metering gets overexposed easily, parts of images look red, and there is no automatic HDR.”
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ByteDance has shaken up certain parts of the tech world by taking on China’s established giants of Alibaba and Tencent, not to mention causing a stir in the US with its TikTok platform. But software companies have tried and failed before to break into the smartphone market, such as Facebook with the HTC phone and Amazon with its Fire Phone. In China, Alibaba’s cloud phone and Baidu’s phone in partnership with Haier were similar flops that the companies quietly abandoned.
We can only wait and see whether ByteDance bucks this trend.
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