The humble smartphone has come a long way over the past decade or so, but there’s definitely room for a shakeup. And a shakeup may be on the way — that’s right, ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, is getting into the smartphone game.
ByteDance has announced that it’s working on a new phone in partnership with Smartisan Technology, a Chinese device maker, according to a report from Reuters. Smartisan had reportedly been planning on developing a smartphone even before it inked the deal with ByteDance, and the phone has apparently been in development for several months now.
Of course, it remains to be seen exactly what a ByteDance-branded smartphone would look like. A spokesperson has confirmed that it will be an official “TikTok phone,” but it’s not known exactly what that means. Will the device offer better camera tech for interacting on TikTok? Will it run Android? Only time will tell. Even among smaller Chinese smartphone manufacturers, Smartisan is a relatively small company — especially compared to the likes of Huawei, Xiaomi, and OnePlus.
TikTok isn’t the first social media company to launch its own smartphone. The HTC First was launched with Facebook’s Home OS, which was an Android skin that ultimately failed to catch on.
Still, despite these previous failures, we can’t really write ByteDance off just yet. TikTok has grown at a huge rate over the past five years, to the point of now being the fourth-largest social media network, behind Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. In other words, TikTok even beats out the likes of Twitter when it comes to active users, according to some reports.
There are a ton of details we have yet to find out about the upcoming smartphone, including the specs and design of the upcoming device. It’s unlikely that the company will position the phone as a flagship-tier device considering the fact that it would have to compete with the likes of Samsung and Apple, but at the same time it will have to be powerful enough to be worth buying. We are likely to learn more about the phone in the near future.