TikTok smartphones? What another Chinese phone maker means

We’ve seen social media companies get into smartphones before with varying results; will the Chinese manufacturer, and owner of the highly-successful TikTok, break the mould?

ByteDance – Chinese owner of social media platform TikTok and the world’s most valuable unlisted startup – today introduced its new smartphone to the Chinese market. The device has been dubbed the ‘Jianguo Pro 3’ or ‘Nut Pro 3’, despite being the first phone released from the company.

Earlier in the year, ByteDance acquired a number of patents and employees from Chinese smartphone designer Smartisan, sparking rumours of a TikTok-driven phone from the social media company. The Jianguo Pro 3 has been officially released under the Smartisan brand, with a starting price of 2899 Yuan (AU$600) and is available only in China.

It isn’t the first time a social media company has dipped its toes into the smartphone arena, Facebook’s attempt in 2013 saw very little success – particularly as telecommunications provider AT&T famously dropped the phone’s price from $99 to 99 cents.

The HTC First (better known as ‘the Facebook phone’) had noses turning and fingers pointing at release; much of its failure is attributed to poor hardware and a faulty concept. The Facebook phone was pitched on the basis of Facebook’s family of apps being the predominant interface of Android, what Facebook called at the time ‘Facebook Home’.

Analysts have been worried that the impending ‘TikTok phone’ would suffer a similar fate, placing its social media association ahead of optimising the user experience. However, according to Abacus News, the phone’s integration stops short of being able to access TikTok with an upward swipe from the lock screen. Apart from that, the Jianguo Pro 3’s operating system appears to be pretty much TikTok agnostic.

The Jianguo Pro 3 is also relatively impressive in terms of specs; the phone boasts a 4000 mAh battery, four rear cameras of varying focal lengths, an in-display fingerprint sensor and is powered by a Snapdragon 855.

Jianguo Pro 3 cameras

If you don’t speak nerd: the guts of this device are comparable to other flagship devices released this year, and are far more substantial than other half-baked phones from non-typical industry players.

ByteDance has confirmed that the Jianguo Pro 3 will definitely not be coming to the US, though hasn’t mentioned if it will keep the device exclusive to China on future iterations.

Further Reading:

Image credit: ByteDance / Smartisan

Josh Loh
BY Josh Loh ON 6 November 2019
Josh Loh is assistant editor at MarketingMag.com.au