A TikTok: Bytedance’s New Smartphone

TikTok came out of nowhere.  Seriously! One minute, no one knew what TikTok was, then all of a sudden, everyone and even their dog were using it.  It’s the Vine of today’s generation, so it’s popularity isn’t surprising, but it’s sudden rise is.

But the fame isn’t enough for Bytedance, the Chinese company behind TikTok.  They have bigger, better plans; plans that involve moving into technology.

Incorporating Corporate Products

Bytedance revealed that they are teaming up with Chinese manufacturer Smartisan to create their very own phone.  And while Bytedance is known for popular social media app TikTok, they have assured consumers that the device will not be influenced by its success.

In fact, a representative for Bytedance disputed the idea himself:

“Reports of our smartphone development strictly refer to a continuation of plans that were in place before ByteDance began working with Smartisan. The product has no connection with TikTok and the focus is on meeting the needs of Smartisan’s existing customer base.”

And sure, while Smartisan is a small player in the Chinese market, the success of TikTok will most likely boost sales of the phone.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the phone had TikTok preinstalled on it as well.

The Rough History of Corporate Technology

Bytedance is only one of the many corporations that have attempted to develop a phone using the success of a service.  Remember Amazon’s Fire Phone? Of course you don’t! No one remembers it!

Corporations trying to siphon off social media success for their products is nothing new, and neither are the flops they suffer.  How about Facebook’s very own HTC One? The phone advertised it’s user-friendly Facebook Home layout and link to Facebook as a way to succeed.  However, device could be purchased for only 99 cents a month after release.  Flop? Definitely.

Same story with Amazon’s Fire Phone and the Microsoft Kin.  These devices based around social media don’t tend to do well.  Maybe Bytedance will stick to their word and focus on the device first and the social aspect second.

Letting Social Media Run your Phone

Let’s, for a second, assume that Bytedance will market the phone using TikTok’s success.  Not only that, but it will revolve around the social media site: TikTok comes preinstalled, shortcuts exist for the app, etc.  

It would be clear that if you didn’t use the app, the phone would be useless to you, and if you were a heavy user of the app, then it would be an easy sell.  But should you be trusting a phone whose development was aided by a social media site?

I know that this question seems a bit hypocritical, trust me.  I mainly use Android, giving all of my data to Google just by using the phone.  I have a Facebook account—a choice I regret—and who knows what data they have on me.  

Despite the supposed hypocrisy, the question still stands.  Social media sites are free to use, and that lack of a price tag is not.  In 2019, it should be assumed that sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and various others are using your data for profit.  TikTok is no exception.

In fact, TikTok was fined earlier this year for illegally collecting data on the children that used the app!  Bytedance having their hands in the development of a phone could be troubling for the more privacy-conscious users out there.  After all, what VPN Android app will save you from your own phone? Check to find the answer.

I realize that I may sound like a rambling old man who’s about to force you off my lawn, but these concerns have become prevalent in today’s world.  When Google released their Pixel line of phones, I didn’t trust them much either. However, in this world, your data is constantly being collected, and as long as you’re plugged in, you’re data is being collected.  

But that doesn’t mean you can’t try to keep it from being collected.