Bytedance confirms it is making a smartphone, could release end-year

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After secretly developing its own smartphone for seven months, Bytedance could release the final product as early as the end of the year,  according to a report by Chinese media LatePost.

Why it matters: In addition to diversifying its app portfolio with new product launches and acquisitions, Bytedance is also pushing into the hardware landscape in seek of growth.

  • Along with the smartphone, Bytedance confirmed in May that it is developing education hardware.
  • Founder Zhang Yiming said at a recent conference that if Jinri Toutiao, one of the company’s cornerstone apps, didn’t increase its value to users, its daily active user growth would be capped at an additional 40 million.

Details: According to the LatePost report citing people with knowledge of the matter, the smartphone is a basic model and is still in development. There is a lot of uncertainty about the device’s designs and mass production potential, so the release date is subject to change, according to the report.

  • Wu Dezhou, formerly in charge of Smartisan’s Nut smartphone, is leading Bytedance’s smartphone project. He now reports to Chen Lin, the CEO of Jinri Toutiao.
  • Wu Dezhou joined Bytedance after the company acquired Smartisan at the end of 2018 for “several hundred million” RMB.
  • Bytedance responded to the LatePost report, saying that the smartphone had been in process before Smartisan was acquired, and that the product was a continuation of earlier plans.