Bkav, one of Vietnam’s oldest and most well established tech companies unveiled its flagship ‘Bphone” earlier this month. The arrival of the country’s first domestically produced smartphone has been popular chatter in Vietnamese tech circles since it was first talked about at the Consumers Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year.
When CEO Nguyen Tu Quang, who founded the Hanoi-based Bkav in 2001, took to the stage to introduce the Bphone –he pulled pages right out the playbook of late Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
“This is the best smartphone in the world. We did it!” Quang told a gathering of over 2,000 tech enthusiasts and the media at the Vietnam National Convention Center.
Quang can’t be blamed for calling it the world’s best smartphone –after all it is his baby and it is his job to push it hard, but these pics of the phone show that it looks to be a healthy child.
While it may seem a silly question and the answer likely ‘yes,” I’ll ask it anyway: Is Quang’s pitch for the Bphone a tad over done?
Ahn-Min Do writing for TechinAsia thinks so:
“The chatter on social media about the event – we watched the livestream after Bkav’s PR people, if it even has any, did not reply to our requests to attend – is a mixed bag. Many Vietnamese are very supportive of the new phone, which is pridefully Vietnam’s first smartphone. At the same time, the outlandish nature of the event is seen as overkill.”
The smartphone is powered by the BOS operating system which is based on Android. The hardware features a 5-inch full HD display, has front and back cameras, a glass back and an aluminum frame.
Pricing for 16GB Bphone will be VND9.99 million (US$455), the 64GB and 24k gold plated 128GB editions go for VND12.96 million ($595) and VND20.19 million ($927), respectively.
Not long after the phone was announced, nationalism came to the fore with Vietnamese netizens calling for a boycott of the Bphone citing the presence of its Chinese satellite navigation system –which they claim to be a potential security threat. There is, I suppose, the possibility that this could compromise an individual’s location for individual drone strikes, but…no, wait.
The Vietnamese smartphone market is hardly a cutthroat arena yet (this is the first one after all) but if you did want to take down a competitor, attaching their name to century-old rival China is a solid strategy.
Pham Hong Phuoc, a Vietnamese tech pundit wrote in ITC News that the Chinese hardware was a matter of wise business acumen since Bkav is looking beyond the Vietnamese market for its flagship device.
“It’s good for Bkav, especially when their Bphone will not only be sold in Vietnam,” he said.