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Vietnam's Bphone recalled for software upgrades less than fortnight after delivery

Tuesday, June 30, 2015, 11:31 GMT+7
Vietnam's Bphone recalled for software upgrades less than fortnight after delivery
A customer holds a Bphone at an FPT store in Ho Chi Minh City on May 6, 2015.

Although Bkav is trying to market its Bphone as the world’s leading smartphone, the road now proves rough for the Hanoi-based company, as it is recalling the first batche of handsets shortly after delivery for software upgrades.

Those customers who had the Bphone delivered to their doors on June 18 will have to return it to the manufacturer for software upgrades, Do Thu Hang, director of public relations with Bkav, confirmed to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Monday.

The Vietnamese company, known for its Bkav antivirus software, had previously said the upgrades would be done online.

Bkav took the wraps off its brainchild, the Bphone, on May 26 and officially put it on sale a week later.

Delivery has been delayed many times and the new date is July 3, according to the company’s spokesperson.

The Internet security firm-turned-smartphone maker recorded 11,822 orders in its first day of sales, but refused to say how many phones had been delivered in the first batch on June 18.

The recalled products will have their firmware upgraded by Bkav engineers, whereas their cameras will also be improved to “enable them to take better photos than the iPhone 6 Plus,” Hang asserted.

Bkav has consistently asserted its Bphone is capable of rivaling Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy S gadgets.

The products will be returned on July 3 with a gift voucher of VND200,000 ($10), applicable to purchases at, which is Bkav’s shopping site and the only channel via which the Bphone is distributed.

Bkav CEO Nguyen Tu Quang hailed the Bphone as the world’s best smartphone at the launch ceremony, attended by more than 2,000 people, in Hanoi last month.

However, the device has been hamstrung by a series of scandals since the launch, which illustrates that it is nowhere near the world level.

On June 5, Bkav began displaying demo versions of the Bphone at two FPT Shop mobile phone stores, one each in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, for users to have a first-hand experience.

However, only three days later, the company suddenly removed these devices from shelves, apparently because they had received negative comments from those who tested them out.

The demo versions reportedly have screens with poor display and slow performance quality that is even lower than some low-cost handsets, with Bkav protesting that these are only “demo, experimental versions rather than the official commercial devices.”

Bkav said it has developed its own operating system, called BOS, for the Bphone.

The platform is in fact developed from the core of Google’s Android, and local tech enthusiasts have also discovered that Bkav has yet to sign a Mobile Application Distribution Agreement with Google.

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