The 2018 Bphone, the third generation of the Vietnamese-made smartphone developed by Hanoi-based cyber security firm Bkav, was unveiled during a quieter event than those held for its predecessors on Wednesday.
Bkav touted the latest Bphone as the first-ever Android device that has no bottom chin, or the space along the bottom of the display.
This design, modeling after Apple’s iPhone X, features no physical home button, requiring users to navigate to the home screen and apps by using hand gestures.
“Most smartphones today have a thick bottom edge called chin, and it is not easy for many manufacturers to produce devices with a chin-less design like the Bphone 3,” Bkav CEO Nguyen Tu Quang said, holding a Bphone 3, to the applause of some 2,000 people at the Vietnam National Convention Center.
The Vietnamese-made gadget comes in two versions, Bphone 3 and Bphone 3 Pro, both running on Android 8.1 and given a six-inch HD screen, plus a 12MP camera, compared with the 16MP on the 2017 forerunner.
The former is equipped with a Snapdragon Qualcomm 636 chip while the latter has a 660 chip of the same label.
The Bphone 3, powered by a Snapdragon Qualcomm 636 chip, offers 3GB RAM, storage space up to 32GB and two colors – black titan and white silver – for users to pick, starting at VND6.99 million (US$300.6).
And the Bphone 3 Pro, in black gold and white gold, with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage, is priced at VND9.99 million ($429.6), affirming Bkav’s strategy of targeting “near high-end users.”
It is the first phone in the price range with IP68 waterproof rating, meaning it could be immersed in 1.5 meters of water for half an hour without a problem, Bkav stated at the release event in Hanoi.
Vu Thanh Thang, Bphone vice-chairman, said that 90 percent of the phones’ parts are sourced from U.S. and Japanese suppliers.
|The Bphone 3 is seen at the release event. Photo: Bkav|
In addition, the battery lasts 1.5 days and can be charged to 80 percent in 35 minutes with Quick Charge 3.0 technology at three times the average charging speed, the firm claimed.
The Bphone 3 also has a new feature that allows users to track and find the phone when losing it, even when the device is factory reset, not connected to the Internet or does not carry a SIM card. It also filters out all spam messages and phone calls, the company said.
According to the company’s marketing director Vu Mai Phuong, the Bphone 3 will be “handed over to every customer” through a chain of 300 affiliated stores, a list of which will be posted on Bkav’s website.
Customers could start pre-ordering the Bphone 3 on Wednesday, before its official retail sale on October 19, Phuong said.
The Bphone 3, unlike its predecessors Bphone 2 in 2017 and Bphone 1 in 2015 which were assessed as flops by experts, is not made ‘famous’ due to controversy around its blown-up value.
While CEO Quang claimed that Bkav sold 12,000 Bphone 2 devices to its customers, the sales were never verified and none of the devices seem to have ever been used.
There was no social media dislike after Wednesday’s launching event was concluded with Quang saying that “the Bphone 3 is really a high-quality, high-end smartphone made in Vietnam.”
Quang founded Bkav in 2001 as an antivirus vendor before expanding it to the hardware sector.
He earned the notorious ‘Boastful Quang’ nickname for his tendency to overestimate the company’s products and services.