Vietnam's Bkav targets smartwatch, tablet markets, after smartphone flop

By Thanh Luan, Thanh Nien News

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 Leaked images of Bkav's smartwatch. Photo: Thanh Luan
Despite drawing much public cynicism, the miserable sales of its debut smartphone has not slowed down Vietnamese network security company Bkav's ambitious plan to take on Apple and Samsung in the local mobile market.
A representative with the Hanoi-based company has confirmed with Thanh Nien that it is developing a smartwatch and a tablet tentatively named Bwatch and Bpad, after several photos of the watch's supposed design were posted online. In May, the photo of the tablet's design was leaked in local technology forums.
The products are expected to debut early next year at the same time with the second generation of its smartphone Bphone, according to the representative.
Bkav unveiled its Android phone in May amid the hype of Vietnamese tech fans and the local media.
Bphone's design, technical specifications and security were claimed to be "on the same level" as the flagship products of Apple and Samsung. But, the company soon faced plagiarism accusations, including a claim that it copied the design of a Chinese affordable phone.
Although Bkav dismissed the claims and even invited local media to its production factories supposedly invested with tens of millions of dollars to prove its product's true high quality, Bphone's reviews were not favorable. Local critics' common opinion was that its average quality failed to justify its high prices -- US$457-$924.
The company, in fact, has been struggling with Bphone's sales.
Initially the phone was available at Bkav's retail website only, but within two months it posted the shipment of only 12,000, much lower than Vietnamese smartphone market's consumption which exceeded 3 million in the first quarter alone.
The low sales prompted Bkav to expand its product's retail network to local mobile shops early last month, but only 12 Bphone units were sold within the first two weeks, local media reported.
This month Bkav started offering discounts despite early claims that there would be no price reduction as Bphone was a high-end product.

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