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Meet BKAV's made-in-Vietnam Bphone (pictures)

As part of Road Trip 2015, CNET checks out BKAV's first smartphone.

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Shara_Tibken.jpg
Shara Tibken
Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
Shara Tibken
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1 of 8 Shara Tibken/CNET

Made in Vietnam

BKAV calls Bphone the first designed- and made-in-Vietnam phone. Other Vietnamese companies have put their own brands on Chinese-made designs, but BKAV spent $20 million and four years building Bphone.

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2 of 8 Shara Tibken/CNET

Designed in Vietnam

The Bphone comes in six variations -- 16GB black; 64GB in black, white or champagne; and limited edition 128GB gold-plated black or white.

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3 of 8 Shara Tibken/CNET

Quick transfer

Bphone has a technology called TransferJet that lets users share photos and other items with other Bphone users.

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4 of 8 Shara Tibken/CNET

Can you hear me now?

Pricing for Bphone ranges from about $458 to $925. Most people in Vietnam make less than $150 a month, but there is a market for pricey phones. Nearly half of all smartphone sold in Vietnam come from Apple and Samsung, according to market tracker Strategy Analytics.

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5 of 8 Shara Tibken/CNET

BOS

BKAV created its own software -- called the Bphone Operating System, or BOS for short --- to layer on top of Google's Android software. BOS comes packed with many BKAV-designed apps, including a browser (Bhrome) and dialer/Internet-based calling app (Btalk). Another key feature of BOS -- strong antivirus software, which is BKAV’s bread and butter.

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6 of 8 Shara Tibken/CNET

iPhone-like

The Bphone's design is reminiscent of an Apple iPhone 4 but with a bigger, 5-inch screen. (The iPhone 4 had a 3.5-inch display)

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7 of 8 Shara Tibken/CNET

Unboxing

Along with some features similar to the iPhone, the Bphone packaging also looks like earlier iPhone boxes.

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8 of 8 Shara Tibken/CNET

Big ambitions

BKAV has 150 workers in two factories in Hanoi who build certain Bphone parts and assemble the devices. The company plans to move to a larger factory in the suburbs when demand picks up.

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