HTC has announced on 15th May that it is developing a blockchain compatible phone. HTC, a Taiwanese mobile phone maker trail blazed the smartphone industry by bringing the first Android based phone to the market in the late 2000s. It now wants to be among the first mobile phone companies to bring a blockchain mobile phone called Exodus.
This phone will feature a universal wallet and a secure built-in hardware enclave that will support decentralized applications and cryptocurrencies in general. It will also help underlying protocols to expand their base of dedicated nodes hence expanding the total blockchain ecosystem.
Phil Chen who was behind the successful HTC’s Vine virtue reality product line will lead the Exodus project. Chen says that he wants to see a world where end consumers own their data (messaging, identities, browsing history, emails, assets and wallets) without a need for central authorities. He believes that the mobile hardware layer will contribute greatly to this decentralized world.
Each blockchain phone will serve as a node to help developers build additional apps based on the integrated network and also to facilitate cryptocurrency trading among the users. HTC is reaching out to other projects such as Ethereum and DFinity so that it can run their clients and optimize their nodes, hence support their underlying protocols.
Blockchain smartphones are believed to offer better security and user experience since they integrate cold storage wallet into the phone and enable direct trading of cryptocurrencies with other peers on the phone’s network without incurring mining fees.
According to HTC Exodus’ Chen, users’ personal data will be stored on the phone and not in the cloud, suggesting that the phone will not use cloud servers for data storage. The advantage of storing data on the blockchain is that there is little chance of losing the information in case a device fails since every node in the blockchain network has a copy of this data.
There is a potential to monetize its customers if HTC can get a mass of people engaging with the Exodus since they can monitor the number of customers using the phone and the transactions being done.
Depending on the features of the Exodus, HTC can appeal to many consumers who would like help to understand the cryptocurrencies and how to get involved with them. Also crypto enthusiasts may be attracted by this phone since they want a secure device that is primed for development of apps.
It is important to note that HTC is not the first to announce about a blockchain powered phone. Sirin Labs has recently raised $157 million in their ICO to build Finney, which is capable of delivering more compared to other phones in its category. The phone is scheduled to be released in October of this year and has some spec releases.
Huawei is also rumoured to be in talks to build their own blockchain powered phone. The company has made it possible recently to access and download BTC.com’s Bitcoin wallet as from May 11, which can be used to send, receive and store crypto. This will be through Huawei’s own mobile application store called AppGallery which is available to new phones and will be deployed to older models in the coming months.
HTC’s Chen has said that the next few months will see the release of more specs for Exodus and white papers in July-August. There will also be a pre-sale for the phone which will only accept BTC and ETH as payment.
This development has sparked interest into uses and importance of blockchain phones to all consumers, both with interest and knowledge on the blockchain and those that do not. It will be interesting to see what this development will do for HTC in terms of increasing its market share and to the mobile phone industry.