HTC announced that they will release a new Android phone, powered by the blockchain. The benefit to owning this mobile device, named Exodus, will be to provide a better user experience for cryptocurrency and DApp users.
According to the announcement on TheNextWeb, the phone will come with a universal digital wallet, pre-installed, along with secure hardware to support cryptocurrencies and DApps. The decentralized application-friendly platform will be designed by Phil Chen, the creator of HTC’s VR headset, Vive, which starts at $499 and includes features such as SteamVR tracking and a fully immersive virtual environment.
Chen will be responsible for all blockchain projects under the banner of HTC, including Exodus. Among these projects is a native blockchain network on all exodus phones that will turn them into nodes for trading cryptocurrency with other HTC phone owners. A number of phone companies offer special services to people on their networks. For example, Verizon enables video calling between subscribers. It appears that HTC may be the first to market with a blockchain network for its users. If a fungible cryptocurrency is attached to the native HTC blockchain, then it may bring additional value to the phone owners. Most phone companies and some manufacturers offer rebates to their customers. With the addition of crypto to the mix, there may be another marketing vehicle for companies to promote. Rather than offering rebates and free phones, a company like HTC could, in theory, load the phone with enough crypto to cover its cost on the open market. Users would have immediate access to the tokens, and phone companies would have more cash in hand.
It’s possible that HTC goes the crypto route, but it has not made any announcements to that effect. The pre-loaded, multi-currency wallet will still bring plenty of value to current crypto owners, and it will likely entice other users to enter the market. According to Chen, “Through Exodus, we are excited to be supporting underlying protocols such as Bitcoin, Lightning Networks, Ethereum, Dfinity, and more.” Using the phone’s hardware, Chen hopes to support the entire blockchain ecosystem. This includes a number of partnerships. The company may also accept crypto in payment for the phones, rather than fiat.
Of note, HTC was not the first company to announce a blockchain-friendly phone. Sirin Labs announced a blockchain smartphone in September 2017, scheduled for release in October 2018. As HTC’s announcement came later, we might expect that the company plans to include later generation technology, though it’s also notable that Sirin Labs has had more time to perfect their phone, which has a price tag of $1,000.
Most modern smartphones may be upgraded with cryptocurrency apps and other blockchain software. In that regard, we won’t know the true value of the native apps and hardware until the phones come out. What we can expect is a lot of chatter about the phones. If the new blockchain platforms live up to user expectations, then they could be the beginning of a new generation of smartphones available from multiple manufacturers. If not, then the hype will be short-lived.
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