HTC Plans to Ship a Blockchain Phone This Year
The Taiwanese electronics maker on Tuesday unveiled the Exodus smartphone, which would serve as both a mobile connecting point to the world of decentralized networks and a storage device for those who want to carry their crypto in their pocket.
According to Phil Chen – who previously founded HTC’s Vive virtual reality product line and recently returned to the company to spearhead the Genesis project – the company aims to start distributing the device in short order.
“We’re looking to ship by the end of this year,” Chen told CoinDesk.
The way the product has been internally positioned indicates that HTC sees a powerful role for decentralized technologies, particularly for putting the power to control consumers’ digital identities firmly in their own hands.
And Raymond Pao, associate vice president of VR new technology for HTC, said that “will be building the framework and phone that powers the decentralized web.”
“We believe smartphones will be a critical component for the entire crypto ecosystem. This phone will act as the hub, just like the PC did in the early days of the Internet” he told CoinDesk.
Chen said that the goal was to build a product that would provide a high level of security for digital assets stored in the device, but one that also offers an ease of use other crypto-wallets on the market lack.
In particular, the Genesis is set to include a digital storefront for distributed apps, or dapps, in addition to a built-in wallet. The idea is that this store will be connected to offerings around existing blockchain networks, including ethereum. The phone will also have an API built into it so that developers can build additional apps based on the integrated networks.
Indeed, HTC appears to be betting that the ubiquitous nature of the smartphone – data from Statista indicates that nearly 3 billion people today use smartphones worldwide – is a natural fit for blockchain, especially as it relates to greater control over one’s information.
“We really care about this portable identity and users owning their identity and data, and we believe that the phone is the best place to do that,” Chen explained.
Not going it alone
As a major smartphone maker, one might think that HTC is looking to jump into the market with guns blazing.
But according to Chen, the Taiwanese manufacturer is taking a decidedly different approach, reaching out to projects like ethereum and DFinity as it looks to integrate those protocols into the Genesis phone.
The coming months, Chen went on to say, will see the slow release of additional information about the Genesis, including white papers, specifications and the like.
And in a nod to the crypto community, a forthcoming pre-sale for the phone will only accept bitcoin and ethereum as payment.