HTC, popular Taiwan-based mobile phone brand and pioneer developers of virtual head gears for video games; has made public its plan to launch a Blockchain-powered phone. The new smartphone is quoted by many as part of the company’s plans to ride on the cryptocurrency hype and regain relevance after selling most of its stake to Google last year.
The blockchain powered smartphone named HTC Exodus 1 is available for pre-order and will ship to customers from December 1. Potential buyers are informed that only crypto-payments will be accepted for this device; with the company specifying its choice of Bitcoin and Ethereum cryptocurrencies as payment. The device costs around $960 an equivalent of (0.15 BTC) or (4.78 ETH) respectively at this time.
For the Exodus 1 blockchain phone, its most endearing feature is the built-in ‘secure enclave’; a protected area from the Andriod OS based on trusted zone technology. This area allows users to securely store their private keys in the device’s Zion crypto wallet used to transact and sign digital contracts on the blockchain.
According to CEO of Visible Energy and reviewer of the device,
The fact that the device comes with a built-in multi-crypto wallet is a great thing and will serve 30 million people around the world who use a digital wallet today. It also means that with the Exodus 1, you will not need a separate hardware wallet like a secure USB key to store your cryptocurrency offline.
Phil Chen, head of HTC’s blockchain initiative also reiterated:
We have our focus on the core blockchain and cryptocurrency community. Being the first to do so and accepting only cryptocurrencies, reflects our belief in cryptocurrencies and bloickchain – infact we had to recreate and overcome many processes internally as well as find new distributors so that we achieve the goal of only accepting cryptocurrencies as the form of payment.
Another plus to this innovation by HTC, is its ‘Social Key Recovery Option’. This feature helps users who lose their private key to get their crypto funds back; in cases when the phone gets lost, stolen or totally damaged. The recovery option works by allowing phone owners pick 3 to 5 trustworthy friends that will each have a piece of the recovery key or code via a key management app, who will then be contacted to enable you access back your digital wallet.
Other device specifications include:
- Andriod Oreo (8)
- 16 MegaPixel and 12 MegaPixel dual main camera and an 8-megapixel dual front camera.
- 6 inch Quad HD display
- 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor
- 3500mAh battery
- IP68 rating (dust and water resistant)
- No audio jack
HTC also intends to release a software development kit (SDK) to allow third-party developers write their own secure key applications and wallets.
The Exodus 1 will be available in 34 countries including U.S, Taiwan, Singapore, New Zealand, Hong Kong, U.K., Austria, Norway and other European countries; with China totally excluded given its cryptocurrency hostility.
Note: HTC is not the first to announce a blockchain-enabled smartphone. A blockchain startup Sikur had developed Sikurphone based on Sony Experia, also Sirin Labs had previously announced its Finney blockchain-phone. However, only HTC Exodus 1 is the first to build a hardware-based mobile phone wallet for cryptocurrency.
Innovation Fact: Samsung had in July revealed that mobile phones are more secure in processing cryptocurrency payments than other devices or web platforms because of the existence of Trusted Execution Enviroment (TEE). The TEE operates in a separate environment with its own memory and storage hence making it impossible for hackers to breach into information stored within the TEE protocol.
Do you own an HTC mobile? What are your thoughts on this new device?