The Taiwanese consumer electronics company HTC has been gearing up to release a blockchain-focused mobile phone for quite some time, and it is now reportedly slated to hit shelves in the fall of this year.
This comes as HTC has launched a website dedicated to the device – dubbed HTC Exodus – where presumptive buyers can sign up for more information. The website touts the upcoming HTC device as offering the ”first cold wallet phone with key recovery”.
Although specifics of the device are few and far between, HTC’s newly appointed ”Chief Decentralizing Officer” Phil Chen has revealed that the cost of the device would be akin to that of Sirin Labs’ upcoming ”Finney” blockchain phone, tentatively priced at $1,000.
Phil Chen heads the HTC Exodus division and has previously been associated with the development of HTC’s VR headset Vive. Chen has also announced that Exodus will support a myriad of underlying protocols, ”such as Bitcoin, the Lightning Network, Ethereum, Dfinity and more”.
HTC has long seen declining sales for its smartphone division, with its sales down more than 68.5% year over year for the first quarter of 2018, according to statistics released by IDC. This is echoed by the company’s official statement that sales in June had declined by 68% as well.
HTC seems to be hedging its bets on this new blockchain-powered phone to turn this trend. This seems especially likely given that HTC recently laid off 1,500 employees, however stating that the layoffs would decidedly not ”impact the production of the world’s first blockchain phone”.
The HTC Exodus will reportedly be built specifically for the use of decentralized apps (so-called dApps) and will offer users a special, hardware-backed ”secure enclave” to give users easy and safe access to the phone’s native cryptocurrency wallet.
HTC has also entered into a partnership with the team behind the blockchain-based CryptoKitties game, in order to bring the game title to HTC’s upcoming device. The company is also looking to create an app store intended solely for dApps.
The Taiwanese company has also stated that it has a number of ”exciting partnerships” which will supposedly be announced in the coming months. It remains to be seen what other cryptocurrency and blockchain-related ventures HTC ends up teaming up with.
HTC has also previously hinted that it is exploring the option of accepting cryptocurrency payments when the HTC Exodus becomes available for purchase. It would seem that we now know that this will be in Q3 of this year.
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