HTC set to launch new bockchain phone in H2 2019
HTC, the Taiwan-based smartphone maker, is planning to release another blockchain handset, after its first model, the Exodus 1, has achieved some success since its launch.
As reported by local news outlet Taiwan News, the launch, which is scheduled for the second half of the year, is aimed at increasing the Taiwanese company’s presence in the global blockchain market. The move was announced by HTC’s decentralised chief officer Phil Chen during a speech at an investment trend forum held in Taipei last Friday. During the speech, Chen expressed optimism about the future of blockchain, saying that while the technology was still in its early stages of development, it could one day unlock tremendous commercial potential. He added that the core strength of the technology is its ability to provide accessibility to data while ensuring the privacy of users.
HTC launched its first blockchain phone, the Exodus, in October, with Chen saying at the time that boosting user privacy was the company’s primary motivation for the move. The device features its own cryptocurrency wallet that makes the phone function as a hardware digital currency wallet that can also store private keys.
“And the reason why you do a blockchain phone is … for everybody just to own their own keys. Everything starts there. When you start owning your own keys, then you can start owning your own digital identity, then you can start to own data,” Chen said in an interview with CNBC at the time.
Last Friday, Chen indicated that the phone has so far enjoyed some success, with its sales meeting the company’s expectations. He also revealed that the second generation would have expanded blockchain capabilities.
“In addition to supporting the management of cryptocurrencies and related transactions, and virtualized personal electronics wallet seen in the prior generation, the new phone will extend its blockchain apps to include other areas such as browsing, messaging, and social media,” Chen said, as quoted by media outlet DigiTimes.
HTC’s efforts are part of a nascent trend of phone manufacturers launching blockchain-ready products. One of the first companies to take steps in that direction was a start-up called Sirin Labs, which last November launched its first product, the Finney handset. Unlike HTC, however, Sirin has struggled to find success since the phone’s launch. Media outlet last month reported that the company had laid off a quarter of its staff as sales failed to meet expectations.
South Korea’s consumer electronics giant Samsung appears poised to be a more formidable competitor to HTC in this space. Already one of the largest phone makers on the market, Samsung included blockchain features, such as crypto wallet and private key storage in its latest flagship device, the Galaxy S10.