Device manufacturer HTC has said it expects to ship the first units of a blockchain-based smartphone as early as the end of this year, in what looks set to be the latest major innovation in mobile technology from the firm.
The Taiwan-based manufacturer, which was a pioneer of Android-platform smartphones towards the end of the 2000s, made the projections while unveiling its new Exodus handset.
Acting as both a wallet for cryptocurrency and direct connection to decentralized blockchain networks, the device would be one of the first of its kind to hit the market, especially if the projected timescale is realized.
The associate vice president of VR new technology at HTC, Raymond Pao, said the device was aimed at becoming the ‘hub’ for consumer interactions with blockchain networks.
“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.”
“If we look at the industry, there are moving in two directions. One side is 100% centralized so that the platform company knows all the details of the users. The value the platform companies can provide is fully customized service to each single person. The more the user shares to the platform company, the better-customized services the platform companies can provide.”
“On the opposite side, there are the users who care about their privacy more and want to own their information and identification. As the phone is the most personal device we use every day, we want to work on the decentralized ecosystem with the users who care most about their privacy.”
While news of the HTC device has been welcomed this week, it is not the only project of this kind currently in development. Blockchain smartphone developer Sirin Labs secured funding of over $150 million to develop their device, the ‘Finney’, which is expected to debut in the near future.
Synergies between mobile and blockchain technology are seen by some analysts as presenting the biggest opportunities around mass consumer usage. With hardware like the Exodus now rapidly approaching release, it looks like this shift might now take place sooner, rather than later.