A decade on from the launch of the first ever Android phone, Taiwanese consumer electronics giant HTC has taken the wraps off its blockchain-powered smartphone, dubbed ‘Exodus’.
HTC has officially announced the early access release of Exodus 1, the company’s first-ever blockchain phone. Available for preorder on its website, the phone will ship sometime in early December and can only be purchased using cryptocurrency, specifically bitcoin and Ethereum.
With a 6-inch, QHD+ display at an 18:9 aspect ratio and a Snapdragon 845 processor with 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal storage, the Exodus 1 also packs a 3,500mAh battery with IP68 waterproof rating, comparable to mainstream Android flagships currently sold in the market by Samsung and Google and other mainstream phone makers. The device is being sold at 0.15 BTC or 4.78 ETH, about $960 – also comparable to the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 or the Google Pixel 3 XL.
Announced with much hype as the ‘world’s first native blockchain phone’ earlier in May, HTC Exodus enables support for decentralized applications (DApps) like CryptoKitties and doubles as a hardware wallet for cryptocurrency adopters.
The phone’s “secure enclave” – a locked area secluded from the rest of the phone and the Android operating system – holds the user’s private cryptocurrency keys, HTC explained. Further, a ‘Social Key Recovery’ mechanism allows the user to regain access to their crypto funds in the event of losing their private keys by picking select trustworthy contacts.
HTC is inviting cryptographers to test the early access version of its device and is also releasing APIs for third-party developers.
Speaking to CNBC, HTC’s decentralized chief Phil Chen stated:
“We believe blockchain is the new paradigm for smartphones and it will form part of HTC’s wider smartphone strategy. This marks a change in HTC, with increased focus on software and IP.”
The phone is available for pre-order in 34 countries including the US, the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore and a number of European nations, with the notable exception of China, where cryptocurrency trading and exchanges are effectively banned.
The HTC Exodus already has a competitor in its niche category, with Swiss startup Sirin Labs expected to release its own $1,000 blockchain smartphone Finney – to be manufactured by iPhone-maker Foxconn – before the end of the year.