HTC Will Release A Blockchain Powered Phone This Year
Despite being the manufacturer for the wildly successful Google Pixel phone, Taiwanese HTC has been on a downward trend for several years now. The HTC U11 released in 2017 and was the beginning of a new trend of squeezable phones with customizable functions, but that alone couldn't save HTC from a dismal performance.
2018 doesn't appear to look any better financially, as the company has projected terrible sales figures and the latest production estimate for the year is only around two million units.
Why is HTC failing?
HTC has been on the decline since late 2011 when Samsung was able to surpass the Taiwanese company in smartphone sales to become the king of Android-powered devices. HTC never regained that title, and year after year, the company continues to bleed profits and market share despite being the go-to manufacturer for Google's own Pixel smartphones.
Part of the problem for HTC was oversaturating the high-end, mid-range, and budget markets with tons of different phone models. While competitors like Samsung and Xiaomi were focusing on one or two specific smartphones in each category, HTC would sometimes offer up to five different phones with nearly identical features.
HTC also missed out in the growing Chinese market, as Xiaomi and Samsung's advertising budget in the country dwarfed the Taiwanese company. HTC also experienced a case of being too early onto the scene for smartphone production, as their best smartphones peaked before the handheld boom started in 2012.
So how is HTC planning to overcome all of these problems? It hopes the recently announced HTC Exodus will be the answer to all of these woes by introducing something entirely new to the smartphone market.
A Blockchain-Powered Future
The HTC Exodus is a blockchain-powered smartphone that is designed to be a cold wallet for cryptocurrency. HTC is hoping to release the Exodus to a worldwide audience, although regulations in place in China may make it unavailable in that region.
One of the touted features of the Exodus phone is the ability to support decentralized apps (DApps), with each phone acting as a node on the blockchain to support the network. As an example of its power with the blockchain, the phone will ship with a blockchain powered game called CryptoKitties. It's worth noting that existing HTC phones are capable of playing the game, too.
While a blockchain-powered phone may sound intriguing, HTC hasn't released any other details about the upcoming phone, behind discussing the possible price points. It is rumored the phone could be priced as high as $1,000. For a price that high, it will need to feature top-end specs and have plenty of features for it to be considered more than an oddity in the smartphone market.
Right now, HTC is exploring interest in the idea of a blockchain-powered phone by accepting reservations for the smartphone. You can sign up to reserve your device, which will debut sometime in Q3 2018.
Will it work?
While the HTC Exodus may sound like a novel idea, it's not the only smartphone on the market to incorporate the blockchain and DApps. The Finney blockchain phone is a $999 smartphone that features the latest specs like a Snapdragon 845 processor, 128GB of expandable storage, 6GB of RAM, and a 3,000mAh battery.
The major selling point of the phone is that it will come with a preinstalled wallet for managing cryptocurrency transactions. For altcoin enthusiasts, the phone will also be capable of token conversion that will enable seamless token conversion.
It remains to be seen if HTC can regain some of its former market shares by providing a platform for secure, encrypted transactions and communications, but this isn't the first niche idea the company has tried. Squeezable sides were a gimmick when they were introduced as a stand-out feature, and a blockchain-powered smartphone smells awfully like the same gimmicky territory. That's especially true given the number of cryptocurrency wallets you can download on the Google Play Store.
Still, if HTC can find a way to appeal to cryptocurrency enthusiasts and convince them that the HTC Exodus is worth having, then it could find its niche as a smartphone manufacturer that caters to a particular audience.
The blockchain is being touted as a way to provide peer-to-peer transactions without relying on a central service provider, but if the blockchain service a device is using is tied to a specific manufacturer, then we haven't achieved the goal of becoming decentralized at all. HTC promises the phone will deliver encrypted transactions and communications, but provided few details on how the phone would work in principle.
If you're interested in reserving your HTC Exodus to test out this experimental phone, you can check out HTC's website for instructions. It will be interesting to see how the Taiwanese company plans on implementing this new technology, considering they won't be the first to blaze this trail.