2 months ago, HTC announced that it was working on a blockchain-powered smartphone device it calls Exodus. In the previous year, the company shipped more than 2 million products in the first quarter of the year. This year however according to IDC, it only shipped 630,000 products in its first quarter.
This among many other reasons indicates that HTC’s business is currently struggling. Some weeks ago, the company laid off 1,500 employees in Taiwan with the hope that it will be profitable. According to the company last month, sales were reduced by 68 percent. The latest flagship of HTC, the U12 received very poor reviews because of its solid state buttons and software bugs.
The financial situation of the company has clearly indicated that it might not be a good idea to work on releasing a blockchain-powered smartphone. However, HTC’s Phil Chen said that the phone will be made available by the end of the year and although he didn’t clearly state any specifics, he said the price of the device will be revealed by the end of the third quarter of the year. He said that the cost will be within the range of the world’s first blockchain-powered phone called Finney which costs $1,000.
Chen says that he was the one who brought up the idea of a blockchain-pwered phone to the executives at HTC, it was when bitcoin prices were rising rapidly by the end of last year that the idea aroused the interests of the executives and later the idea became a strategy.
Last year, cryptocurrency mania reduced as cryptocurrency hacks and scams became popular. A partnership to be the only company to provide users with the ability to hold their own cryptocurrency wallets could appear to fall in the category of scams and gimmicks.
In reply to this, Chen states that, “the most secure hardware wallet out there.” He hopes that trading virtual cats will serve as encouragement for people to try out the Exodus.
According to Will Stofega, program director at IDC for mobile and drones, people do not seem to grasp the idea of a blockchain-powered phone yet. He said, “I think most of us would agree that blockchain and crypto are still super early. HTC’s direction in crypto is definitely an investment. To say that doing a crypto phone is going to help HTC get in the black or stay in the black wouldn’t be correct since it’s a very niche market. It’s definitely a view in the future.” He says that’s what makes HTC’s blockchain-powered phone a risky bet that could pay off.