For those of you who missed it, HTC made the world’s first Android smartphone helping Google, well, conquer the world. Since then, the Taiwanese company has launched a number of different devices, including smartphones, tablets and most recently – virtual reality glasses called Vive.
These days, it is struggling to compete with Samsung, LG and an array of Chinese companies, which offer similar products for the fraction of the cost.
Now, it wants to dive into the world of blockchain with its…
At the center of the Project Genesis will be HTC’s Exodus smartphone, which is designed to serve as both a mobile connecting point to the world of decentralized networks and a storage device for those who want to carry the crypto in their pocket.
The phone itself is set to ship by the end of this year, but there’s more than the physical product in this project; the idea is to join the wave of decentralized technologies, and put the power back to the hands of consumers.
Specifically, HTC aims to build the “framework and phone that powers the decentralized web,” according to Raymond Pao, associate vice president of VR new technology for HTC.
“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,” he told CoinDesk.
Pao went on to compare centralized systems where the company behind a major platform like Google can provide personalized services to customers because it knows a lot about them.
“On the opposite side, there are the users who care about their privacy more and want to own their information and identification,” he said. “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.”
Merging ease of use with security
In order to create a compelling offering, HTC must come up with the device (and the overall system) that is both easy to use and secure.
According to Phil Chen, who previously founded HTC’s Vive virtual reality product line and recently returned to the company to spearhead the Genesis project, the goal is to build a product that would provide a high level of security for digital assets stored in the device, as well as the one that also offers an ease of use other crypto-wallets on the market lack.
Specifically, the Genesis will include a digital storefront for distributed apps (DApps) in addition to a built-in wallet. Also, it will connect to offerings around existing blockchain networks, such as Ethereum; while the phone itself will have an API to allow developers to build additional apps based on the integrated networks.
“We really care about this portable identity and users owning their identity and data, and we believe that the phone is the best place to do that,” Chen explained.
Partnering for success
In order to have a system that talks to other platforms, HTC has reached out to projects like Ethereum and DFinity to integrate those protocols into the Genesis phone.
“Right now, we’re talking to ethereum, DFinity, and we want to run their clients to optimize for their nodes,” Chen said. “We want to be the Switzerland for all protocols, ethereum etc, so the phone can do 20-30 percent of it in terms of verifying.”
He went on to promise that the company will be releasing additional details, including white papers and specifications, in the coming months.
At the end, he said that HTC will organize a presale for the Exodus smartphone, and only accept Bitcoin and Ethereum as payment. This, we think, is the winning formula.
Not the only game in town
Before we let you go, it is worth adding that HTC is not the only company working on a blockchain-focused smartphone; previously, we’ve seen Sirin Labs raising $157 million in an initial coin offering (ICO) to build the “Finney” device.
Also, Huawei is mulling something in the space, having added the first wallet app to its app store, while its software arm is offering blockchain-related services.
All being said, chances are we’ll see more and more handset makers joining the decentralized software party, and at the end of the day – we’ll get more options to choose from. That, again, is a good thing. 😉