The much anticipated HTC Exodus blockchain has finally been launched. The phone contains its own dedicated hardware wallet called the Zion which is separate from the Android operating system that powers the phone.

Exodus is designed to provide maximum security for crypto assets with a dedicated micro OS. It will also be used to store sensitive identity data in the future.

The Exodus is currently available for pre-order for 0.15 BTC or 4.78 Ether tokens. It can only be purchased using cryptocurrencies and is expected to start shipping in December.

This is quite a high price tag at par with flagship iPhone and Samsung models. However, the company says it is targeted at crypto holders who have made their money in the space.

“And the reason why you do a blockchain phone is … for everybody just to own their own keys. Everything starts there. When you start owning your own keys, then you can start owning your own digital identity, then you can start to own data,” said Phil Chen in an interview with CNBC.

According to Phil Chen, HTC’s Chief Crypto Officer, the company has its sights on the estimated currently existing 30 million crypto wallets from which one and a half to two million hardware wallets, he told CNBC.

The next App Store frontier?

According to Phil Chen, HTC has a history of making big investments on new technologies such as 2G and 3G phones, the first Android phone and then the first VR Vive headset. Now, the company is recognizing another paradigm shift. Phil Chen says the App Store was launched in 2008, and now he believes the wallet will develop into the next App Store.

“We believe this wallet, is sort of the next App Store for smartphones. Because is where you hold your crypto, in the future hold your identity, your own data and so every App or Dapp will be build on top of that.”

Apart from the wallet, the phone spots some high-end features including a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, 6GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage.

This marks a shift in focus for the once-dominant phone manufacturer as it positions software and intellectual property at the center of its strategy to regain its dwindling appeal. With a fall in its smartphone sales, the company has been branching to areas such as virtual reality. It has also cut its staff, offloading some to work with Google.

HTC is not the only company vying for this market. Sirin Labs recently revealed details of its Finney phone ahead of its launch in November. According to TechRadar, the blockchain phone will retail at $999 and will also feature a secure cold wallet.

Much of the hardware in the Finney is similar to HTC’s Exodus. It also runs on a forked Android operating system. Sirin Labs intends the phone to partly be used to make purchases in a faster way using a system that automatically converts coins to those needed to make a purchase.

Nica Tudor

Blockchain, Smart Contracts, and cryptocurrencies enthusiast.

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