Two technology firms enter the Blockchain phone race

  • By Tom Cleveland

  • October 24, 2018
  • 5:58 pm BST

Runners, take your marks… Get set… and they’re off! Yes, the race is on, but not on a track. This time we have two technology firms vying for the leadership position in the blockchain phone space, if there really is such a thing, via their respective product offerings. Within eleven days in October, both high-tech companies, HTC and Pundi X, announced their premier entries in the highly specialized blockchain phone arena. Neither is available for purchase at this time, but HTC expects to ship before December, while Pundi X is targeting the second quarter of 2019. If you are a fan of technical jargon, here are a few details from the press coverages for each device:

HTC and Exodus 1

Per reports: “HTC, a Taiwanese consumer electronics company, unveiled its flagship blockchain-focused smartphone today, called the Exodus 1. Also, the phone maker said it developed its own cryptocurrency wallet called Zion so the phone could double as a hardware wallet. The phone comes with a separate micro operating system running parallel with Android, made by SoftBank’s Arm Holdings, to keep a customer’s cryptocurrency safe. This so-called secure enclave is to add another layer of security.”

In an interview with CNBC, Phil Chen, HTC’s decentralized chief officer, stated that “Integrating blockchain into the phone bolsters the security and privacy of a user’s assets, and will in the future help with protecting a customer’s data and identity. 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.”

Reports also noted that “Exodus 1 is early access, however, and is expected to be shipped by December. It costs BTC 0.15 or ETH 4.78, which is around USD 960.” You may only purchase your phone with crypto, a marketing tactic designed to have a special appeal with the cadre of zealots in the blockchain community.

Pundi X and XPhone

Per reports: “Pundi X, a developer of crypto payments solutions, has demonstrated a blockchain-powered smartphone called the XPhone. One of its attributes is the operating system (OS) powered by a fully decentralized blockchain network called Function X, which was used to make the world’s first blockchain phone call at the XBlockchain Summit in Bali this week. Unlike traditional phones, which require a centralized mobile carrier, XPhone runs independently without the need for that.”

As with the HTC offering, the XPhone will be based on the Android 9.0 operating system, to ensure backward compatibility and ease of development support from independent sources. Pitt Huang, Pundi X CTO and co-founder, also noted that “We see blockchain as being at a similar stage of development to the Internet in the early ‘90s; a new kind of network and decentralized protocol like Function X will be transformational to blockchain as the browser was to the Internet. For a start, it’s putting blockchain in the hands of millions via a smartphone and returning control of their data back to them, but it also answers so many other challenges.”

Early pricing data was not a part of this press release, but management promised more information to follow shortly in October. Pundi X expects to begin shipping its new phone in the second quarter of 2019.