HTC has announced the HTC Exodus 1S, which is a crypto-focused smartphone that can run a full node for the Bitcoin blockchain. The Exodus 1S will cost 219 euro, which is just one-third of the price for the original Exodus 1. This new phone will initially ship to Europe, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
HTC calls the Exodus 1S a cryptophone. It’s a smartphone with the security of a crypto hardware wallet. It makes it safer for users to buy, sell, send, receive, borrow and lend cryptocurrencies. This is also the first phone that’s capable of running a full Bitcoin node. Integrated Web 3.0 software allows users to install decentralized applications like the Kyber crypto exchange, game-oriented Decentraland marketplace or borrowing and lending tool Compound.
HTC Exodus crypto and blockchain features
Overall the HTC Exodus 1S is a weaker version of its predecessor, but it stands out with its crypto and blockchain features. The highlight of the phone is the option to run a node on the Bitcoin network. This means that the phone can validate and transmit transactions without the need to trust a third party. Even though this is not as energy consuming as mining bitcoin, it does require quite some battery power. HTC suggests to use WiFi and keep the phone plugged into its power adapter.
To run a full node for the Bitcoin network, a micro SD card is needed to store the entire ledger. Currently the Bitcoin network requires approximately 260GB, and it grows with an estimated 60GB per year. The minimum requirement to run a node would be a 400GB micro SD card. The card is obviously not included, and would add another 60-70 euro. HTC is planning to also roll out full node support to the original Exodus 1, but there’s no time frame for that yet.
Just like the first HTC crypto phone the new one uses HTC’s Zion wallet. This way the phone can safely store, send and receive cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin and stellar. In addition of course a variety of Ethereum-based ERC20 tokens and ERC721 digital items.
From an hardware perspective the new phone is not that impressive. The screen is now 5.7 inch, while the first Exodus phone had a 6 inch display. Its Snapdragon 435 processor is now three years old, while it has 4GB of working memory and 64GB internal storage. In addition the system’s operating system (Android Orea 8.1) is already two years old. The phone even uses a weaker battery compared with its predecessor.
HTC and Samsung are getting more competition
HTC already has two crypto-friendly phones on the market. The Exodus 1S is very cheap compared with other new smartphones, even though it’s more focused on cryptocurrency fanatics than people with an high-end taste. Samsung’s Galaxy S10 is another crypto-friendly smartphone for the high-end market. This phone has its own internet wallets and supports decentralized apps. Lastly there’s tech startup Sirin Labs, which released its first blockchain phone in November 2018.
These three companies are the first on the market, but they are getting more competition. Allegedly LG is working on a blockchain phone, while blockchain startup Pundi Labs is building a phone that can even circumvent telecom providers by transmitting calls over a blockchain. It’s not unlikely that brands like Huawei, Oppo, Xiaomi, Lenovo and OnePlus are working on something similar as well.
China Telecom has high expectation for the future of mobile phones. According to them the roll out of 5G internet will change everything. Phones can be connected to a blockchain that is build for this type of internet.
This 5G blockchain would have five application scenarios. The telecom company mentioned digital identity verification, financial services, supply chain tracing services, judicial application and the express delivery industry. Theoretically it will be possible for 5G phones to contribute to a blockchain network, just like the Exodus S1 does to the Bitcoin network.
Also published on Medium.