[Update 2: Exodus 1s Specs] HTC wants us to know it’s not dead, plans to release its 5G Hub and a second-gen “blockchain phone”
HTC may have been the first company to craft the first commercial Android smartphone, but more than a decade later, it has been reduced to a shell of its former self. While the Taiwanese company did manage to release a few smartphones—the HTC U12 series and the “Exodus 1” blockchain-focused smartphone—in 2018, poor sales testify that HTC may be on the verge of dying, if not already dead. Its official Twitter handle for the U.S., which has been inactive for over a month, echoes this belief. But the company may not want us to think that, just yet.
Today, the HTC Twitter account sprung back from a night of deep sleep to inform its followers that it is working on two key developments. The first one is 5G and the other is its second-generation blockchain phone. Additionally, HTC also plans to expand its footprint in the blockchain and digital asset management ecosystem to make the best of the two emerging technologies.
Recently, HTC revealed its plans to unveil its 5G Mobile Smart Hub, which is basically a portable Wi-Fi router leveraging a 5G connection. It also has a 5-inch HD touchscreen to display speed and allows management of entertaining content, games, etc. The 5G Mobile Smart Hub was first unveiled at MWC 2019 and HTC’s recent tweet suggests that we can expect a commercial launch soon. For the launch, HTC could be partnering with telecom operators such as Sprint in the U.S., EE and Three UK in the UK, Telstra in Australia, Elisa in Finland, Sunrise in Switzerland, and Deutsche Telekom in Germany.
— HTC (@htc) May 2, 2019
HTC says this Smart Hub will also allow users to stream content to its HTC Vive VR headsets without any wires beside casting 4K videos to large displays. It might even replace your tradition Wi-Fi routers, insists HTC’s CEO Cher Wang.
Besides its portable 5G router with a screen, HTC is also banking upon the successor to the Exodus 1, which is claimed to have matched the company’s sales expectation. HTC is also planning to build its own cryptocurrency, but we’re not sure how that will work out in the global crash of cryptocurrencies. The upcoming second-generation Exodus smartphone will “will extend its blockchain apps to include other areas such as browsing, messaging, and social media,” HTC’s decentralized chief officer Phil Chen told DigiTimes. The smartphone will be launched later this year.
These plans may attract niche users, but HTC may have to try harder to once again be dearie among the masses. That requires more effort than just proving its existence. This may include activities like pushing Android Pie update to other phones beside the flagship U12 and the U11 series.Via: Taiwan News
Update 1: Exodus 1s announced
According to multiple media outlets including VentureBeat, Mashable, and Engadget, HTC has announced a cheaper Exodus smartphone dubbed the Exodus 1s. While the Exodus 1 debuted at $699, the Exodus 1s will cost around $250 to $300 when it launches in Q3 of this year. However, it will also bring a new feature: full Bitcoin node capability.
This allows the device to retain a copy of Bitcoin’s entire blockchain history so you can send transactions to the network without needing wallet software. However, the blockchain size is quite large and requires constantly syncing to keep up-to-date, so HTC says they’re employing a technique called “pruning” to reduce the ledger down to about 10GB; the full bitcoin blockchain can be stored on the device if an SD card is inserted. Regardless, you’ll want to stick to Wi-Fi because there’s still a lot of data transmissions going on.
Like the original Exodus, the Exodus 1s has HTC’s Zion Vault, a private blockchain vault allowing you to conduct cryptocurrency transactions and manage your wallet. The Zion Vault supports “Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, selected ERC-20 tokens, and ERC-721 collectibles,” according to VentureBeat.
We’ll learn more about the smartphone in the coming months. HTC says the Exodus series is “about empowering the user.” The goal is to “[democratize] access to the technology for a free world.” HTC sees the growing skepticism toward large consumer tech companies and is hoping users will get on board with the decentralized web to take control over their own data.
Feature image credits: HTC.
Update 2: Exodus 1s Specs
Perhaps taking the crown for the most “no one asked for this” phone, the HTC Exodus 1s is official. HTC shared the full details for this “blockchain smartphone” and it’s firmly in the mid to low-end. One of the headlining features is HTC’s Zion wallet. This allows the Exodus 1s to store, send and receive a variety of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, Steller, the Etherum-based ERC-20, and ERC-721 tokens.
The Exodus 1s is powered by the Snapdragon 435 process, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage (you will need a microSD card of at least 400GB to fully take advantage of the Bitcoin ledger storage feature), a 5.7-inch 720p display, microUSB for charging, 13MP cameras on front and back, and Android Oreo. The Exodus 1s costs €219 ($244) in Europe. HTC plans to bring the device to Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates as well.