HTC has announced new features for its blockchain smartphone Exodus 1. Users will be able to update their devices over the air in order to communicate with new partners and profit from the decentralized web through a range of customized apps, the company said.
The Taiwan-based manufacturer has released the Zion Key Management interface to selected app-development partners to develop new apps for the device, with an eye toward protecting user data. Opera is the first to make use of it with its web browser and built-in cryptocurrency wallet, which gives Exodus 1 users additional protection.
HTC and Opera say that they have set a new industry standard for securing a user-friendly blockchain experience. For example, using Opera with the Zion wallet will allow users to make direct micro-payments to content websites, while avoiding click-based advertising.
In addition, HTC is making it easier to buy an Exodus 1. Previously it could only be purchased with cryptocurrency, but beginning in March, it will be available in the U.S. with standard money, for US $699.00, as well as in other selected regions.
Blockchain technology is forging ahead within the mobile sphere. HTC’s Exodus 1 smartphone offers users ways to increase security while benefiting from synergies involving the use of cryptocurrencies. By upgrading the features, HTC is making the device more relevant and flexible, which is bound to appeal to the small but growing contingent of users who know what blockchain is and what advantages it can provide.
Although cryptocurrency is the most widely known application of blockchain, HTC is making its phone available via traditional currency, indicating that the manufacturer sees a market beyond the cadre of Bitcoin and Ethereum enthusiasts. Blockchain is appealing to non-crypto users for the simple reason that it offers heightened security for transfers of information in general, not just payments. It also appeals to those desiring greater privacy or at least freedom from the domination of global giants such as Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Google, etc. The apps being made available thanks to Zion Kay Management are so-called Dapps, or decentralized apps, which are not managed by any app store, such as Apple’s App Store or Google Play. One of these, called Numbers, allows users to sell their own data to third parties. Taking ownership of such data is bound to be appealing in today’s climate of increasing suspicion of operators and device manufacturers.
Despite this attitude, we feel that there is opportunity for mobile operators in the crypto realm. There is at least one MVNO, Micro Tele, that uses blockchain technology directly for the provision of mobile services to end users. There is likely room for more, and even traditional MNOs may be able to partner with blockchain developers to offer increased security, privacy and even Dapps to their customers.