HTC to launch blockchain phone in Q3

2018/07/14 12:30:33 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
HTC to launch blockchain phone in Q3

Taipei, July 14 (CNA) Taiwan-based smartphone maker HTC Corp. is scheduled to launch the world's first blockchain-power phone -- the HTC Exodus -- in the third quarter of this year.

Amid escalating competition in the global smartphone market, HTC says it is determined to take advantage of the emerging blockchain technology to allow the Exodus to function in a blockchain ecosystem.

Blockchain technology, originally devised for transactions of the digital currency Bitcoin, is seen as the backbone of a new type of internet in which information held on a blockchain exists as a shared database.

HTC said consumers can register with the company to experience the Exodus in the third quarter. The release of a trial version of the Exodus is scheduled for the end of this year, HTC said, declining to disclose the price at the moment.

The smartphone brand said the Exodus represents a vision to expand the blockchain ecosystem by creating the world's first phone dedicated to decentralized applications and security.

According to HTC, the Exodus will include an all-important cryptocurrency wallet using the blockchain technology.

"In the new internet age, people are generally more conscious about their data, this is a perfect opportunity to empower the user to start owning their digital identity," HTC Chief Crypto Officer Phil Chen (陳信生) said .

"The Exodus is a great place to start because the phone is the most personal device, and it is also the place where all your data originates from. I'm excited about the opportunity it brings to decentralize the internet and reshape it for the modern user."

Meanwhile, HTC said since the presence of Bitcoin and Ethereum has brought with it the idea of digital scarcity and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), the Taiwanese brand has teamed up with the world's first and most popular NFT game, CryptoKitties, to exclusively distribute it on mobile through selected HTC devices, starting with the latest flagship model: the HTC U12+.

CryptoKitties, which uses blockchain technology for fun, enables users to purchase, collect, breed and sell various types of virtual cats. HTC said the partnership with CryptoKitties is the first step for the company to build on the fungible, collectible marketplace and crypto gaming app store.

Market analysts said it remains to be seen whether the blockchain phone will help HTC climb out of the doldrums in the global market, after it suffered massive losses due to its falling market share in the competitive smartphone sector.

In the first quarter of 2018, HTC posted a net profit of NT$21.1 billion (US$69.18 million), compared with a net loss of NT$9.8 billion in the previous quarter, with earnings per share at NT$25.70.

However, the first quarter results, which ended 11 consecutive quarters of losses, were boosted by a deal in which the company sold its smartphone ODM assets to Google last year.

Excluding one-time non-core business gains from the asset disposal, HTC's core business still incurred a first quarter operating loss of NT$5.2 billion.

In 2017, HTC incurred a net loss of NT$16.91 billion and a loss per share of NT$20.58, the highest since it listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange in March 2002.

Earlier this month, HTC announced it will lay off 1,500 employees in its manufacturing division in Taiwan by the end of September to optimize the company's resources through a "strategic adjustment of its workforce."

The number to be laid off account for about a quarter of HTC's existing workforce of 6,450 worldwide.

(By Cheng Hsueh-wen and Frances Huang)
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