The Taiwanese electronics manufacturer HTC Corp. on Tuesday unveiled its Exodus smartphone. The blockchain-powered smartphone, which runs on Google’s Android mobile operating system will have a universal digital wallet and hardware support for cryptocurrencies and decentralized apps (dApps). It will act as a convenient handheld device that will serve a dual purpose: as a connecting point to the world of decentralized networks on a user’s mobile, and as a storage device for the users willing to carry their cryptocoins with them in their pockets.

Blockchain Phone Expected by Year-End

The phone is expected to be made available by the end of this year. During the initial launch, the phone will have support for bitcoin, ethereum and a few other major blockchain networks. HTC will bring in support for other networks later on in a phased manner. 

It is being built to provide enhanced security for a variety of digital assets that can be stored in the handheld device and will offer the convenience to use that many other present-day digital wallets lack. The smartphone will also feature an API that will allow developers to build additional apps based on the networks integrated with the blockchain-supported ecosystem.

The Taiwanese company foresees a deeper use of the Exodus phone as a network node for the native blockchain network to support cryptocurrency trading between participants. It also plans to include a digital store, similar to Google Play store, for hosting distributed apps. The store will act as an interface to offerings within and around existing blockchain networks, like ethereum, along with the possibility of building, launching and hosting new apps. 

Raymond Pao, HTC’s associate vice president of virtual reality technology, said that they "will be building the framework and phone that powers the decentralized web."

"We believe smartphones will be a critical component for the entire crypto ecosystem. This phone will act as the hub, just like the PC did in the early days of the Internet," he told CoinDesk.

HTC Targeting Large User Base of Smartphones

With some 3 billion smartphones being actively used around the globe, it makes an obvious choice to integrate the path-breaking blockchain technology with a handheld device for ease of use for the end consumer.

Interestingly, in a bid to lend support to the cryptocurrency world, HTC will only accept payments in bitcoin and ethereum for the forthcoming pre-sale of the Exodus smartphone. Price of the phone is not yet finalized.

While HTC is the first major phone maker to announce a blockchain-supported phone, it is not alone. Another company called Sirin Labs, which successfully raised $157 million through an initial coin offering (ICO), has plans to build similar blockchain phone to be called Finney. (See also: Foxconn Is Making a Blockchain Phone.)

Investing in cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings ("ICOs") is highly risky and speculative, and this article is not a recommendation by Investopedia or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies or ICOs. Since each individual's situation is unique, a qualified professional should always be consulted before making any financial decisions. Investopedia makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or timeliness of the information contained herein. As of the date this article was written, the author owns no cryptocurrencies.