The Exodus 1 didn’t seem at TechCrunch Shenzhen. That was the plan, however stuff, because the saying goes, occurs. It merely didn’t make its means from Hong Kong to China in time.

I gained’t lie, I used to be a bit suspicious of this newest flip of occasions. After months of teasing its blockchain cellphone, HTC had largely relied on wire frames and renders, and now it was MIA, a matter of weeks earlier than it was set to hit the market.

However we did handle to get our arms on the factor, following the occasion. Right here it’s, for all of the world to see, framed in opposition to some hideous lodge carpeting, which seems to be one of many few constants, no matter the place you occur to go on this planet.

The system is a reasonably large commonplace piece of HTC {hardware} — one which’s powerful to tell apart from the U12. HTC’s been fairly upfront about that, and it’s no shock, actually. The corporate doesn’t appear to be working beneath any illusions that the Exodus can be a blockbuster — or, the type of hit the corporate wants after a few tough years that culminated with 1,500 layoffs in July.

As such, the corporate is utilizing the system because the conduit for a type of beta testing among the many type of crypto fanatics who would possibly pay the Bitcoin/Ether equal of $700-900, sight unseen. For that cause, HTC hasn’t carried out an excessive amount of to tweak the {hardware}, past some chip-level changes just like the addition of a safe enclave on the Snapdragon chip. The only main aesthetic replace right here is the addition of an Exodus HTC emblem etched onto the clear backing (which is extremely reflective, therefore the considerably awkward angles right here).

Whereas we did get to carry the system, HTC nonetheless wasn’t prepared to indicate off the Zion (retaining with the Genesis block/Exodus biblical theme) interface — the micro OS that sits on prime of Android, providing a safe place by which to retailer one’s keys. Although the corporate does plan to indicate that off earlier than or across the handset’s December ship date.

In a dialog at this week’s occasion in Shenzhen, HTC’s Decentralized Chief Officer Phil Chen informed TechCrunch that the corporate is “as dedicated as they’re to the Vive. I don’t suppose it’s quantity one of many precedence record, however I might say it’s quantity three or 4.”

The class’s development, nevertheless, can be a sluggish one — much more of an uphill push than the HTC had in its early days of embracing Android. As such, the corporate is taking child steps with the Exodus, quite than incorporating these applied sciences into one among its extra mainstream units. Although that shift is more likely to occur quickly. I wouldn’t be too stunned to see some type of blockchain tech integrated into an upcoming successor to the U12.

The corporate is open to licensing such applied sciences to third-parties — just like the offers it’s already struck with the likes of Google to assist present industrial design for Pixel units. Chen says he also can see a mannequin just like the methods HTC’s Viveport applied sciences function with third-parties, although these firms must be keen to surrender some entry to person information — an important a part of many present enterprise fashions.

That mentioned, the way forward for all of that is nonetheless very a lot up within the air. “I see us because the trusted Android,” Chen says, vaguely alluding to a future highway map that finds HTC shifting its focus from {hardware} to software program and IP. “We’re not speaking about [monetization] proper now, however now we have some concepts.”

Whereas the devoted blockchain cellphone is essentially a stepping stone towards incorporating that expertise into extra mainstream units, there are plans to proceed growth on the road, because the Exodus 1 title optimistically implies. Chen explains that the corporate is engaged on follows that can be additional distinguished from different handsets, although he’s not prepared to debate specifics.

Presently HTC has between 20 and 30 engineers engaged on the blockchain venture, bringing in consultants within the house to teach them on the intricacies of the applied sciences. Even amongst those that are at present dedicated to constructing out the system, that is all clearly very a lot a studying course of. 

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