HTC's first blockchain phone to go on sale in Taiwan on March 1

HTC Exodus 1 (Photo/FB_HTC Taiwan)

HTC Exodus 1 (Photo/FB_HTC Taiwan)

The first blockchain-focused smartphone from Taiwan-based HTC Corp. -- the HTC Exodus 1 -- is scheduled to go on sale in Taiwan on March 1, following global pre-order sales launched late last year.

Shipments of the Exodus 1 to other countries will also start in March, HTC said.

Consumers in Taiwan and other countries will be able to use physical currencies to purchase the blockchain phone in the smartphone brand's physical stores, HTC added.

For preorder sales, only cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin were accepted.

The Exodus 1, which has a six-inch high definition display, is powered by Qualcomm 's Snapdragon 845 processor and has 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. The device will carry a price tag of NT$21,900 (US$711) in Taiwan, HTC said.

Amid escalating competition in the global smartphone market, HTC is determined to take advantage of emerging blockchain technology so the Exodus 1 can operate in a blockchain ecosystem, market analysts said.

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 it has developed its own cryptocurrency wallet called Zion, helping the Exodus 1 function as a hardware cryptocurrency wallet.

"The Exodus 1 comes with a secure enclave - a secluded area on the phone's chip kept separate from the Android operating system (OS) it runs on - that uses technology made by SoftBank's Arm Holdings to keep a customer's cryptocurrency safe," HTC said in a statement.

Meanwhile, HTC announced it has teamed up with Opera, the first encryption-technology compatible browser, to provide effective measures to guarantee security for the use of blockchain technology.

HTC faces stiff competition in the global smartphone market, not only in the high-end sector but also in the mid-range sector, and has seen its sales come under pressured.

In 2018, HTC's consolidated sales totaled NT$23.74 billion (US$771 million), down 61.78 percent from the previous year, the seventh consecutive year of decline.

HTC posted a loss per share of NT$3.18 in the third quarter of last year, worse than the NT$2.53 loss per share seen the previous quarter.

However, HTC still recorded NT$20.01 in earnings per share for the first nine months of the year, because of the one-time profit it made on a US$1 billion sale of its smartphone ODM assets to Google in the first quarter.