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Despite Massive Layoffs, HTC Blockchain Phone Is Still Coming

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HTC’s blockchain-powered smartphone Exodus is arriving by the end of this year, according to a company executive. The device could be one of its last saving graces.  ( Mandy Cheng | AFP/Getty Images )

HTC isn't going anywhere just yet. Despite having recently announced a massive layoff that would cut 1,500 employees from its labor pool, the phonemaker still has a few tricks up its sleeve.

One of which is the much-anticipated blockchain phone called Exodus, certainly one of the company's most exciting projects thus far. It was announced during a poor start for HTC this year, having sold only 630,000 products in the first quarter. By contrast, it sold over 2 million in the same period last year.

HTC Is Flopping

To make matters worse, by June, sales had dipped 68 percent, its biggest drop in two years, according to the company. Its latest flagship phone, the U12 Plus, did not win the hearts of critics and consumers alike, particularly because of poor software implementation and a few hardware-related issues.

So, can a blockchain phone pull HTC out of its rut? Perhaps. One should first consider the state of blockchain, though: cryptocurrency prices are currently low, and just last month researchers found out bitcoin was linked to price manipulation.

A Lot Is Riding On HTC's Exodus Blockchain Phone

Putting HTC's financial situation into account, there's definitely a lot at stake with Exodus. HTC's Phil Chen has now shared more details about the forthcoming device, including a possible release date and price point. Chen was vague on the specifics, but did tell The Verge that Exodus might arrive around the end of this year, with a price announcement as early as the end of Q3.

In terms of pricing, Chen added that the Exodus phone will be comparable to the world's first blockchain-powered phone Finney, from Sirin Labs, which costs $1,000.

Exodus will be available worldwide once released, he said.

"I want to say it will be available definitely everywhere outside of China." Bringing it to China has its own challenges, according to Chen, because the country "has different rules, everywhere from regulations to how Android even works in China."

In May, when HTC unveiled Exodus, the company said it'll be a phone where users get to hold their own keys, identity, data, and where the device becomes the hub for those information. Now, however, Chen said a phone that allows a user to own their identity might be little farther in the future. The one coming by the end of the year will be a phone with a wallet and a partnership CryptoKitties. As for the specs, fans have to wait.

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