What happened: HTC’s Exodus 1 blockchain smartphone, which can only be bought with bitcoin or ether, will be released for cash purchase in March. It cost 0.15 BTC (around $960 USD) during the preorder period in October. In March, it will cost $699 in the US. The Taiwanese smartphone maker is also adding around 20 new decentralized apps, affording users new crypto-oriented features, including an activity monitor that helps you sell your tracked data to third parties for cryptocurrency. In addition, HTC partnered with Opera web browser to set up a crypto-wallet on Exodus. Owners will be able to make online micropayments with Ethereum.
Why it’s important: The Exodus 1 was the first smartphone designed for blockchain features offered by a global smartphone manufacturer. But the features that utilized blockchain were limited, most notably to a marketplace for CryptoKitties, a blockchain-based video game. The newly added apps should shed some light on the potential for a decentralized app store in the market. Others tech players have followed, adding blockchain features to their products. Samsung and Sirin Labs are incorporating crypto-wallets into their newest products. The success of projects such as Alibaba’s use of blockchain to track luxury goods is promising for blockchain applications in other areas.