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Samsung Looks To Compete With HTC, Hints At Crypto-Friendly Budget Smartphones

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Some of the world’s largest technology giants are delving into crypto and blockchain. Local media reports that Samsung is looking to expand on its “Blockchain Keystore” offering, which allowed users to store Ethereum (and purportedly not Bitcoin), with future devices.

Samsung Galaxy S10

Samsung Looks To Boost Adoption

Earlier this year, the cryptocurrency industry was shocked when the Galaxy S10 — Samsung’s latest flagship smartphone — was revealed to have a native digital asset offering. Although the offering, a company-endorsed wallet, has seemingly seen little adoption, with the buzz around the product all but dying down, Samsung still has intentions to bolster its presence in this ecosystem.

In a comment given to Business Korea, a local English outlet, a managing director of Samsung’s Wireless Business Division, Chae Won-Cheol, explained that his team will “lower barriers to new experiences by expanding the number of Galaxy models that support blockchain functions”. Won-Cheol adds that Samsung will “expand [its] service target countries” after launching blockchain-related features in Korea, the United States, and Canada, the seeming testbeds for this roster of products.

For those unaware, Samsung’s smartphone lineup doesn’t consist of only the Galaxy S10 and its predecessors, but of more wallet-friendly models too. This announcement confirms that the cryptocurrency wallet will be available to download for users of Samsung’s cheaper phones, like the Galaxy A6, and in more nations than the aforementioned.

Once the Blockchain Keystore rolls out successfully, the Seoul-headquartered company will begin development on blockchain-centric applications for identification and “local currencies” through partnerships with local telecom firms, like SK Telecom and KT. These two firms have purportedly already begun prototyping “blockchain-based ID cards” (whatever that means).

HTC EXODUS Announces New Features, Budget Crypto Phone

Samsung is seemingly trying to compete with the Taiwan-based HTC, which last week unveiled the second iteration of its “EXODUS 1 (One)” phone, as Blockonomi hinted at in a previous report. Announced Saturday at New York’s Magical Crypto Conference, hosted by Litecoin’s Charlie Lee, Samson Mow of Blockstream, Whale Panda, and Riccardo Spagni, the new EXODUS 1s is expected to be a more “value-oriented” version of its predecessor. HTC estimates it will cost around $200 to $300, about one-third the price of popular handhelds today.

HTC Exodus 1

A press release elaborates:

“It will allow users in emerging economies, or those wanting to dip their toes into the crypto world for the first time, easier access to the technology with a more accessible price point. This will democratize access to crypto and blockchain technology and help its global proliferation and adoption.”

The EXODUS 1s, slated to be released by Q3 of 2019, will purportedly be the first consumer-facing smartphone to have full node capabilities, giving its users the opportunity to download the full Bitcoin blockchain to their phone, disvaluing third-party nodes that can be manipulated and improving privacy.

The new device will accomplish this through a MicroSD addition/add-on, which will be able to store the over 200 GB chain that is Bitcoin. In a comment, EXODUS’ chief, Phil Chen, remarked that “full nodes are the most important ingredient in the resilience of the Bitcoin network”, and that lowering the barriers to entry in this arena will help the establishment of a “free world” predicated on decentralized technologies.

It isn’t clear of the audiences for the cheaper Samsung Galaxys and the HTC Exodus 1s will overlap much, but it is clear that the crypto smartphone space is heating up, especially as builders look to make this technology more usable and global.

Just as smartphones have revolutionized the world, as will cryptocurrencies. So, it should come as no surprise that the two industries are joining hands, preparing for what many dub the “fourth industrial revolution.”



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I am a writer who has been following the cryptocurrency space since 2013. My insights and interviews have been featured in leading publications in the industry such as LongHash, NewsBTC, and Decrypt. When I am not writing, I work as a team member of the EXODUS division of HTC, a Taiwanese electronics company. I own a small amount of Bitcoin. Contact NickC@blockonomi.com

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