Smartphones Late to the Crypto party
The smartphone era is riddled with cautionary tales of how ignoring emerging trends can have severe consequences in the tech sector. The failure to recognise the upcoming paradigm shift caused many of the phone giants of the pre-smarphone era, such as Nokia and Motorola trying to catch the market leaders. Having also missed the smartphone trend, Microsoft had to catch up for a number of years, despite the usually robust financial performance of its core software business. It took a change at the helm of the company and a complete reinvention of its business model, for the software giant to return to relevance in the ‘post-PC’ era.
The rise of smartphones ensured many years of unparalleled success for early movers into the space, such as Apple, Samsung and Google. But with more and more players emerging on the scene with their own smartphone offerings, the market has been driven to the point of saturation. Thus, the search for the next big trend has begun. And this effort is at least partly focused on a bold new frontier – the blockchain.
Mobile Phone companies explore Cryptocurrency and Blockchain
After several weeks of speculation, Samsung Electronics last month unveiled a cryptocurrency wallet app for its new flagship phone, Samsung Galaxy S10. The app, which can be downloaded from the Samsung Galaxy Store, currently supports Ether (ETH) and ERC-20 tokens, but the South Korean giant has stated that it wants to add support for more cryptocurrencies in the future. In addition, the wallet also supports four decentralised apps (dApps): a crypto gaming platform called Enjin; the beauty-focused dApp Cosmee; CryptoKitties and merchant payments service CoinDuck.
The S10 also features a secure storage solution for cryptocurrency private keys called Blockchain Keystore.
Samsung’s Taiwanese rival HTC has also taken a stab at building a blockchain phone. Unveiled last October, the Exodus 1 comes with its own cryptocurrency wallet called Zion that makes the phone function as a hardware digital currency wallet that can also store private keys. In an interview with CNBC, HTC’s decentralised chief officer Phil Chen, said that the company’s main motivation for building the phone was to improve user privacy.