HTC goes from blockchain to metaverse for its next smartphone gadget

HTC goes from blockchain to metaverse for its next smartphone gadget

HTC’s slow-motion fall from smartphone grace is set to continue into 2022, with the company working on a new ‘metaverse’-focused phone in April as remnants of the once-flagship smartphone company continue to cling desperately asset. term of the zeitgeist, it can stay afloat, according to DigiTimes.

The news comes from Charles Huang, HTC’s general manager for the Asia-Pacific region, who reportedly said at MWC 2022 that the company will introduce a new high-end smartphone next month with unspecified “metaverse” features. Details are slim, including specs, markets it will be released in, or even what kind of AR or VR features the new device will offer.

The news sounds a lot like HTC’s latest major pivot to relevance: its Exodus line of blockchain phones that have come out in recent years. Promising decentralized apps (“Dapps”) and a built-in cryptocurrency wallet, the phones could run blockchain nodes and even mine paltry amounts of cryptocurrency, but – like many examples of blockchain technology – it was a largely looking solution to a problem that never really took off.

For argument’s sake, a metaverse phone would at least make a little more sense than a blockchain phone, if only because HTC has actually been a major player in the VR space.

HTC’s main announcement at MWC 2022 was the launch of a Nebulous “Viverse” – the company’s metaverse concept that promises to merge VR, XR, 5G, blockchain technology, NFTs and more into a futuristic new platform.

It’s even possible to imagine what a metaverse-integrated smartphone could be, given the existence of projects like Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Spaces or Microsoft Mesh, which aim to help integrate traditional devices like smartphones into VR experiences and AR.

Along those lines, a high-end “metaverse” HTC phone could optimistically be one that ties in deeply with the company’s VR headsets for an integrated, cross-device experience that boldly changes the way we think. to the use of smartphones (and other devices) in virtual environments. .

That said, the Metaverse Phone could also be a lackluster smartphone that has a few half-baked VR apps preloaded. For what it’s worth, HTC’s Viverse site explicitly states that one will be able to interact with its metaverse concept from “any phone, tablet, PC or VR headset”, with an image of a smartphone that seems to do just that.

Given that HTC’s Viverse doesn’t really exist – nor the widespread adoption of a modern metaverse concept – it’s easy for the company to just say it’s making a metaverse app or phone. After all, who’s to say you’re not?

Perhaps the metaverse phone HTC launches will be a revelation, the kind of product that brings HTC back to relevance and puts the company back at the forefront of the industry. But the company’s recent history doesn’t give much hope that this will be the case.

It’s almost hard to remember in 2022, but HTC used to do good phones – devices for Android and various versions of Windows Phone that were some of the best hardware you could buy. Phones like the legendary HTC HD2, HTC Evo 4G, HTC One X, ultra-sleek HTC One or the jewel-toned HTC U11.

But it was, in many ways, a different company than today’s HTC, before the company sold a good chunk of its smartphone talent to Google in a deal of 1, $1 billion in 2017. Since then, Google’s Pixel phones have only gotten better and better, while HTC’s smartphone fortunes have languished.

Despite its hardware chops, HTC – like LG, Motorola (before its own trials and tribulations with Google) and other Android device makers – has been unable to find lasting commercial success, ousted by Galaxy devices. the most popular from Samsung on one side and those from Apple. iPhones on the other hand.

And that brings us to today’s HTC: hollowed out of the engineers and designers who once made its phones so great, thumping frantically with blockchain phones, metaverse phones, and whatever other major buzzwords come next to stay. afloat in a smartphone market that barely resembles the one in which it has been a major player.

It’s not that HTC is completely lacking in ambition or good products: the company still produces high-end VR headsets aimed at businesses and recently launched its uniquely looking Vive Flow headset for more casual customers too. .

Then again, looking back at products like the Evo 3D or the Facebook-focused HTC Status and HTC First, it’s possible that being doomed to chasing gadgets down the road to irrelevance was always fate. from HTC.