The announcement that Sirin Labs has appointed Foxconn to manufacture their new blockchain smartphone (FINNEY) is huge news in the drive for widespread adoption – that is if it can be made affordable and enough people buy it.
Sirin Labs announced on Twitter that Foxconn International Holdings would be developing their new blockchain phone that will reportedly retail at $1000 with the first batches expected in October. Sirin Labs is an important name in the manufacturing sector and have produced devices for many well-known brands.
Development of the phone was first announced by Sirin Labs late last year, and it is described as a ‘blockchain’ smartphone because of its special features including built-in cold storage, encrypted communications, and P2P resources sharing. 25,000 units have already been pre-ordered, and the company is hoping to sell anywhere between 100,000 and a few million this year alone.
Can a phone encourage widespread adoption?
Steve Jobs once said, ‘technology alone is not enough.’ He was talking about his work with Pixar, stating his opinion that to create a space wasn’t enough because one also needed to find a way of getting people there — a problem the crypto-space has yet to solve.
Yes, there is a great deal of hype amongst the converted, but the success of blockchain technology will ultimately be judged by its ability to appeal to the masses. This is where innovations like FINNEY could have an impact if they first tackle their own specific problems.
At $1000 per unit the phone isn’t exactly accessible to the masses, but if that price can be lowered (as planned) through the sale of licenses for the technology to other businesses, that would be a step in the right direction.
Usability is probably the biggest issue with most technologies and covers three key-factors: what does the technology do, how does it improve on what’s already available, and, most importantly, how easy is it to use?
Initial reports on the technology suggest that Foxconn may have addressed these problems. The device apparently has inbuilt cold storage (which is about as safe it can get), will support a wide variety of tokens, and be safe to use. Additionally, crypto-related services can be accessed by flicking a physical switch — it certainly sounds simple.
The interface probably won’t be perfect from day one, but given Foxconn’s experience, we can still expect it to be solid. Post-launch updates will likely address issues of usability, and if other businesses decide to build on the technology, we could see an explosion in ‘blockchain’ smartphones – the best of which should do well.
Innovation fuels innovation
Crypto-related companies are always looking for ways to improve upon services and products that might bring more users into the space, and as the space generates more hype, it will attract the best innovators — Uber’s co-founder, Garrett Camp, is just one example.
It wasn’t long ago that our cell phones were clunky, unreliable things that we barely used. Now we can use them, safely and easily, to manage our finances and so many other important aspects of our lives, and many now find it difficult to get by without them. There’s no reason why they can’t do the same job for the crypto-world.
Michael is an English and Creative writing graduate of Liverpool John Moore’s University, a former editor of several magazines, and a crypto-currency enthusiast. He is mostly interested in crypto-legislation and the potential of decentralized technology to change the world.