PundiX is getting closer to the official launch of its blockchain smartphone. The company has been planning the product for almost a year and is ready to start producing more prototypes.
PundiX first announced the device back in January during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2019. The original name of the blockchain smartphone was XPhone.
The phone is now called BOB (Block on Block) and is mainly meant to complete the circle in a blockchain-based payment system. The device will use PundiX’s blockchain OS, but users will be able to switch to Android when needed.
BOB doesn’t come cheap. Although we’re also not talking Apple or Samsung prices, it’s hard to see much demand for a blockchain smartphone just yet. The announced price is $599, and the device will be available through Kickstarter and the PundiX wallet.
What is PundiX?
PundiX is a multinational company with operations across the globe, in Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Its purpose is to use the power of blockchain technology to facilitate payments and financial inclusion.
PundiX has created a blockchain-based ecosystem that could make cryptocurrency purchases as easy as credit card payments. The company developed a payment network that includes the PundiX open platform, PundiX POS (“point of sale”) devices, the X PASS card, and the Pundix wallet called XWallet.
Now, PundiX is ready to add a blockchain phone to the ecosystem to make payments even more convenient for end-users. The payment system is powered by NPXS tokens – cryptocurrency tokens issued on the Ethereum blockchain.
You may be wondering who the end-users of PundiX POS devices are. Many are already functioning on a large scale in Dubai. Here, they’ve been adapted to accept Dubai’s digital currency, a stable, digital equivalent of the UAE dirham.
Smartphone and payment device
As you may expect, BOB works on the PundiX blockchain, called Function X. The phone is meant to carry out payment operations and integrates with the company’s POS infrastructure already existing in stores.
BOB gives users access to decentralised apps (dApps) and blockchain service, as well. It also serves as a secure wallet that users set up as soon as they get the device. At the same time, the smartphone can become a node on the network, and all data will be executed exclusively on the blockchain.
Every owner gets a unique address and a private key, which will be linked to a node name. It’s a new technology, different from the traditional URL and IP addresses.
Integration with Android
The smartphone is designed to run independently from centralised mobile carriers. So, users will need to add a SIM card to be able to make traditional calls. The mobile carrier should support unlocked phones; otherwise, the SIM won’t be compatible with the device.
While in “blockchain mode,” users can make calls to other BOB owners (which is likely to be a limited amount).
The good news, however, is that BOB’s operating system is compatible with Android. Users will have the ability to switch from one OS to another. With only a swipe on the home screen, you can go from a traditional phone to a blockchain-based device.
That’s because the Function X OS installed on BOB is based on the Android 9.0. This also makes the smartphone easy to use for both developers and consumers thanks to its similarity to Android.
A highly-customisable product
BOB’s creators have gone the extra mile to make sure the new gadget is appealing enough for potential buyers. Besides the OS innovation, they’ve also been curating hardware to capture attention.
The blockchain smartphone will include an assembly kit. The device will have detachable parts, making it easy for its owners to reshape it and change its external look.
The company is planning to produce 5,000 smartphones only.
BOB probably won’t be the only smartphone on the market to function on a blockchain for long. Established companies like Samsung and LG have also been working on similar devices that could support cryptocurrency. For now though, at least, PundiX seems to have gotten closer to creating a blockchain-based smartphone.
However, it’s unlikely that PundiX has the resources or the positioning to compete with giants in the industry. The company is only producing a limited number of devices, which is perhaps proof enough that it’s experimenting with the benefits of mobile blockchain technology.
It remains to be seen how PundiX will use its new technology on a large scale. Perhaps the multinational is waiting for feedback from the market before taking any further steps in production.
After all, most blockchain projects are still between five to 10 years away from becoming viable. It will be interesting to see if PundiX’s 5,000 phones find a home.
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