Pundi X dropped a bunch more information on their blockchain phone at IFA 2019. The “Blok on Blok” blockchain smartphone is one of the first of its kind, enabling users to switch between the regular Android mode and a decided blockchain mode seamlessly.
Previously known as the XPhone, long term blockchain development firm Pundi X first demoed the blockchain phone at Mobile World Congress 2019. Pundi X was not forthcoming with device specs at MWC19, but they were a little more open at IFA 2019. So, here’s what we do know about the XPhone BOB.
BOB lets users switch between Android and blockchain mode. In Android mode, BOB will function as a regular smartphone, using regular apps, making phone calls, and all the standard smartphone functionality.
However, flick the BOB blockchain mode switch and you enter Pundi X’s open-source Function X operating system (sometimes styled “f(x)”). With that comes access to Pundi X’s distributed ledger. Users can then make end-to-end encrypted calls, send messages directly and securely to other XPhones, and more.
What is also cool is how Pundi X’s integrated blockchain network creates a sort of encrypted mini-internet bubble for the device to exist within, connecting solely to other Pundi X devices. While in the blockchain mode, XPhones can also access and download data held on other devices, but never has to download or hold the entire ledger (which on a smartphone would not be the best idea, even with large amounts of storage).
Also, the XPhone BOB will come as a modular design. The MOD Assembly Kit allows users to customize the external appearance of their XPhone extensively, even designing and attaching unique or personal accessories. But, more than that, the Mod Assembly Kit allows users to build their smartphone from scratch, swapping out old components for newer hardware as it arrives.
The XPhone BOB itself is still a working prototype, despite revealing more information at IFA 2019. The phone currently uses a Snapdragon 660, with a 6GB CPU and 64GB storage. However, Pundi X was keen to impress that this was not the devices final form and that when production ramps up, the devices will ship with a range of specs to suit user requirements.
During the little moment of hands-on time with the XPhone at IFA 2019, I wasn’t immediately blown away by the hardware quality. The design felt a little bulky and screen quality wasn’t the best, although it wasn’t bad by any measure. Given the level of competition throughout the smartphone market, it is a safe bet that the main draw for Pundi X and the XPhone is blockchain integration and an open-source operating system that runs alongside Android, rather than blazing hardware specs.
As Pundi X co-founder and CTO Pitt Huang says, “Blockchain today is at a similar stage of development as the Internet in the early ’90s. Like the browser was to the Internet, a new kind of network and decentralized protocol like Function X will have a profound effect on blockchain, putting it in the hands of millions via a smartphone and returning control of their data back to them.”
The Pundi X XPhone BOB is set for release by the end of 2019 and will set you back around $599. You’ll have to move quickly though, as Pundi X intend to manufacture just 5,000 BOB’s.
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