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China’s PC Giant Lenovo Unveils the First Blockchain Phone

China’s tech giant Lenovo on March 20 unveiled the first blockchain phone in Beijing, aiming to revive its ailing mobile arm with the help of the hot new technology.

The latest device is dubbed as Lenovo S5, which is powered by a Snapdragon 625 octa-core chip, and is coupled with 3/4GB RAM and 32/64GB of internal storage. Its battery has a capacity of 3000mAh that can keep the device going for 23 hours. The price starts from 999 yuan.Over 60,000 people have preordered the smart phone as of 11p.m. March 20.

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Lenovo intends to use the buzzword “blockchain” to attract more investors and users. The Group’s Vice President, Chang Cheng, said that Lenovo S5 is the first blockchain phone, which features the “Z-Space” and secure payment system.

In fact, Lenovo will use blockchain technology in its “Z-Space”, which is an encrypted and secure payment space. The latest ZUI 4.0, a customized version of Android Oreo, is scheduled for release in June, with a goal to make payment process more secure. But Chang has not disclosed more details of how to leverage blockchain to make payment more secure.

Therefore, some industry analysts thought Lenovo’s blockchain phone is nothing more than a publicity stunt because the basic function of a mobile phone is to facilitate communication between people, and blockchain is still in its infancy which can hardly improve mobile phone features.

Lenovo is not the first manufacturer seeking to launch a blockchain phone. A small-sized smartphone maker, Sugar Phone, partnered with Ethereum Fog, a recent hard fork from Ethereum Blockchain, to quietly launch a blockchain phone in January.It is reported that the sugar phone would serve as a hardware wallet, and users can use the phone to mine the token of Ethereum Fog.

Facing increasingly stiff competition from fellow Chinese rivals such as Oppo, Xiaomi and Vivo, will Lenovo have a chance to turn the tables with its blockchain phone? The outlook seems pessimistic.

After buying Motorola Mobility from Google for USD 2.9 billion in 2014, its mobile business sticks to the downward spiral. The revenue of the mobile arm fell by 5 percent year on year to $ 2.076 billion in the the third quarter of fiscal 2017, and posted an overall loss of $92 million,  according to the company’s latest Financial Statements .

Lenovo’s CEO Yang Yuanqing emphasized his ambition to bolster its mobile business this year, but also acknowledged the hardship they have to overcome in an interview with Bloomberg last month.

“Turning around the mobile business is still our goal, but we probably need more quarters to deliver that result. We are transitioning in emerging markets from Lenovo brand to Motorola brand, it hasn’t gone very well. We need to clear inventory and rebuild the brand.” Yang said.

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