New smartphones usually stand out because of an innovative camera, a super-fast new processor, or another established feature being treated to an update. The Sirin Labs Finney phone isn’t about any of those things — it’s a phone centered on cryptocurrencies and the Blockchain, and that makes it very unusual. Does this niche appeal hurt it, or is this a phone that will appeal to everyone?
The phone’s entire reason for being is cryptocurrency and Blockchain, whether it’s as a cold storage wallet, a device for carrying out transactions, providing high levels of security, or running decentralized applications (DApps). If these things mean nothing to you, then the phone will likely be of little interest. However, regardless of whether you’re embarking on a crypto journey, or an established token collector, the Finney phone will be a compelling device with few competitors.
Most intriguing is the Safe Screen, a slide-up mini display at the top of the phone, which activates the cold wallet. It’s used to verify transactions, confirm the recipient’s address and the currency type, all onboard the device. Safety and security is paramount, and the hardware for the cold wallet is separate to the phone’s hardware, uses a Firewall Embedded Rules engine, and only connects to the internet when prompted to do so.
Sirin OS for security and privacy
Security and privacy was a major part of Sirin Lab’s first phone, the Solarin, and the Finney runs a version of Android 8.1 called Sirin OS that’s packed with protection. An Intrusion Prevention System uses machine learning to monitor the phone from the kernel to app level, watching for threats both online and offline, and protects against network and host attacks. Sirin Labs wants to make sure your cryptocurrency remains safe, and it’s actively looking for partners to use Sirin OS on other phones too.
The Finney phone has two other features that will appeal to crypto-types. The first is dCENTER, a DApp marketplace, which differs by encouraging partners to offer incentivised educational schemes for owners to, “learn and earn.” The second is the Token Conversion Service (TCS) for easy payments, which includes a market value-based currency exchange. Sirin OS’s algorithms automatically work out the details to provide the fastest speeds at the lowest rates. It supports Ethereum, Bitcoin, and Sirin Lab’s own SRN token at launch.
The phone, and its appeal
How about the device itself? Sirin Labs is working with Foxconn to produce the Finney phone, which is made from metal and Gorilla Glass, and is powered by a Snapdragon 845 processor and 6GB of RAM. The main screen measures 6 inches and has a 2160 x 1080 pixel resolution, while the cold-storage wallet has a 2-inch screen. On the back of the phone is a 12-megapixel camera with an f/1.8 aperture, and the self camera has 8 megapixels and an f/2.2 aperture. The Finney connects to GSM and CDMA networks, has NFC and Bluetooth 5.0, a 3,280mAh battery, and a fingerprint sensor.
While Sirin Labs is convinced the Finney phone will eventually appeal to everyone, at first it’s definitely only for the crypto-hardcore. To buy the $ 1,000 device now, you have to do so using Sirin Lab’s own SRN token through its website. Those who do so will get the phone first. In January, the Finney will also be available on Amazon Launchpad, when ordinary people with credit cards will be able to buy one. For those who’re curious but unsure, Sirin Labs will open two retail stores — one in London and the other in Tokyo — that will not only sell the phone, but also run educational courses on the Blockchain to get people started.
The big question is, will ordinary people have any interest? Probably not, given how dense and complex the underlying technology is. But there is a massive cryptocurrency community that could flock to it, and with only HTC’s Exodus for competition right now, Sirin Labs has a chance to capitalize on the cryptocurrency excitement with the Finney.