Solana Labs, the blockchain’s primary shareholder, is developing a mobile phone for the Solana network named “Saga.” Solana Labs will market this Android-based device.
The next gadget – a customised OSOM phone with specialised crypto wallet features and the “Solana Mobile Stack (SMS)” software development kit for Web3 applications – was revealed at an event in New York on Thursday. According to Solana Labs CEO Anatoly Yakovenko, it will cost around $1,000 and be ready for shipment in early 2023.
The phone represents Solana’s largest bet so far on mobile-focused expansion. It will include a Web3 dapp (decentralised app) store, an integrated “Solana Pay” to support QR code-based on-chain payments, a mobile wallet adapter, and a “seed vault” that stores private keys deep inside the phone.
Sam Bankman-Fried, the CEO of crypto exchange FTX and the leading Solana supporter, said, “Everything is going mobile. In most countries, most of the access happens through mobile phones.” However, crypto mobile is out of date and accessing dapps on mobile devices is now clunky.
“The best solution for this is having the actual wallet built into your phone,” Bankman-Fried said.
Solana Labs said it would collaborate with other firms to construct the phone’s ecosystem, including Magic Eden, the leading NFT exchange, Phantom, the most significant wallet provider, and Orca, the decentralised finance (DeFi) platform. All three executives were there to discuss the next mobile experience.
They compared the Solana phone app shop to Google and Apple’s marketplaces, which take a share of revenues. “There will be no extortionate fees,” Yakovenko said of the SMS-powered shop.
Solana CEO Anatoly Yakovenko with a rendering of the Saga phone. Source: Danny Nelson
The Solana Foundation has donated $10 million to encourage the creation of mobile applications for its SMS.
“We live our lives on our mobile devices – except for Web3 because there hasn’t been a mobile-centric approach to private key management,” Yakovenko, a Solana co-founder, said in a press release. “The Solana Mobile Stack shows a new path forward on Solana that is open source, secure, optimised for Web3 and easy to use.”
It’s not the first smartphone Web3 strategy. Sirin Labs attempted to release a blockchain-native phone in 2018, but layoffs and lawsuits ensued as the device failed to garner popularity.
Yakovenko, a former Qualcomm engineer, was questioned about the failures of previous efforts to bring crypto-friendly phones to market. In response, he said that the Solana phone was better positioned for success since there were more crypto developers in the area compared to 2018.