In a first from a major cryptocurrency company, Solana Labs on Thursday announced it was developing its own brand of smartphone. The Solana Saga is a top-spec, 6.67-inch Android phone that’ll launch in first quarter of 2023 for $1,000. Revealed at a keynote in New York, the Saga is designed to make trading cryptocurrencies easier and safer on mobile phones.
Solana is a cryptocurrency that competes with ethereum, which is the second biggest cryptocurrency on the market. It aims to dethrone ethereum by being more efficient: It claims to be able to process 50,000 transactions per second, compared with ethereum’s 30 per second. It’s also cheaper to use and more carbon efficient. Its downside thus far has been security: Solana’s network has suffered two complete shutdowns this year alone.
The Solana Saga is a rebrand of OSOM’s OV1, which phone afficianados will recognize as the spiritual successor to the Essential Phone. The privacy focused OV1 was slated to hit the market by the end of the year. Other features include 512GB of storage, 12GB of RAM and a Qualcomm Snapdragon+ Gen 1 CPU.
The Saga is a central part of Solana’s attempt to make cryptocurrency apps more mobile friendly. Many crypto, decentralized finance and NFT applications are more limited on mobile than on desktop, or have cumbersome user interfaces. Anatoly Yakovenko, CEO of Solana, joked at the event that he still sees people pull out laptops on dates in order to mint new NFTs. “Web3 still feels like we’re in the year 2007,” Solana mobile head engineer Steven Laver said at the event.
Solana’s new Solana Mobile Stack, which will run first on the Solana Saga, is designed to fix that problem. It’s open-source software that consists of three main tools: a Mobile Wallet Adapter, a Seed Vault and Solana Pay. The wallet adapter connects Android apps to any Solana crypto wallet stored on the device. The Seed Vault partitions wallet seed phrases and passwords from apps on the phone, attempting to merge the security of a hardware wallet with the usability of an internet-connected wallet. Solana Pay will work similarly to Apple Pay and Google Pay, except the user will be able to transact using the Solana cryptocurrency or Solana-compatible tokens, like the USDC stablecoin.