Solana creates a crypto phone with the help of former Essential engineers

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The previously familiar phone the Osom OV1, built by a team of ex-Essential engineers and designers, is today rebranded and repurposed, all in Crypto’s name. This afternoon in New York City, blockchain company Solana announced its own mobile phone called Saga, made in partnership with Osom. It costs $1,000 and is available to pre-order starting today. A $100 deposit is required, and Solana says the saga will ship in the first quarter of 2023.

The phone will feature a 6.67-inch OLED display, 512GB of storage and 12GB of RAM. It’s powered by Qualcomm’s latest and greatest Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chip. But more than the standard hardware specs that most gadget nerds are interested in, Saga aims to help Krypto continue its quest to “go mobile,” as Solana CEO Anatoly Yakovenko puts it.

This device is intended for people rooted in the universe of crypto wallets, Web3 and NFTs, and it will come with a unique feature: support for decentralized apps based on the Solana blockchain, which at least is there briefly competed with Ethereum when it comes to NFT sales volume. NFT marketplace Magic Eden, wallet maker Solana’s Phantom and cryptocurrency exchange Orca have pledged to support Saga and Solana’s new software efforts.

The Saga shares the same design as the OV1 that Osom introduced earlier this year.
Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

Osom has confirmed this The edge that OV1 and Saga are now one and the same, meaning that this device is the main focus of the company. “Osom is incredibly excited to be collaborating with Solana in building the saga,” said founder and CEO Jason Keats. “The world needs novel hardware companies to support the future of Web3. Building an ecosystem that looks to the future without being weighed down by past legacy ecosystems is tremendously exciting.”

The Solana Saga will ship early next year.
Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

That line, “past legacy ecosystems,” perhaps refers to Solana’s other announcements today: the company introduced itself the Solana mobile stack, an open dApp store (short for decentralized applications) running on the Android-based Saga. The company envisions a massive proliferation of crypto-native apps, digital services, and digital goods enabled by its new stack, which will also be available to other Android device manufacturers.

“We haven’t seen a single crypto announcement at Apple’s developer conference 13 years after Bitcoin went live,” Yakovenko said during a Q&A session. “I think it will be up to us.”

Solana claims developers will get early access to the saga. “We’re targeting those hardcore folks who understand what self-custody means,” Yakovenko said when asked how Solana’s mobile stack and new tools will deliver a better experience than Samsung’s crypto and NFT digital wallets other big technology companies.

It’s quite a turning point if you were hoping Osom would just produce a relatively standard, privacy-focused Android phone — an Essential Phone 2, in other words. And it goes against it, too what Osom told Android Police Back in March, when the company estimated the OV1’s price would be “well under $1,000.” The real test will be whether the saga actually ships on schedule in early 2023, as both Solana and Osom claim it will. And whether there’ll be a viable audience for a product like this outside of the auditorium of excited Web3 enthusiasts cheering its launch. Even veteran phone manufacturers like HTC have gone this way and couldn’t get any real effect.

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