Solana is trying to position itself as a more consumer-friendly web3 company. To that end, the company has unveiled Saga, a new smartphone that is optimized for use with cryptocurrency and web3 applications.
Saga is built atop an Android foundation, and is being rolled out alongside the Solana Mobile Stack (SMS), a collection of solutions that will make it easier to develop smartphone apps that are compatible with the Solana network. The SMS includes a seed vault that gives users a way to store private keys that are needed for secure transactions, as well as Saga Pass, which is an NFT that gives holders access to certain community features. It also includes Solana Pay and a decentralized dApp Store for other third-party applications.
In more straightforward terms, Saga is essentially a hardware wallet that doubles as a smartphone. As a result, it makes it easier for crypto stakeholders to create apps that are more fully and seamlessly integrated with the blockchain.
Solana is hoping that the SMS will make web3 services easier to use for the average consumer. It also believes that Saga will fill in a major gap in the current market. In that regard, Solana CEO Anatoly Yakovenko noted that major smartphone manufacturers have yet to deliver integrated web3 features in their flagship products, even though cryptocurrencies have been around in some form for more than a decade. The lack of support has created more friction for crypto enthusiasts, insofar as people still need to open up a web browser to take advantage of most blockchain services. SMS, on the other hand, will theoretically make crypto apps as intuitive as their non-crypto counterparts.
Of course, the fact that the tech giants have not prioritized web3 features would seem to suggest that the technology is not a significant driver of interest with the general public, especially for a company that operates at the scale of Apple. It is therefore unclear as to whether or not Saga is the breakthrough product that web3 is looking for in light of the recent downturn (and the rampant security issues) in the crypto market. Solana has nevertheless received considerable buy-in from the rest of the industry, and has already secured partnerships with FTX, Phantom, and Magic Eden. It has also created a $10 million developer fund to encourage people to build apps for the SMS platform.
The Saga will not ship until the first quarter of 2023, though it is available for pre-order with a $100 deposit. The full retail price of the device is $1,000. The phone will have 512 GB of storage and 6.67-inch screen, and will have more modern security features like biometric authentication.
(Originally posted on Mobile ID World)