Solana makes a crypto phone with the help of ex-Essential engineers

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The phone previously known as the Osom OV1, built by a team of ex-Essential engineers and designers, is rebranded and repurposed today, and all in the name of crypto. This afternoon in New York, blockchain company Solana announced its own cell phone, called Saga, made in collaboration with Osom. It’s priced at $1,000 and pre-orders open today. A $100 deposit is required, and Solana says the saga will ship in the first quarter of 2023.

The phone will have a 6.67-inch 120Hz OLED display, 512GB of storage and 12GB of RAM. It will be powered by Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chip and is equipped with a 50-megapixel main camera, as well as a 12-megapixel ultra-wide shooter. But more than the standard hardware specs most gadget nerds care about, the Saga is meant to help crypto continue its quest to “go mobile,” in the words of Solana CEO Anatoly Yakovenko.

This device is aimed at people entrenched in the world of crypto wallets, Web3 and NFT, and it will come with a unique feature: support for decentralized applications that rely on the Solana blockchain, which at least briefly rivaled Ethereum in NFT Sales Volume. NFT marketplace Magic Eden, wallet maker Solana Phantom, and cryptocurrency exchange Orca have signed on to support new software efforts from Saga and Solana.

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

Osom confirmed The edge that the OV1 and Saga are now one and the same, which means that this device is the main focus of the company. “Osom is incredibly excited to partner with Solana to build the saga,” said Founder and CEO Jason Keats. “The world needs new hardware companies to support the future that is Web3. Building a forward-looking ecosystem without being burdened by legacy ecosystems from the past is extremely exciting.

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

This “legacy ecosystems from the past” line may be referring to Solana’s other announcements today: the company introduced the Solana Mobile Stack, an open dApp (short for decentralized apps) store that will run on the Android-based Saga . The company envisions a vast proliferation of crypto-native apps, digital services, and digital goods that will be made possible through its new stack, which will also be available to other Android device makers.

“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.”

Cryptography software will be everywhere in the saga.
Photo by Chris Welch/The Verge

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

It’s quite a pivot if you were hoping that Osom would just produce a relatively normal, privacy-focused Android phone – an Essential Phone 2, in other words. And it also goes against what Osom said android font in March, when the company estimated that the OV1 would cost “well under $1,000”. The real test will be whether the saga actually delivers on target in early 2023, as Solana and Osom claim. And if there will be a viable audience for a product like this outside of the auditorium of Web3 enthusiasts who cheered its introduction. Even veteran phone makers like HTC have taken this route and failed to make any real impact.

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