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Solana makes a crypto phone with help from former Essential engineers

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The phone previously known as the Osom OV1, built by a team made up of former Essential engineers and designers, is today being renamed and reused, and it’s all in the name of crypto. This afternoon, blockchain company Solana in New York City announced its own mobile phone, the Saga, created in collaboration with Osom. It costs $1,000 and preorders open today. A $100 deposit is required, and Solana says the Saga will ship in Q1 2023.

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

This device is for those entrenched in the universe of crypto wallets, Web3 and NFTs, and it will have a unique feature: support for decentralized apps that rely on the Solana blockchain, which has rivaled at least as much as Ethereum. it’s about NFT sales volume. NFT marketplace Magic Eden, Solana wallet maker Phantom and cryptocurrency exchange Orca have signed up to support Saga and Solana’s new software efforts.

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

Osom has confirmed that The edge that the OV1 and Saga are now one and the same, meaning this device is the primary focus of the company. “Osom is incredibly excited to partner with Solana in building the Saga,” said Founder and CEO Jason Keats. “The world needs new hardware companies to support the future of Web3. It is extremely exciting to build an ecosystem that looks to the future without being burdened by legacy ecosystems from the past.”

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

That line about “obsolete ecosystems” may refer to Solana’s other announcements today: The company introduced the Solana mobile stack, an open dApp (short for decentralized applications) Store that will run on the Android-based Saga. The company foresees a massive surge in crypto-native apps, digital services and digital goods that will be 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 people who understand what self-preservation means,” Yakovenko said when asked how Solana’s mobile stack and new tools will provide a better experience than digital crypto and NFT wallets from Samsung and other major tech companies.

It’s quite the hub 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 counters what Osom said android police in March, when the company estimated the OV1 would cost “well under $1,000”. The real test will be whether the Saga will actually be delivered to the target in early 2023, as both Solana and Osom claim. And whether there will be a viable audience for a product like this outside the auditorium of excited Web3 enthusiasts cheering its release. Even veteran phone makers like HTC have gone down this road and have had no real impact.

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