- Solana Labs has released its crypto-focused smartphone, Saga, which doubles as a dedicated crypto hardware wallet.
- The device comes with the Solana Mobile Stack (SMS), a lineup of custom add-ons that integrate crypto usefulness into the phone’s hardware and software.
- While Saga’s Web3 integration is promising, it is still in the early stages, and there are few available apps plus some bugs to be fixed. The $1,000 smartphone may be a tough sell for the average consumer.
The Saga Phone
Solana Labs, the company behind the Solana blockchain, has launched the Saga, a crypto-focused smartphone that doubles as a dedicated hardware wallet. The Android-based device, which costs $1,000, has a 6.67-inch OLED display, a fingerprint scanner, two back cameras, and 512 GB of storage. However, what sets the Saga apart from other smartphones is the “Solana Mobile Stack” (SMS), a lineup of custom add-ons that integrate crypto usefulness into the phone’s hardware and software.
Saga has a customized secure element with a “seed vault” that stores a crypto user’s private keys separately from the rest of the phone’s data, making them more secure. The phone comes with a custom “dapp” store that only lists crypto applications, and Solana says it won’t impose “extractive fees” on dapp store apps.
The Saga’s Web3 integration is built around the Seed Vault, a native custody solution that secures the wallet’s seed phrase within a secure environment on the phone. That’s paired with a native store for decentralized apps (dapps), which provides a smoother, easier-to-use flow than typical web apps. Early adopters and die-hards can test the Saga’s capabilities with some available apps, but there are few available apps for the average consumer. Solana Labs aims to cultivate a decentralized mobile ecosystem that isn’t reliant on big tech companies such as Apple and Google and their 30% cut of app sales, which has stymied mobile Web3 adoption.
Review in Progress
The Saga’s hardware is polished and premium, with an attractive design, sturdy materials, and a robust 512GB of internal storage. The device is plenty fast and powerful too, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen1 processor paired with 12GB RAM, making it capable of running games and demanding apps with ease. The Saga’s Web3 integration feels more intuitive than using a web-based wallet, and handling crypto assets on mobile is a step forward.
However, there are some stumbles along the way, and while the essential core pieces are here to send and receive funds, mint and transact NFTs, and swap crypto funds, the Saga has a few available apps and bugs that still need ironing out. Solana Labs aims to sell tens of thousands of units in the first year, but that level of sales wouldn’t move the needle for a Web2 tech giant. However, if it prompts developers to build mobile dapps and embrace the platform, then it could lead to more affordable Saga successors targeted at a broader audience—with more compelling reasons to buy in.
The Saga’s success remains to be seen, but it is clear that Solana Labs is taking a big swing with the release of this smartphone. It is also clear that the company is looking to address the challenges that have plagued mobile Web3 adoption in the past.
By integrating native, secure wallet functionality and a dapp store with zero extractive fees, Solana is hoping to provide a mobile platform for decentralized applications that is independent of the big tech giants like Apple and Google. The Saga’s success or failure will depend on whether or not it can attract enough developers and users to build a thriving ecosystem of mobile dapps.
For now, it is still early days for the Saga, and there are some bugs and kinks that need to be worked out. But the potential is there for this device to be a game-changer for mobile Web3 adoption, and for Solana Labs to be at the forefront of a new wave of decentralized mobile technology.
Solana’s Saga smartphone is a gamble on mobile being imperative to the future of crypto, and the company behind the Solana blockchain has taken a big swing with this release. The Saga’s unique features such as the Solana Mobile Stack and the Seed Vault, along with its custom dapp store, make it stand out among other smartphones in the market. It remains to be seen if it can attract enough developers and users to build a thriving ecosystem of mobile dapps, but the potential is there for this device to be a game-changer for mobile Web3 adoption. Only time will tell if Solana has hit a home run with the Saga.