Solana Launches Saga Smartphone To Improve the Cryptocurrency-Mobile Relationship

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Solana Labs, the company representing the founders and key contributors to the Solana blockchain network, has taken the big step of announcing the release of its software ecosystem, Solana Mobile Stack, for Android mobile devices and revealed that in the new year it will launch an Android smartphone, called Saga.

Solana co-founder and CEO Anatoly Yakovenko had an a la Steve Jobs moment when he stood in front of an auditorium in New York City and announced the launch of Saga, a smartphone focused on Android web3.

“This is something that I basically think the industry needs to do”, Yakovenko said. “We didn’t see a single crypto feature at Apple’s developer conference 13 years after the life of Bitcoin”.

People will take out their laptops in the middle of appointments so they don’t miss a chance from NFTs, Yakovenko joked. “So I think it’s time for encryption to become mobile“, Yakovenko added.

Saga aims to implement digital asset products and services so that users can easily conduct cryptocurrency transactions through the device, as opposed to a laptop browser.

Everything becomes mobile“, said Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of FTX, at the event. In most countries, most of the access to people’s daily lives is through mobile phones, Bankman-Fried said. However, the accessibility of cryptographic products from mobile devices is not great today, he said.

The Solana Mobole Stack (SMS)

In addition to the Saga announcement, Yakovenko shared the release of the Solana Mobile Stack, or SMS, which is a web3 layer for Solana built into the phone. “Web3 still feels like we are in the year 2007” said Steven Laver, head of mobile engineering at Solana Labs.”The [SMS] can create experiences for the community… will treat SMS devices as first class citizens in Solana“.

The Solana Mobile Stack (SMS) is an open source software kit designed to enable the development of native Android applications created in Solana. The kit includes the Mobile Wallet Adapter, a protocol for connecting Solana mobile wallets. According to the company, this feature will work on all mobile devices, not just Android.

Another new feature, called Seed Vault, is a software solution for vaulting that keeps private keys and passphrases (essentially passwords that unlock cryptocurrency funds) and other sensitive information on an Android device secure. Finally, the SMS includes Solana Pay for Android, which enables mobile payments through the platform.

The Solana dapp store

Solana Labs will also launch a new Solana dapp store designed for mobile devices, providing easy access to Web3 apps and wallets built in Solana, free of charge. The SMS developer kit is available for download.

The new features of Solana Mobile Stack

According to the company, the Solana Mobile Stack will enable new features such as cutting (i.e. creating and distributing) NFT assets from anywhere, easier mobile transactions on Solana, wider access to Solana’s DeFi protocols, and more ways to play Web3-based video games on the Solana network.

How much the smartphone will cost

The phone is expected to retail for around $1,000. Solana Labs is accepting deposits of $100 and will give priority to Solana developers on the list. Early buyers will receive a limited edition NFT marking the phone’s release.

The $1,000 device will have 512 GB of storage with a 6.67-inch OLED display and is available for pre-order with a $100 deposit and deliveries will take place in Q1 2023, Yakovenko said.

As part of the Solana Mobile Stack launch, the Solana Foundation will establish a $10 million developer ecosystem fund to provide grants to mobile phone developers:

“Developers can now bring the power of Solana to our computers, in our pockets, not just in our backpacks,” Solana co-founder Raj Gokal said in a release, adding: “Solana can revolutionise what we do every day, but we need to open up the possibilities for decentralised applications on our mobile devices in order to harness this potential.”

The announcement also comes at a difficult time for the industry, which has seen a significant drop in cryptocurrency prices. Yakovenko seems to realize that the device doesn’t have the most mainstream appeal, but he sees it as something that could reach the most dedicated crypto users. “We’re targeting hard-core people who know what self-care means. You need to start with a group that loves this product and grow from there“.

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