Cryptocurrency is often associated with dramatic storylines, such as those following the exploits of Stellar or Terra. Solana Mobile, a subsidiary of Solana Labs, just released its own phone – The Saga. The creators hope that this product will enjoy an exciting and successful journey.
This handheld device, offering buyers pre-ordering capabilities and retailing at $1,000, is a convenient solution for anyone seeking to create Non-Fungible Tokens, purchase digital currencies, and use web3 with portability.
What Is Solana?
Solana is a layer 1 blockchain platform that has been highly successful since its launch in 2018, founded by Anatoly Yakovenko. The platform has attracted great attention due to its impressive speed and it has obtained over $330M in funding from some of the biggest investors including A16Z, Multicoin, and Polychain.
What Is The Saga Phone?
The Solana Saga is a premium Android flagship phone with unique functionality and features tightly integrated with the Solana blockchain. It is designed to make it easy and secure to transact in web3 and manage digital assets, such as tokens and NFTs.
The differentiating feature of the Solana Saga is its software, which relies on the Solana Mobile Stack, delivering security and capabilities catering to Web3. It also includes a Secure Element built into the device called Seed Vault. This keeps private keys, seed phrases, and secrets separated from the application layer.
Despite this separation, it is still capable of interacting with apps running on the device or in a mobile browser. The phone also has native wallet functionality. Additionally, it has a native store for decentralized apps.
What Is The Solana Mobile Stack (SMS)?
The Solana Mobile Stack (SMS) facilitates developers in producing applications focused on mobile devices powered by Solana’s blockchain technology. Solana Labs can provide applications on other blockchains with an audit and integration of their code.
Over time, this task of auditing and integrating could be transferred to another team. Furthermore, Emmett Hollyer, Sr. Business & Operations Lead at Solana said that:
Solana is an open-source platform, and anyone can contribute. SMS and the dev kit for Saga are optimized for Solana, but we would love for other ecosystems in Web3 to participate.
Solana Mobile – Quick Review
The Solana Saga – Android v13 is the latest addition to the ever-growing Android family of smartphones. Packed with advanced features, it’s designed to offer a smooth and enjoyable user experience. Here’s what you can expect from this high-performance device:
|In-Display Fingerprint Sensor||The Android v13 features a fast and accurate in-display fingerprint sensor for secure and convenient unlocking.|
To sum up, Android v13 provides a well-rounded mix of attributes, efficiency, and style. Though not perfect in all aspects, its excellent screen, speedy CPU, and sufficient storage render it a strong option for those desiring a dependable, potent smartphone.
Solana Saga – Detailed Review
We’ll analyze the details, capacities, and user experiences to help decide if this is the phone to pick.
Backed by Web3
Web3 is a modern version of the World Wide Web (WWW) using blockchain technology, whereas Solana is a public blockchain intended for digital asset transactions, such as tokens and NFTs. It stands to reason that Solana-backed mobile phones should allow for convenient and secure trading.
Additionally, the company has created the Solana Mobile Stack, a framework for Android which lets developers create interactive mobile experiences for wallets and applications. This SDK is already available for app development on the Solana platform.
Solana & OSOM Collaborate
Solana is responsible for improving software and OSOM takes care of all hardware needs for the Saga. OSOM is a startup created by the brains behind Essential, which is currently owned by Nothing.
Furthermore, OSOM unveiled a mobile phone speculated to come out in the last three months of 2022. Subsequently, they collaborated with Solana to produce a device having a focus on blockchain technology.
Solana dApp Store
The Saga offers web3 features and an exclusive store, the ‘Solana dApp Store’, which contains apps suitable to be used in web3 platforms. There is only a restricted number of applications available in the store.
- Phantom: A user-friendly, multi-functional wallet for Solana that supports staking, swapping, and NFT management.
- Solflare: A non-custodial wallet for the Solana ecosystem, enabling users to manage SOL and SPL tokens securely.
- Ledger: A hardware wallet providing cold storage and robust security for a wide range of cryptocurrencies.
- Squads: A social wallet platform allowing users to create, manage, and invest in decentralized groups or squads.
Three DeFi apps
- Marinade.finance: A liquid staking platform on Solana, enabling users to earn yield by staking their SOL tokens.
- Jupiter: A decentralized platform for aggregating and optimizing yield across multiple DeFi protocols.
- Mango: A decentralized trading and lending platform on Solana, offering leveraged trading and margin lending.
Three NFT apps
- Nokiamon: NFT game where you collect, trade, and battle unique digital creatures.
- Minty Fresh: User-friendly NFT platform to tokenize and sell digital art.
- TIEXO: Decentralized marketplace for trading NFTs.
Three Social Apps
- Dialect: A decentralized social network for connecting with like-minded individuals and participating in topic-based discussions.
- Audius Music: A decentralized music streaming platform, that empowers artists with direct control over their content and revenue.
- urFeed: A blockchain-based social media aggregator, compiles content from multiple platforms into a personalized feed.
A decentralized application (dApp) offering collaborative workspaces for teams to manage projects and share resources securely.
Rollout And Future Plans
Steven Laver, who is the engineering lead at Solana Mobile, mentioned that while they are still in the beginning phase of their phone development, there will be updates and modifications to the software being released over time to maintain its freshness.
In June 2020, Yakovenko stated that the mobile phone would be shipped in the first quarter of 2023. Nevertheless, this has recently been shifted to the second quarter. Consumers can preorder with a $100 security deposit.
In June, a few web3 giants such as Phantom (crypto wallet), Magic Eden (NFT marketplace), and the unfortunately defunct FTX (crypto exchange) partnered with Solana to launch a new phone. Additionally, they announced a $10 million program that would go towards developers creating apps on this phone.
Web3 has launched a phone in order to be competitive with major players such as Apple, Microsoft, and Android; however, its limited market base has created doubts about the device’s capacity to challenge the aforementioned corporations.
Solana Labs aims to have at least one billion users of cryptocurrency within the coming years. To realize this goal, Solana is dedicating its effort to developer tooling, encouraging developers to use it, and improving the performance of their network in terms of speed and cost-efficiency.
The faster speed and lower cost make new options available that were previously not feasible. The objective is to encourage as many developers as possible to experiment and potentially find success in bringing a product to market.
Furthermore, DeFi (Decentralized Finance) saw a boom in the summer of 2020, with four projects out of the thousands – Uniswap, Maker, Avee, and Compound – achieving Product-Market Fit. It is likely that this next bull market will be set off by new use cases becoming enabled.
Here are some key features of the Solana Saga:
- 6.67-inch OLED display with a peak refresh rate of 120Hz
- 12GB RAM and 512GB storage
- Snapdragon® 8+ Gen 1 Mobile Platform
- Solana Mobile Stack software delivers security and capabilities catering to Web3
- Secure Element built into the device called Seed Vault for private key management
- Native wallet functionality and a native store for decentralized apps
Setting up the phone was straightforward and similar to setting up an Android or iPhone. However, Saga highlights a unique feature of the phone, which is called the Seed Vault. This is described as a “secure custody protocol.”
It’s not a wallet that has direct access to your private information. Instead, it functions with your Solana wallet on Android OS without giving access to the secret elements. It is compatible with both Phantom and Solflare wallets.
Most notably, the 24-word seed phrase is safeguarded; this must not be confused with the Seed Password that confirms any actions you make.
The Saga phone has a fingerprint sensor located two-thirds of the way up the back. It is designed to be easily accessible and fit well in one’s grip. However, it did not always reliably detect the user’s fingerprint; they were often prompted to try again.
Saga prioritizes security by syncing to user wallets and seed storage. Although it was a good measure, We often found ourselves getting fatigued with all the steps needed when connecting apps or sending transactions.
As We were never sure exactly what permission We were granted with any single action, we followed the instructions without thinking through them.
When attempting to connect a new app to our wallet, three uses of our fingerprint were necessary. We additionally had to press ‘connect’ and affirm the use of our fingerprint. As an extra layer of security, we then entered a seed passcode.
Suddenly, we faced yet another authentication process which required us to once again use our fingerprint and press buttons.
The user experience of Saga apps and transactions will differ, though it is unlikely that people using the platform are able to differentiate between Saga’s user experience and security features as opposed to those put in place by individual applications.
Solana Saga: Price & Availability Update
Pre-orders for the Saga smartphone are now open with a $100 refundable deposit. They expect to begin distributing the product early in 2023 with a price set at one thousand USD.
Furthermore, those pre-ordering it will receive a Saga Pass – Non-fungible Token (NFT) – and become one of the first people to be able to have an influence in shaping how SMS evolves.
|Solana Saga||Q1, 2023|
Solana Saga: Verdict
Not everyone can afford a $1,000 smartphone, and Saga’s focus on web3 use cases may not appeal to all. However, compared to its similarly priced counterparts, the Saga stands out as an innovative device with Solana integration that offers potential benefits to users in terms of decentralized apps and services. It remains unclear yet if this will be a successful concept.