Solana co-founder and CEO Anatoly Yakovenko had a Steve Jobs moment standing in front of a New York City auditorium announcing the launch of Saga, an Android Web3-focused smartphone.
I fundamentally believe that the industry must do this, said Yakovenko. We haven’t seen a single crypto feature at the Apple developer conference 13 years after Bitcoin was alive. People will pull out their laptops in the middle of deadlines so they don’t miss an NFT coin opportunity, Yakovenko joked.
So I think it’s time for crypto to go mobile, Yakovenko added. Saga aims to implement products and services for digital assets so that users can easily trade their cryptocurrency through the device, unlike a laptop browser.
Alongside the announcement of Saga, Yakovenko shared the launch of the Solana Mobile Stack or SMS, which is a Web3 layer for Solana built on top of the phone. Web3 still feels like it was in 2007, said Steven Laver, Mobile Engineering Lead at Solana Labs. [SMS] can create experiences for the community by treating SMS devices as prime citizens on Solana. Everything is going mobile, FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried said at the event. In most countries, most of people’s day-to-day access comes from cell phones, Bankman-Fried said. But the mobile accessibility of crypto products isn’t great today, he said.
SMS will consist of a number of products including a seed vault, custody solution, mobile wallet adapter, Solana Pay for Android and the decentralized application store (dApp). It offers a new suite of wallet and app libraries that will enable developers to create rich mobile experiences on Solana, according to a press release, Fried said. Having Web3 enabled devices with a hardware wallet is super powerful.
A number of crypto companies including FTX, Phantom, and Magic Eden will partner with SMS, and there’s also a $10 million developer fund for people building apps on it. The builders are coming and they are of higher quality than before, said Raj Gokal, COO at Solana Labs. You are ready for the next phase of user growth.
The $1,000 device will have 512GB of storage with a 6.67-inch OLED display and is available to pre-order with a $100 deposit. Deliveries will take place in the first quarter of 2023, Yakovenko said. Wow, was the word Yakovenko kept repeating. In a humorous and perhaps reverential way, Yakovenko highlighted many wow moments that the Solana ecosystem has experienced over the past few years, but particularly over the past 12 months. Solana has over 21 million unique active monthly accounts, according to Nansen data shared by Yakovenko.
This launch could propel Solana into the big tech leagues, moving from a purely crypto-centric world to one alongside Apple, Microsoft, and of course Android. The focus on bringing more Web3 options to mobile devices can also expand the reach of the Solana ecosystem to mainstream audiences and push other crypto blockchains to do the same.
The announcement also comes at a difficult time for the crypto industry, which has seen a major downturn in crypto prices. Yakovenko seems to recognize that the device doesn’t have the greatest mainstream appeal, but sees it as something that could reach Crypto’s most dedicated users.
We targeted the hardcore folks who know what self-custody means. You need to start with a group that loves that product and grow from there.
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