Solana Labs, the development team behind popular blockchain technology Solana, has released its own ‘crypto smartphone’. The new device, named Saga, will be backed by Android’s latest operating system, Android 14, and goes on sale on May 8.
Crypto phones have arrived
The idea of crypto-backed smartphones were advanced by Solana Labs in 2022, after phone makers Sirin Labs and HTC tried and failed in their attempts to create a smart device with crypto integration.
Saga will go on public sale on May 8 at a cost of $1,000, meaning the device is priced higher than many models from established telecoms giants like Samsung, Motorola, and Nokia.
Built on hardware from OSOM, a smartphone company based in San Francisco, the crypto-forward phone comes with the usual smartphone features users are accustomed to, including two versatile back camera lenses, a 6.67-inch organic light-emitting diode (OLED), a fingerprint scanner, and 512 gigabyte (GB) storage.
No extractive fees, unlike Apple and Google
To get more people actively involved in the cryptosphere, Saga was created with a custom decentralized application (dApp) store that lists applications related to the cryptocurrency world.
As of launch, around 12 dApps covering the non-fungible token (NFT), music, inter-wallet communications, and crypto trading sectors can be downloaded with more in the pipeline.
Listing applications on Google and Apple through their respective stores entails a 30% extractive fee for yearly developer earnings above $1 million.
On the other hand, having an application on the Saga store comes with zero fees.
SOL up over 140% year-to-date (YTD)
According to Solana Labs, privacy and security are the main threats associated with the use of crypto. So the company created Solana Mobile Stack (SMS), with security features and crypto integrations that simplify the process of sending, receiving, trading, and storing digital currencies on their device.
The Solana blockchain protocol plays an integral role in the decentralized finance (DeFi) and NFT sectors. While its native asset SOL was one of the worst-performing coins in 2022, bringing multiple percentage losses to the portfolios of millions, it is on a rebound in 2023.
As of 09:00 UTC on April 14, SOL was up by 145% year-to-date and had a trading price of $24.43 after opening the year on January 1 with a value of $9.9610, data from TradingView shows.
SOL reached a quarterly high price of $26.93 on February 20 but this was still nine times below the all-time high (ATH) of $260.06 it attained on November 6, 2021.
According to analyst David Cox at CryptoNewsZ, SOL could exchange hands for around $50 by the end of 2023 if it continues to expand its ecosystem.
Solana might be the first blockchain to release a so-called crypto smartphone, but it won’t be the last.