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Solana's developers unveil web3-focused mobile phone

www.theblock.co 23 June 2022 18:54, UTC
Reading time: ~2 m

The team behind Solana is seeking to gate-crash the telecom industry with the launch of an Android phone and a new subsidiary focused on web3 mobile apps. 

At an event in New York City, Solana Labs CEO Anatoly Yakovenko unveiled the new Android phone, dubbed Saga. The team is developing the device to be purpose-built for web3, which spans NFT marketplaces to decentralized trading platforms.

The phone will feature a 6.6-inch display and 512 GB of storage as well as private key security measures built into the device. 

The move into mobile reflects Yakovenko's background as an engineer at Qualcomm, where he lead groups that built technology leveraged by the likes of Samsung, LG, and Google.

“Almost 7 billion people use smartphones around the world and more than 100 million people hold digital assets - and both of those numbers will continue to grow,” said Yakovenko, a Solana co-founder. “Saga sets a new standard for the web3 experience on mobile.”

Saga is the flagship product of a new subsidiary of Solana Labs, Solana Mobile. In addition to building out Saga, Solana Mobile will offer developers a toolkit to create mobile-first crypto applications on the Solana blockchain.

The so-called Solana Mobile Stack "provides a new set of libraries for wallets and apps, allowing developers to create rich mobile experiences on Solana," according to a press release. Solana is pouring $10 million into a new ecosystem fund to incentive developers to build apps leveraging Solana Mobile Stack. 

The focus on hardware represents a notable shift to put Solana in the hands — proverbially and literally — of mobile web3 users. At the same time, the network has faced numerous technological hurdles in the past year, including several network stoppages, the most recent of which occurred in early June.

The device is available for pre-order for a $100 deposit and could cost as much as $1,000. Solana Mobile expects to ship the phone by early 2023.

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