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The Essential Phone’s spiritual successor is now a crypto phone no one asked for

The OSOM OV1, an Android phone launching from the same folks who brought you the Essential Phone, is now being rebranded as a blockchain phone. Dubbed the Solana Saga, it has all the 2022-era flagship specs you’d expect, a 2023 launch date, and a $1,000 starting price with a $100 pre-order deposit.

The Saga phone has all the makings of an excellent Android phone. It has a 6.67-inch OLED display, 12 GB of RAM paired with 512GB of storage, and it’s all powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1. There’s no word on the battery or charging capabilities though, and the phone’s design is hidden. The key selling point of this model is support for web3 (or crypto) capabilities. If your vocabulary is full of words like gas money and airdrop, this is the phone for you.

The Solana Saga debuts.

“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 Anatoly Yakovenko, co-founder of Solana in a press release. “Saga sets a new standard for the web3 experience on mobile.”

“We chose the Saga name because the story of crypto is still being written,” said Raj Gokal, co-founder of Solana. “This is the next chapter of this narrative and we believe opening up crypto to mobile will lead to greater adoption, better understanding, and more opportunities.”

Alongside the Saga, Solana is also introducing Solana Mobile Stack, a software development kit that would allow for native web3 apps on Android platforms. The Saga would be the first phone to support it natively.

“Developers have been blocked for too long from creating truly decentralized mobile apps because the existing gatekeeper model just doesn’t work anymore,” said Yakovenko. “We live our lives on our mobile devices – except for web3 because there hasn’t been a mobile-centric approach to private key management. The Solana Mobile Stack shows a new path forward on Solana that is open source, secure, optimized for web3, and easy to use.”

It’s a bit of a strange phone, combining tech’s worst instincts to provide a uniquely curious device. It’s an enthusiast phone, but the launch is sufficiently far in the future that you could forget it. It has eye-catching specs that will be outdated by launch, and it’s laser-focused on meeting demand for a market that can charitably be described as a borderline scam. If this story sounds familiar, that’s because Solana isn’t the first to try its hand at this. HTC has also worked on a few crypto-focused phones of its own. One imagines that Solana will be equally successful. As for the company’s confidence levels in its own product, the Solana Saga is priced in U.S. Dollars and not Bitcoin. We’ll leave it there.

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Michael Allison
A UK-based tech journalist for Digital Trends, helping keep track and make sense of the fast-paced world of tech with a…
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