Solana Labs co-founder Anatoly Yakovenko took the stage last night at Disrupt, TechCrunch’s annual global startup conference, and hinted that Solana’s new smartphone Saga will offer a fresh alternative to the current business models used by companies like Google and Apple.
“This is one of the moonshots,” he said, describing the Saga as an experiment that’s “cheap enough to try.” He added that it could present a challenge to the current rental models employed Google and Apple's app stores, which can both take up to 30% in revenue from developers.
"They’re built around a rent-seeking model where all the content is owned by the creator and you as a user rent it," he said. "When you buy a video from Amazon, you don’t actually own it; everyone realizes that you don’t own it."
Yakovenko also made clear that Solana isn’t expecting high sales volume for the Saga, adding that he would be “very happy with 25,000 to 50,000 units sold in the next year.”
Solana phone joins growing market
Solana announced Saga back in June alongside the Solana Mobile Stack (SMS) software kit, a resource for developing native Android mobile apps, wallets, and games, along with a decentralized app store.
The phone itself features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, a 6.67” OLED display, 12GB RAM, and 512GB of internal storage. The device will retail for approximately $1,000 in Q1 next year.
Although manufacturers including HTC and Samsung have launched smartphones with crypto features including built-in hardware wallets, Solana is aiming to take things a step further.
One of the main selling points of the Saga device is its full integration with the Solana Mobile Stack, which will enable smoother access to crypto wallets, seamless use of Solana Pay and access to applications built on Solana, including games, DeFi apps and NFT markets.
The Solana Mobile Stack isn’t exclusive to the Saga phone, but should Android phone makers like Google and Samsung want to get in on the action, they’ll have to adopt and adapt the software to enable full functionality on their own devices, said Yakovenko.
Ethereum scaling solution Polygon also announced its own crypto-integrated smartphone, a collaboration with phonemaker Nothing, back in July.