Most individuals will agree that the smartphone business is in determined want of disruption. Exterior of the foldable market, we’ve seen little or no by way of innovation and have differentiation over current years. So when a younger startup with a pedigreed group declares that it’s constructing a smartphone to problem that establishment, it’s laborious to not get a bit bit excited.
That’s precisely what occurred once we first heard concerning the privacy-focused OSOM OV1 smartphone final yr. In case you’re unfamiliar with the OSOM model, it’s a brand new startup established by former Important workers.
Earlier this week, we lastly received to be taught extra concerning the OSOM OV1, which has now been delayed to early 2023. The machine options high-end, flagship-grade specs, with a correct $1,000 price ticket to match. In a giant twist, nevertheless, OSOM is now not advertising the OV1 as its personal product. As an alternative, it has partnered with Solana, a blockchain firm.
OSOM has pivoted from making a privacy-centric smartphone to at least one with blockchain integrations.
The Solana Saga, because it’s now known as, guarantees to incorporate “distinctive performance and options tightly built-in with the Solana blockchain”. That’s definitely an enormous pivot from OSOM’s preliminary aim of simply delivering a privateness and security-centric Android smartphone. However does this new focus make any sense? Let’s break it down.
Catch up: What is blockchain technology?
What does the Solana Saga hope to perform?
In case you’re questioning what makes the Solana Saga any totally different from earlier area of interest blockchain/cryptocurrency smartphones, it’s not precisely clear. Looking by means of the official web site, you’ll likelihood throughout some alternative quotes like “re-imagining web3 for cell” and “eradicating friction for self-custody.” We as soon as heard related one-dimensional claims from corporations like HTC and Sirin Labs. For sure, these endeavors didn’t succeed.
Fortunately, some additional digging reveals that the corporate has additionally introduced a software program improvement package dubbed the Solana Cellular Stack. In a nutshell, it presents Android builders the instruments required to construct safe cryptocurrency wallets and Web3 apps. You possibly can consider the stack as much like Google Mobile Services (GMS), however for a far, way more area of interest use case.
Learn extra: What is Web3 and why is it so controversial?
As you’d anticipate, the Solana Cellular Stack shall be pre-installed on each Solana Saga. This may even enable customers to retailer their cryptocurrency pockets keys in a safe enclave on the machine. Notably, this is identical safety mechanism different Android telephones use to safeguard delicate information like fingerprints.
Solana expects builders to construct cryptocurrency wallets and apps for its upcoming smartphone.
However does the typical cryptocurrency consumer want a devoted blockchain smartphone to facilitate easy transactions? Probably not. You possibly can already use decentralized apps (dApps) on nearly any Android machine, personal NFTs with software wallets, and make cryptocurrency funds by way of an online browser. Certain, it’s possible you’ll sacrifice a little bit of safety however no person retains their life’s financial savings on a cell phone anyway.
No matter present choices, CEO Anatoly Yakovenko appears to suppose that Solana has one thing distinctive to supply. In a blog post accompanying the Saga’s launch, he wrote:
…On daily basis, I hear tales of individuals leaving dinners, conferences, and holidays to get again to their computer systems and signal necessary transactions. The mints, trades, listings, and transfers important to the each day lifetime of crypto-lovers are dragging us away from our lives with others. The one corporations with the assets to materialize the self-custody cell future we’re all dreaming of, Apple and Google, have had no updates to present on their roadmaps for crypto.
In different phrases, Solana claims that it’s going to do what Google and Apple gained’t — bake a whole ecosystem of crypto apps and experiences immediately into the cellphone’s software program. Whether or not that’s a good suggestion or not stays to be seen.
See additionally: The best cryptocurrency apps
Why blockchain smartphones don’t make sense
If there’s something we all know for certain, it’s that the demand for blockchain smartphones hasn’t actually grown since 2018 when the HTC Exodus first broke cowl. Actually, you can argue that it makes even much less sense now. Web3 and NFTs have turn into extraordinarily contentious matters today and it’s not laborious to see why both. Many consider that the market is flooded with half-baked and buggy platforms, or worse, utterly fraudulent initiatives. And Solana has not managed to flee its share of controversy both.
Dive in: Why do people say NFTs are bad?
Over the previous few months, the Solana blockchain has suffered a number of network outages resulting from a wide range of software program glitches, stopping customers from transacting for so long as 18 hours. For a lot of, the enchantment of blockchain expertise hinges on transparency, reliability, and decentralization. Solana hasn’t managed to ship on these fronts up to now and has attracted loads of criticism for that.
Web3 and NFTs have turn into contentious matters, making the Solana Saga a controversial smartphone with restricted enchantment.
Conserving all of this in thoughts, it’s laborious to see a situation the place the Solana Saga succeeds over different $1,000 smartphones. The Galaxy S22 series not solely competes in the identical value vary but additionally presents Samsung’s long-established Blockchain Keystore. The latter lets you securely retailer cryptocurrency and interface with decentralized apps, not too far off from Solana’s pitch. It’s additionally cryptocurrency-agnostic so that you aren’t certain to Solana or any specific blockchain.
Do blockchain smartphones make sense?
Again in 2018, we opined that the Sirin Finney smartphone (pictured above) didn’t make a lot sense at its $1,000 price ticket. Have we come full circle simply 4 years later with the Solana Saga? Solely time will inform.