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On April 13, Solana (SOL 1.21%) hosted a launch event in San Francisco for its highly anticipated Saga mobile phone. This “crypto phone” is the first of its kind for a major cryptocurrency and is part of a broader push for making the Solana blockchain the premier home for mobile crypto experiences.
So just how big of an impact will this Saga phone have on the future price of Solana? It really depends on how you view the future of Web3, crypto, and mobile. In a best-case scenario, launching a physical hardware product could send Solana’s price soaring.
Before the Saga, no mobile phone was optimized for crypto or Web3. That’s basically the problem Solana’s new Android-powered Saga phone is trying to solve. The new Saga boasts innovative technology that current mobile phones do not possess, such as a new Seed Vault for holding cryptographic seed phrases.
This new security feature means the Saga can become your digital hardware wallet for crypto and crypto assets such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). That’s something crypto enthusiasts have been demanding for years. After all, if you take your mobile phone with you everywhere you go, doesn’t it make sense you should also take your crypto wallet everywhere?
Image source: Getty Images.
The new phone will also make it possible to create entirely new types of user experiences that currently are impossible with today’s technology and business models. The Solana team showcased a few of these Web3 experiences during the launch. For example, a new messaging app for Solana will make it possible to send “smart messages” (messages that include executable smart contracts) and “NFT chat stickers” (stickers that are actually NFTs from creators within the Solana community).
When you put all this together, mobile could become a very compelling business strategy for Solana. Once you put a hardware phone into users’ hands, you can create end-to-end customer experiences, all enabled by a digital wallet native to the Solana blockchain.
Solana now has all the functioning pieces of a mobile ecosystem: the Saga phone, a new decentralized app store for Web3 apps, a mobile payment system called Solana Pay, a Solana mobile stack for developers to build new experiences, and even a new decentralized wireless network for the Saga that will pay users in crypto for operating 5G hotspots.
The downside, as I see it, is that the launch of this new crypto phone sounds great for crypto enthusiasts, tech early adopters, and young members of Generation Z who grew up as digital natives, but what about everyone else? Let’s be blunt here: Are most people going to pay $1,000 for a new crypto-enabled Saga phone when they already have a $1,000 phone from a company like Apple or Samsung?
During the nearly one-hour Solana launch event, no mention was made of pre-sale order numbers for Saga, and I think that was for a reason. This might end up being a very niche product.
Moreover, there is the question of just how many decentralized apps (dApps) will be available in the new Solana app store on day 1. During the presentation, Solana referred to this app store as “an experience distribution machine,” so having plenty of new apps (i.e., experiences) you simply can’t get on any other phone today will be important. These new types of experiences could convince people to switch phones.
One example given during the presentation was an app that enables you to mint a new NFT simply by taking a photo with the phone’s camera. That might be interesting because the process of minting new NFTs with a camera is something currently beyond the reach of most people. Another example was an app that forces you to pay in Solana tokens from your digital wallet anytime you exceed your allotted mobile phone screen time for the week. (The perfect app for parents with kids!)
Overall, I’m bullish on Solana. And I’ve been bullish on Solana dating all the way back to the earliest announcements of this new crypto phone. To me, it makes perfect sense that the future of crypto is mobile and that there should be mobile phones optimized for crypto. But does the rest of the world agree?
I’m looking forward to all the potential synergies made possible with the launch of the new Saga phone. If it leads to the blossoming of a Solana mobile ecosystem, that would be huge. There’s simply no other blockchain that can duplicate this right now. Solana has come a long way in a short time, and I’m excited to see how well the team at Solana can execute on this product launch.
Dominic Basulto has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Solana. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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