Solana’s Mobile Phone Sales Have Not Met Expectations

Plans for Solana Mobile’s flagship smartphone/crypto wallet, Saga, were unveiled in June 2022.

Saga integrates secure private key management with all the features of a typical Android smartphone, aiming to improve Web3 users’ mobile experiences. But, what is happening with Solana’s Mobile?

Why the Future Looks Uncertain for Solana’s Saga Phone?

Things don’t seem to have gone as planned for the Solana-backed Saga. Less than 18 months after its debut, Solana founder Anatoly Yakovenko confirmed that internal talks over Saga’s future are in progress due to underwhelming sales.

During an interview on Laura Shin’s Unchained podcast, Yakovenko discussed whether it would be worthwhile to keep working on the gadget, which has had trouble reaching its sales targets.

Yakovenko explained that Solana had a goal of selling 25,000 to 50,000 units to build a stable user base that would draw developers to create applications for the platform. He considers this figure to be a benchmark for success. But current sales trends raise doubts about achieving this target.

“We have to decide if there’s a place for a smart wallet, a much cheaper version that an iPhone user could use as a secondary device. We haven’t seen a ton of signals about whether that’s a compelling enough thing to sell 50,000 units,” he said. 

The phone was originally released for sale earlier this year. But in August, its $1000 price was lowered to $599. However, why did Saga fail? 

Yakovenko explained that improvements in mobile interfaces, especially with pass keys and Progressive Web Apps, have greatly narrowed the difference between regular and specialized smartphones like Saga. He said, “Progressive Web Apps bypass the App Store, so developers don’t need to pay the fees. They kind of have that side-loading feature even on iOS now.”

Interestingly, Yakovenko acknowledged that he uses Saga as an NFT phone. And relies on his iPhone as his “work phone.” 

How Have Crypto Phones Fared?

Several phone manufacturers, like Samsung and HTC, have attempted to produce cryptocurrency-powered smartphones. However, very few were ever profitable, and none could take off. 

Furthermore, there are questions about whether Solana’s choice to develop unique hardware for Saga was required given that a new generation of Web3 phones places a greater emphasis on software.

Present-day phone users are more satisfied with the security and usefulness of their smartphones—from Web3 gaming to cryptocurrency trading. So, most do not see the need for owning a second device. Most smartphones already enable Web3 activities, giving Web3 smartphones difficulty penetrating the market. 

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