Challenges Ahead for Solana’s Saga Phone Amid Market Realities
Solana Labs co-founder Anatoly Yakovenko recently expressed concerns about the future of Solana Mobile’s “Saga” phone, citing disappointing sales and changing market dynamics. In a conversation on Laura Shin’s Unchained podcast, Yakovenko deliberated on the viability of continuing with the device, which has struggled to meet sales expectations. Saga, initially launched with much fanfare, aimed to carve a niche in the crypto-centric smartphone market. However, sales have been underwhelming, prompting a reevaluation of its future.
According to a report by Sam Reynolds for CoinDesk, Yakovenko mentioned a target of selling 25,000 to 50,000 units to establish a solid user base that would attract developers to create applications for the platform. This figure is seen as a benchmark for success, but current sales trends have cast doubt on reaching this goal. Earlier this year, the phone’s price was reduced from $1000 to $599, a strategic move to boost sales. Despite this adjustment, the desired uptick in purchases did not materialize as expected.
Yakovenko acknowledged significant advancements in mobile interfaces, specifically Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) and pass keys, which have narrowed the gap between specialized smartphones like Saga and regular smartphones. He highlighted that PWAs allow developers to bypass app store fees and offer sideloading features, even on iOS platforms, challenging the unique selling points of crypto-focused smartphones.
The concept of a cryptocurrency-oriented smartphone is not new. Big names like HTC and smaller players such as Sirin Labs have previously ventured into this space but achieved limited success, appealing mainly to a niche market.
Interestingly, Yakovenko himself does not use Saga as his primary device. He alternates between Saga and his iPhone, citing the need for business apps and security features that are currently more seamlessly integrated with his iPhone. He described the Saga phone as his “NFT phone,” indicating its specialized use case in his personal life.
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