OSOM and Nothing have become two of the most lucrative companies operating the smartphone space in recent years. Nothing is the latest project from OnePlus co-founder, Carl Pei, while OSOM is largely made up of former Essential employees looking to launch their own thing in the wake of the company’s messy dissolution. That Pei bought Essentiale’s IP was another good cosmic connection between the two.
Well, both young hardware startups have been making news this week, though these announcements have only highlighted how different their paths are. After all, launching a smartphone was never an easy time, but amid chip shortages and supply chain shutdowns, external forces have further increased the barrier to entry. For nothing, this means being selective about launch markets and adopting a OnePlus-style invite system.
On the other hand, for OSOM, it’s a major pivot for the company’s first handset. The OV1 Web3-focused Android handset is becoming the Saga. The rebranding removes the OSOM name from the product, which, as Jacqueline notes, is being issued by Solana Mobile, a subsidiary of blockchain/crypto startup, Solana Labs.
OSOM founder and CEO, Jason Keats, said in a commentary to Meczyki.Net, “OSOM is incredibly excited to partner with Solana in producing the saga.” “The world needs novel hardware companies to support the future of Web3. Building an ecosystem that looks to the future without the burden of legacy ecosystems of the past is extremely exciting.”
The company would not comment further, only promising additional updates soon.
OSOM has been positioning itself as a privacy-first hardware manufacturer by now. Keats told Meczyki.Net earlier this year, “We’re building a complete solution for privacy. We want to build tools and software and services that facilitate individual user privacy. And it can be as simple as that.” as much as providing a real foundation for our software partners to work with by integrating them into our hardware, rather than simply downloading their app from the App Store. We can install it at the system level.”
What this means for OSOM remains to be seen. This means another delay for the saga (nee OV1). Earlier this year, the company pushed the launch from Q3 to Q4 due to its desire to use the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon chip. Today’s announcement pushes things back to “early 2023,” although preorders opened today. A quick spec rundown looks promising, including a 6.67-inch OLED display, 12GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage. Companies are shooting for a ~$1,000 price tag—a change from the “well under $1,000” Keats told me earlier this year.
device is key “Solana Mobile Stack (SMS),” Which uses the security features baked into the Qualcomm chip. According to the company, SMS,
[P]Introduces a new set of libraries for wallets and apps, allowing developers to build rich mobile experiences on Solana, the world’s highest performing blockchain, and is built to run with Android. The SDK provides libraries and programming interfaces for Android apps and secure key private storage to simplify the developer experience for building and expanding the functionality of dApps for Solana.
An SDK for the service is open to developers starting today.
“Developers have been barred from creating a truly decentralized mobile app because the current Gatekeeper model no longer works,” Solana co-founder Anatoly Yakovenko said in a release. “We live our lives on our mobile devices – except for Web3 because there hasn’t been a mobile-centric approach to private key management. Solana Mobile Stack shows a new way forward on Solana which is the open source, secure, platform for Web3 Customizable and easy to use.”
It is not the first tool to offer a blockchain/crypto-centric experience. HTC attempted its own mobile pivot in 2018 with the launch of Exodus. The Taiwanese hardware maker has since set its sights on a Metaverse-focused handset.