Solana’s Saga smartphone sales dramatically underperform despite positive reviews
Solana's Saga struggles in sales but doesn't fall short on user satisfaction, says Anatoly Yakovenko.
The firm unveiled its Android smartphone, Saga, in June 2022 and launched the device in 2023. The company aimed to provide users with a device tailored to web3. Specifically, it promised an app store separate from Google and Apple’s app stores in order to bypass those companies’ restrictive cryptocurrency policies.
In the interview, host Laura Shin highlighted Saga’s “underwhelming” sales, noting that only 2,500 phones have been sold.
Despite the low sales, Yakovenko described positive feedback, stating:
“We worked with a a third party, right … [it was] awesome to build this device, and it’s I think a really, really good device. We got really good reviews from the people that got it. The Solana super fans, they loved it.”
Yakovenko added that Solana believed it needed to reach 25,000 to 50,000 sales before other developers might feel compelled to ship applications.
On whether Solana will continue to push forward with mobile devices, Yakovenko implied that there is less need for such products. He noted that, since mid-2022, progressive web apps have reduced the need for dedicated devices and apps.
Regarding future Solana devices, he said:
“… We’d have to really think about it and decide [whether there is] a place for almost like a smart wallet, a much cheaper version that somebody who is an iPhone user would use as a secondary device … but we haven’t seen a ton of signal [as to] whether that’s a compelling enough kind of thing to to sell 50,000 units of.”
Shin also commented on an alleged vulnerability in Saga reported by the security firm CertiK in November. Yakovenko denied that there was any vulnerability, explaining that the security firm rooted the phone and displayed a Bitcoin wallet that had been hacked. He implied this finding was partly irrelevant because the Solana stack “does not support Bitcoin.”
Updated Dec. 15, 2023: Since the publication of this original article, Solana Saga phones have seen a dramatic turnaround in sales, likely linked to the surging popularity of the BONK memecoin. On Dec. 15, Solana Mobile announced that Saga phones are now sold out in the U.S.