The previous Essential team was working on the OSOM OV1 but switched to the “Solana Saga” earlier this year. The Solana Saga does not require Web3 or crypto features.
Jason Keats, a former Essential PH-1 team member, brought back part of that team to develop OSOM. The startup wanted to create a privacy-focused Android flagship to replace Essential’s first phone. Its design echoed the PH-1 and promised the same update frequency and more.
OSOM announced a deal with Web3 firm Solana in the summer, effectively killing OV1 and replacing it with the “Solana Saga.”
OSOM’s Jason Keats said during a Discord AMA today that the Solana Saga won’t require Web3 or crypto features. Explanation:
And there is absolutely no requirement to use the Solana crypto features. One of the complimentary principles OSOM shares with Solana is choice. Nobody is forcing anyone to use crypto on the Saga. It remains a fantastic flagship smartphone, with the *option* to use additional crypto features, that I personally feel are beneficial.
Addressing The Crypto Skeptics
OSOM plans North American and European Solana Saga releases, unlike Nothing. The device lacks the requisite bands for Dish’s new 5G network – my condolences if you were going to switch networks — but support for T-Mobile and its forthcoming satellite network with SpaceX is verified. OSOM aims to offer a comprehensive range of compatible bands closer to launch, however the excluded bands match our June list.
Hello, everyone ? pic.twitter.com/i1M2kDZC81
— Solana Mobile (@solanamobile) June 23, 2022
Don’t expect Pixel-quality photography right now. Keats believes his team has beaten Apple’s colour reproduction months before launch and hopes purchasers will be impressed. We’ll have to observe real-world examples before casting judgement.
It’s hard to separate the software from what people worry about crypto-based phones, but here we go. Keats says the experience is based on vanilla Android with modest modifications, akin to Nothing earlier this year. He compares the software to Google’s Pixel upgrades, deemphasizing Nothing or OnePlus.
Keats pledges four years of software support for the Solana Saga, but he won’t say how many major Android updates it will get. Expect slower monthly upgrades than Essential’s. Keats says the certification process is more complex than during Essential, but he’s working with Google to streamline patch distribution.
OSOM aims to reassure crypto-skeptics that the device can be bought and operated without Solana or any crypto-based features. Keats said these tools needed, comparing them to the settings accessibility menu. Keats said Solana prices have “little if any effect” on OSOM.
The company hasn’t abandoned its passionate roots despite its crypto move. OSOM sells spare parts online, and the phone may be repaired without special tools. The company is also considering launching a custom ROM community for the Saga.
OSOM’s future is unknown. Keats teased wearables and the automotive arena as topics of interest. Neither sounded like an announcement, but he did comment on autos. Keats has never been satisfied with how cars and cellphones interact, but addressing this would require an automotive partner.
The former @essential team that brought you the PH1 was sooooo close to launching Project GEM! We promise to keep these conceptual "gems" alive in the future. ? #osom2021@OSOMKeats @wolfgangjr @davee5 @gareoke @nick_franco @andyfouche @squaretobehip @hoss_vw @roncheung00 pic.twitter.com/J5bFmHBdCb
— OSOMPrivacy (@OsomPrivacy) December 10, 2021
Project GEM was interesting for future and past devices. The Essential phone nearly finished, but OSOM couldn’t finish it. Keats is concerned in distinctive form aspects.
Despite this Q&A, many questions remain about OSOM and whether the Saga will compete with Nothing and OnePlus. Q1 launch is still on pace, so expect to hear more about the device this year. The phone is available for pre-order via Solana Mobile’s website, but not Best Buy or Amazon. Keats stated the company doesn’t work with carriers.