Demand for the Chapter 2 is apparently so high, Solana Mobile hit its seven-day sales goal within the first 24 hours, Raj Gokal, co-founder of Solana and president of Solana Labs, exclusively told TechCrunch.
In the first 24 hours after the phone was announced, Solana Mobile saw over 25,000 preorders, and by the 30-hour mark, it had 30,000 preorders, Gokal said. At those numbers, this new device has already eclipsed 12 months’ worth of sales of Solana’s first handset, Saga.
The new phone will have similar features as its predecessor: It’s based on Android, has a built-in crypto wallet, a Seed Vault and a “dApp store” for decentralized crypto applications. It is initially being offered at $450, less than the $599 the Saga is sold for. Chapter 2 will ship in the first half of 2025, a Solana spokesperson said.
“For developers, Solana Mobile is creating a massive opportunity for crypto app teams looking to incentivize their users,” Gokal said. “It gives them a concentrated distribution channel to die-hard, dedicated users. It allows them to do this without any prohibitive app store fees.”
Gokal added that the device represents what’s possible with crypto, providing value in incentivizing apps to users.
Solana’s first smartphone didn’t see much demand when it was first launched in mid-2023 for $1,000. But the company soon lowered the price to $599 in light of weak demand. YouTuber Marques Brownlee even called Saga the “worst new phone of 2023” and said it was a “bust.”
Initially, it seemed the lackluster sales were because the phone went unnoticed in the crowded smartphone market. But the crypto-savvy crowd’s ears perked up when dog-focused memecoin BONK’s decentralized application (dApp) announced that it was providing 30 million BONK tokens to Saga owners for free. The Saga then sold out almost overnight.
At the time, 30 million BONK tokens were worth more than the cost of the phone, so users basically got the device (or the tokens, depending on how you look at it) for free. Before then, Saga owners received other crypto rewards, like the mint for the Claynosaurz NFT collection, but those promotions didn’t garner as much attention. Following the BONK hype, though, other dApps began offering similar rewards, which resulted in even more people wanting to buy the phone to get their hands on its offered value.
“As the market rebounded in Q4 of last year, the Saga sold out, with the large majority of those sales taking place over just two days in December,” Gokal said. “Since then, we’ve been inundated daily with thousands of requests for more.”
Now Solana is hoping to re-create the same magic with Chapter 2. The Saga genesis token, the non-transferrable NFT that came with every Saga and helped owners redeem rewards, will not be available to owners of the new devices, but the company plans on “building on this experience in Chapter 2,” according to its FAQ.
“Giving back to the community has a snowball effect: As more developers start releasing crypto-incentivized apps to Solana Mobile users, we’ll see even greater adoption,” Gokal said. The Chapter 2 has launched with sponsors, including Backpack, Tensor, Phantom, Solflare, Magic Eden and Drip, which plan to reward owners, he added.
“Chapter 2 is focused on wider distribution, greater accessibility, and uses learnings from the last two years to enable greater flexibility for developers and users,” Gokal said.
The new device has “been in the works” for over a year, Gokal said, as the company wanted to give “complete freedom for crypto developers and users,” by having no restrictions on tokens or NFTs, and no prohibitive fees.