Not so Osom: Ex-Essential employee’s OV1 phone will now be sold by Solana to help crypto ‘go mobile’

It's now called the Saga, offer flagship specs, and disappoint everyone who was excited for the OV1.

One of the most interesting stories I’ve been covering on Matridox is the evolution of a smartphone called the OV1. It’s from a company called Osom which was formed by ex-Essential engineers and designers after that company shut down, which meant a sort of spiritual successor to the original Essential Phone was on the way (minus all the icky stuff). All of Osom’s hints and teases for the OV1 indicated a device like that was on the way, and that was exciting given how much hype there was for the original PH-1, yet nothing could’ve prepared us for what the phone eventually became: a crypto phone.

Seemingly out of nowhere, Osom has announced a partnership with Solana, a blockchain company who will be the new parent company of the OV1. Speaking of which, it’s not the OV1 anymore – it’s the Saga, and it’ll focus on helping Web3, NFTs, and cryptocurrency “go mobile.”

During a press conference in New York City, Osom detailed the Saga and revealed all of its specs, which include a 6.67-inch OLED 120Hz display, a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, 12GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage. It’ll feature a 50MP rear camera paired with a 12MP ultra-wide lens, and the battery is sized at 4,100mAh.

Of course, it isn’t the specs that matter on this device – it’s the blockchain. The Saga will run on a custom fork of Android that will include a store loaded with decentralized applications, called the Solana Mobile Stack, making it easier to access digital goods based on the blockchain. Exactly how it’ll all work and tie into a cohesive experience is unclear, and it’s also unclear why Osom took such a hard pivot into the world of crypto.

In a statement to The Verge, Osom CEO Jason Keats said the company “is incredibly excited to partner with Solana in building the Saga” and that “The world needs novel hardware companies to support the future that is Web3. Building out an ecosystem that looks to the future without being burdened by past legacy ecosystems is hugely exciting.”

That doesn’t answer the question of when the decision was made to pivot from building a privacy-focused Android phone for average consumers to appeasing the Web3 world. Up until yesterday during the conference, we were under the impression that a new Samsung/OnePlus/Google competitor was sprouting, and now it looks like Osom will try to do what HTC failed to do.

Whether they find any success will ultimately have to wait until next year as the Saga isn’t expected to ship until the first quarter of 2023. Preorders are open today for the device, which require a $100 deposit. Oh, and the Saga will cost $1,000, which is exactly the opposite of what the OV1 was supposed to cost.