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Solana Mobile: The alpha on SMS with its lead engineer
“I've been doing software engineering for almost 20 years now,” says Steven Laver. “And in that time, I've worked on a lot of mobile devices and consumer electronics. But it's been a long time since I was this excited about building something like the Solana Mobile Stack.”
He’s right to be excited — Laver is the Mobile Engineering Lead at Solana Labs, which means he’s been working on Solana Mobile Stack (or SMS) in secret for months. And now, it’s time to share what this innovative technology actually does.
Laver on stage at the Solana Mobile reveal event, June 24, 2022. Photo by Peter Garritano.
To understand the Solana Mobile Stack, you have to understand how difficult it is to use crypto on mobile, Laver says. “When you want to use a dApp, you open up your wallet, you open up that little embedded web browser, you type in the address of the dApp you want to go to, and once you're there, then you can use it kind of like you could on with the wallet adapter on your desktop,” he explains. “But still you're trying to use a dApp that may not have been designed to render well on the mobile web, and then you're trying to use it within a limited purpose web browser within your wallet.”
The solution that Laver and the skunkworks team came up with was a series of four innovations meant to streamline web3 on mobile devices. One, the mobile wallet adapter, “can bring a really high quality experience that is very much like users have come to expect in terms of ease of use on the desktop, but we can do that on mobile as well.”
The Solana Mobile Stack is also built with security in mind. The Seed Vault takes advantage of the deeply-built security element in phones, giving people a key storage option between software custody and a hardware wallet. “We're taking all of the really secure processing — which requires interacting with your private keys — and moving it into this special-purpose environment, which is really built with security in mind,” Laver says.
The innovative Solana Pay protocol will also be built into SMS, allowing users to make frictionless payments. “Let's say a merchant were to present a QR code — or even better, an NFC terminal for a tap — users can be assured that when the merchant accepts a loan to pay, they can take their phone and use it just as they would any other payment mechanism,” Laver explains.
The fourth innovation will turbocharge adoption — a decentralized dApp store that appears alongside standard app marketplaces. The dApp store is not meant to replace the other apps on a phone, Laver says, but rather be “a place where users can go to find really, really well-focused web3 content that might not be able to be listed in the other app stores.”
Anatoly Yakovenko holding Saga, June 24, 2022. Photo by Peter Garritano.
With those four innovations, the Solana Mobile team hopes to kickstart a whole new ecosystem and inspire creators to build web3 experiences that weren’t possible before. “I've been doing engineering for a long time now, and I'm constantly amazed by the great new ideas that people are still coming up with whenever presented with a new platform,” he says. “So giving people this new platform to be creative on is what I’m most excited about.”
The Solana Mobile Stack SDK is available now — and the Solana Foundation has created a grant fund to support mobile-first projects. SMS will be shipping first on Saga, a premium device built by OSOM, which is coming Q1 2023.
It’s time for crypto on the go.
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Here's what's new this month:
- Sign up for presales for Breakpoint, the annual celebration of the Solana ecosystem in Lisbon this November.
- Neo Fairies launched a new entertainment DAO on Solana.
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