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Virtual Solana Phone a Hit With Consumers – Are DePIN Smartphones the Future?

Last Updated March 30, 2024 2:12 PM
James Morales
Last Updated March 30, 2024 2:12 PM

Key Takeaways

  • Since launching earlier this month, the virtual crypto phone Aphone has proven a hit with consumers.
  • By using the Aethir Decentralized Physical Infrastructure Network (DePIN), Aphone can run on hardware-constrained devices.
  • DePIN smartphones can help increase Web3 accessibility.

Following the runaway success of the Solana Saga crypto phone, Aphone, a virtual smartphone that runs on a decentralized cloud network was launched on Solana this month. 

Upon its debut on March 7, the first tranche of Aphone access codes sold out in under an hour, suggesting that the concept has significant popular appeal.

Expanding Web3 Access

While the second-generation Solana Saga will retail at roughly half the price of its predecessor, at $500 the device is still out of reach for many consumers.

Even the Solana founder Anatoly Yakovenko has acknowledged that he doesn’t use his Saga as his main phone. But although owning more than one phone might be standard for wealthy businessmen, the same isn’t true for everyone.

“For lots of people who can’t afford the Saga phone in places like Mexico, Brazil and Vietnam,” Aphone lets them access the Web3 ecosystem from any device, explained Aphone CBO William Peckham.

Lowering Hardware Constraints

From an app that can be downloaded even on low-end smartphones, Aphone opens up a virtual operating system from which users can interact with decentralized applications on Solana.

Because the actual computation is handled by Aethir, a Decentralized Physical Infrastructure Network (DePIN), Aphone lets hardware-limited devices run the heavy workloads associated with Web3 gaming and AI.

How Do DePIN Smartphones Work?

Thanks to services like Apple’s iCloud and Microsoft OneDrive, many smartphone users today are used to the idea of storing files on the cloud. 

While this development hasn’t done away with on-device storage entirely, it has reduced the need for manufacturers to add ever-more memory capacity to keep up with people’s growing storage needs.

Although the average smartphone owner might have access to more disk space than they’ll ever need on the cloud, the equivalent can’t be said for processing power.

Now, however, DePINs like Aethir are being used to solve this problem.

Described by the company’s CEO Mark Rydon as a “GPU compute marketplace,” Aethir connects hardware owners with users who need additional processing power in a decentralized network.

Data centers and large enterprises who have processors sitting idle “can contribute their GPU compute to earn rewards.” Meanwhile, “buyers can take advantage of higher availability and lower prices than they might find elsewhere, Rydon explained.

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