Mobile Devices

February 26, 2014

Blackphone is Now Available for Consumers

When Edward Snowden disclosed evidence that the NSA was tapping the mobile phones of European leaders, it left no doubt the agency could access anyone's mobile device and intercept communications. While the technology is useful to catch terrorists and other criminals, the idea of having our personal mobile communication devices tapped at will is disconcerting.

Since Snowden’s news broke, the market has seen a rise in new solutions to give individual users more control over their privacy and security. One of the most recognized brands in this new field is the Blackphone, which just launched at the Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona.

Blackphone is the result of the collaboration between Geeksphone, a company specializing in the development, promotion and commercialization of "open source" mobile telephony solutions, and Silent Circle, a global encrypted communications service with a platform for encrypted voice, video, text and file transfer on mobile devices via a secure, proprietary network, software and mobile apps.

The phone is designed to provide multiple options depending on the user's needs. This includes a combination of operating systems and applications with security and privacy tools for anyone who wants the option of protecting their privacy from unauthorized access.

The Blackphone PrivatOS is built on the Android platform with a full suite of privacy-enabled applications for at least two years of usage. The applications are provided by Silent Circle and its suite of security solutions including Silent Phone, Silent Text, and Silent Contacts; anonymous search, private browsing, and VPN from disconnect; and secure cloud file storage from SpiderOak.

The specs for the phone are:

  • 2 GHz quad-core SoC
  • 4.7-inch HD IPS screen
  • LTE, HSPA+
  • 2GB DDR3 RAM, 16GB of storage
  • 8MP primary camera with flash and 1.3MP front camera
  • Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11n Wi-Fi, GPS, and more

According to the company, the specifications of the phones are subject to change.

The phones are already in use in government and enterprise accounts around the world providing secure file transfer; secure voice, video, conferencing and text communications; safe Wi-Fi usage only through trusted hotspots; remote wipe and kill; and other options and solutions.

"We wanted to deliver not just the best privacy, but the best total package. Blackphone offers unprecedented value in a turnkey secure communications platform, and it's easy enough to use that anyone who's used a smartphone before will feel right at home as soon as they turn it on," said Toby Weir-Jones, SGP Technologies' managing director. 

The phone is available for pre-order for individual customers and enterprises as an unlocked device with a starting price of $629. The phone will also be available through some carriers in some European regions with partnerships with KPN Mobile and others. 

Edited by Alisen Downey

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