Last month we learned that two companies, Geeksphone and Silent Circle, have been working on a smartphone that has more emphasis on privacy and security. This device called Blackphone is designed for people who uses their phone to make calls, send messages, and access the Internet yet don’t like the idea of government agencies spying on them.
Blackphone is now available for pre-order at $629 from the company website and is expected to ship out this coming June.
This device runs on an operating system that is based on Android called PrivatOS. This is a more secure version of the popular platform that comes with a firewall, remote wipe capabilities, custom apps developed by Silent Circle such as Silent Phone, Silent Text, and Silent Contacts.
Here’s a comparison between Android and PrivatOS in terms of privacy and security.
- Search: Trackable
- Bundled apps: Many, with privacy disabled by default
- Wi-Fi usage: Always on for geo-location and user tracking
- App permissions: All or nothing
- Communication tools: Traceable dialer, SMS, MMS browse. Vulnerable to spoofed cell networks and Wi-Fi.
- Updates: Supplied infrequently after carrier blessing
- Remote Wipe & Anti-Theft: Requires centralized cloud account
- Business model: Personal data mining for tracking and marketing
- Search: Anonymous
- Bundled apps: Few, all privacy enabled
- Wi-Fi usage: Smart disabling of all Wi-Fi except trusted hotspots
- App permissions: Fine grained control in single interface
- Communication tools: Private calls, texting, video chats, file exchange up to 100MB, browsing, and conference calls.
- Updates: Frequent secure updates direct from Blackphone
- Emote wipe & Anti-Theft: Anonymous
- Business model: Delivers privacy as a premium feature
Every order of Blackphone already comes with two years worth of free subscription to the security apps included with the deivce. These security apps such as Silent Phone and Silent text can also be downloaded for free for other Android and iOS devices however there is a monthly subscription fee involved for its use.
Speaking of security, the encrypted cal and encrypted text feature only works if the person you are calling to or sending a text message to also has Silent Circle services running on their device. Every Blackphone purchase comes with a 1 year subscription of codes which you can give out to up to three contacts which you usually communicate with.
Blackphone targets business and even government customers who want a more secure means of communications. This does not mean though that the ordinary individual could not get it too.
- CPU: 2 GHz quadocore SoC
- Display: 4.7-inch HD IPS
- LTE: Yes
- HSPA+: Yes
- Wi-Fi: 802.11n
- Bluetooth: 4.0
- Cameras: High quality front (>8MP with flash) and rear
- Storage: 16GB on-board
- Others: GPS, other sensors