Silent Circle Announces its Security-first Blackphone 2 Along With 7-inch Blackphone+ Tablet
Silent Circle, an encrypted communications firm, today announced a second-generation of its snoop-resistant Blackphone along with a Blackphone+ tablet. Designed to protect users from hackers and eavesdropping government agencies, the Blackphone 2 will come with a faster processor, more memory, better battery life and a bigger display.
The phone features a more premium look and feel than its predecessor, with an all-glass front and rear. It has 5.5-inch screen with a 1,920×1,080-pixel resolution, a 64-bit octa-core processor, 3GB of RAM, and a non-removable quick-charging 3,060mAh battery. The screen of the device is protected by Gorilla Glass 3, while the storage is expandable through a microSD port.
In addition, the Blackphone 2 is also integrated with Citrix’s Mobile Device Management to enhance the user experience on BYO or corporate devices, the company said at the Mobile World Congress show.
Silent Circle’s new chief executive, Bill Conner touted the phone “sexy and safe,” which he said should be priced at the same as the $649 first-generation product.
The company, however, didn’t reveal much details about the tablet except saying it’ll have a 7-inch screen and use a Qualcomm processor. Branded as “the world’s first privacy focused tablet,” Blackphone+ is specifically designed for the heavier-duty computing tasks that people might use a laptop for these days.
In today’s digital world, privacy and security are becoming an increasingly worrisome issues for individuals and enterprise alike. Following the Sony Pictures network hack attack, the privacy protection company is now committed to expand its products businesses to refocus on selling encrypted mobile hardware and software to enterprises. And the Blackphone 2 is its first attempt in this regard.
“The prosumer market has been our primary market up until now but we’re making a huge push into enterprise,” says CTO Jon Callas. “…we’re doing what we’re doing with Blackphone [hardware]… but in an organization you’re going to have a wide mix of devices.”
Blackphone was released last January as a joint venture between Silent Circle and Spanish smartphone maker Geeksphone. But last week Silent Circle announced it had successfully scored $50 million in new funding and bought out that partner’s stake.
The Blackphone has a number of in-built security-focused features, the most notable of those include the Silent Circle’s software for encrypted voice and video chats, text messaging and contacts management; and a software product called Silent Meeting for encrypted conference calls that involve multiple people.
Blackphone runs on a hardened Android fork, called PrivatOS, which is also compatible with Android and iOS devices. The company has also promised to release an update to its OS next week that would add a feature called ‘Spaces’ to isolates work and personal activities on the phone by forming separate virtual-machine compartments.
The company is also working on the peer-to-peer communication technology that it believes would help address users’ privacy concerns regarding the email system.
The security-first Blackphone 2 will hit shelves in July of 2015 and the Blackphone+ in the fall.