Meet Blackphone, an encrypted Android handset as secure as Fort Knox
24th Feb 2014 | 23:00
For the price of paid subscriptions though
Dubbed the Blackphone, it's an unassuming 4.7-inch Android smartphone. Geeksphone hasn't divulged the exact resolution of the screen but its been listed as an HD IPS display.
Android users will also find the same specs they've come to expect on handsets including a 2GHz quad-qore CPU backed up by 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, LTE, HSPA+ and a 8-megapixel camera.
But underneath this glossy screen Silent Circle, a security and encryption software developer, has done some serious Android OS tweaking to secure it into a new platform called "PrivatOS."
Digital Fort Knox
With a mix of secure applications and Android modifications, PrivatOS gives users more insight and control over what third-party applications are doing with their data.
Silent Circle's solutions drill down to replacing some of the basic communication apps to offer encrypted VoIP calls and silent texting. Meanwhile, the stock Android app has been replaced with Silent Contacts to block apps from scrubbing your virtual phonebook.
Additionally the Blackphone comes with SpiderOak, a plan for 5GB of "zero-knowledge encrypted data backup." Users will also be able search their musings on Google and Bing with the Disconnect search provider, which routes internet queries through an anonymous VPN client.
The bottom-line fees
However, in order for Silent Circle's applications to provide all this peer-to-peer encryption goodness, both devices receiving and sending information need to be enrolled in the service. Even the Blackphone itself comes with two years of service for all the encrypted apps.
For everyone else not using a Blackphone, the software company has the encrypted apps available for download for iOS and Android devices that come with paid subscriptions. Blackphone buyers are given three additional one-year licenses to Silent Circle's security suite they can hand out to their friends.
Once the terms are up, Silent Circle users can continue paying to use the suite for $10 (about £6/AU$11) a month, buy a Blackphone themselves, or go back to regular phone calls and text messages.
Of course the Blackphone can also cal unsecured connections, such as ordering a pizza or speaking to those not enrolled in Silent Circle's secure network.
You can order the Blackphone today for $629 (about £377/AU$ 695). Look for it to ship in June.
- For a little more security, the Samsung Galaxy S5 is the latest phone to have a fingerprint scanner.