Blackphone & Blackphone 2: World’s First Enterprise platform- Quick Review
* Super secure OS
* Bundled with various privacy-focused apps
* Includes subscriptions to several encrypted services
* Capable pair of cameras
* Generic design
* Spotty performance and app compatibility
* Bundled subscriptions expire in a year
* Emphasis on security trumps convenient user experience
Silent Cirlce the master mind behind the high- tech security oriented Blackphone , had recently revealed two new handsets. It claims to be the World’s first enterprise privacy platform. The first version of Blackphone was unveiled last year. It was made by GeeksPhone a Spanish based company. It has been some time since Silent Circle had battled for control. The Blackphone2 unveiled recently carries all the similar privacy features of its predecessor. There is also a privacy focused tablet,Blackphone+ to be released later in 2015. As of now there are no specifications of the tablet.
The masterminds behind Blackphone made a mark with their secure smartphone and its back again this time. Although there are several smartphones that say they are secure, the Blackphone has has gained popularity because of the Silent Circle and PrivatOS. The original Blackphone was a little underpowered in a few ways. But it may not be the case in Blackphone2. The company has made a lot of adjustments under the hood.
Major Upgrades from Blackphone to Blackphone2
|– NVIDIA Tegra 4i Chip||– Added 64 bit processor|
|– 1 GB RAM||– 3 GB RAM|
|– 4.7 inch Display||– 5.5 inch Display|
|– 720 ppi||-1 080 FHD|
|– Costs $649||– Costs $649|
The Blackphone2 is at a big step to build the quality from the original Blackphone. It is very durable and also is light weighted. The display looks a lot better than the original. This sequel is undoubtedly faster than the previous as it is evident from the specs.
The Blackphone makers has announced that the devices are tied to PrivatOS. PrivatOS is an Android based operating system. It combines a suite of apps and stores together into an enterprise privacy platform. With its vision to drive to the second stage of growth, Silent Circle revealed a new service. Silent encrypted calling and texts and Silent Meeting for a secured business conferencing.
Whether it is identity thieves , hackers, marketers or government agencies. Everyone is in the dire need of your personal data. As we go on to spend more and more time online. We are expected to e aware of how much data we produce and the ways to protect the same. Blackphone prioritizes privacy over everything else. That too with smartphones playing the key role to the always connected lifestyle.
And now, the real reason the Blackphone exists: its privacy-focused software. The handset runs a custom fork of Android 4.4.2 KitKat with the name PrivatOS(pronounced private O S). While custom builds usually layer additional features or UI elements on top of what’s already there, PrivatOS does the exact opposite. In fact, it takes away almost everything you’re used to seeing on an Android device. You get only the bare essentials for making calls, sending messages and storing contacts, as well as a calendar, internet browser, calculator, email and camera apps. The sound recorder is almost a luxury, as is the music player and gallery app, which doubles as the video player. That is quite literally the entirety of stock Android apps, meaning there’s no Google integration whatsoever — no app store, no maps, or anything else you might use regularly outside of the basic smartphone functions. But, that’s the whole point of the Blackphone, because a raw device is as secure as it gets.
Blackphone Appearance and Specs
- Security and Privacy first device
- Blackphone comes is black colour (obviously)
- Different types of black plastic make up the body
- Matt effect back panel
- Removable battery
- Outer rim is shiny with silvery flecks throughout
- micro-USB and headphone jack at the top of the edge
- Primary mic at the bottom rim
- Volume rocker and power button on the right side
- Upfront 4.7 inch display with ear piece
- Multi-colour notification LED and front facing camera
- Below the screen are backlit capacitive keys
- At the backside there is the small loudspeaker grill
- White Blackphone logo at the backside
- Also houses a secondary mic and camera at the rear.
- Camera protrudes by 2mm and a flash accompanies it.
- Dimensions measure 141 x 69 x 9mm
- Rounded corners and curve to the back panel
- Weighs 119g
- 1,280 x 720 display
- pixel density of 312.47 ppi
- Runs a custom fork of Android 4.4.2 KitKat with PrivatOS.
- Part of PrivatOS is the bundled suite of security apps, including the Silent Circle encrypted communications
- data network (3G/4G/WiFi
- 5 MP Camera
- 3MP sensor
- quad-core, 2GHz Tegra 4i SoC processor
- 1GB of RAM
- 16 gigs of internal storage
- microSD slot that supports up to 128GB
- dual-band WiFi 802.11b/g/n
- Bluetooth 4.0 LE
- 2,000mAh battery
If you look at the Blackphone purely from a hardware perspective, it’s nothing special. It has LTE, a good set of cameras and acceptable specs, but it’s hardly a poster child for inspired design, and the display could do with being about twice as powerful. As you’ve heard more than a few times already, it’s all about the software. That’s not perfect either, though, with spotty app support and a few performance kinks that need to be ironed out. Then there’s the everyday user experience. I understand you can’t exactly install all of Google’s services as standard and still call the thing secure, but people will inevitably want to use the phone for things other than its basic functions. Ultimately, this has to be at the discretion of the individual user, but anyone that’s not au fait with alternative apps stores and side-loading APKs will struggle.
The Blackphone could do a better job of supporting customers in this regard, without them needing to dig through forums for solutions. Maybe in future iterations of PrivatOS, or other security-centric phones that come to the market, we’ll see a better balance between convenience and privacy. For now, though, the Blackphone is not for the faint of heart. All this being said, you can’t really fault how locked-down it is, and despite the high price tag, you’re essentially getting subsidized subscriptions to some of the best mobile security services, as well as useful bespoke apps like the Security Center permissions manager.
If privacy is important to you, the Blackphone is almost certainly what you’re after in a mobile device. Besides, you don’t have much choice currently. One thing I’m still coming to terms with, however, is the concept of selling peace of mind. With people wanting more control over how their data is handled, it was inevitable that products like the Blackphone would appear.
There’s a fine line between leveraging a mild global hysteria to sell a niche and expensive smartphone, and creating the best possible product to serve a growing market need — and in that sense, PrivatOS and the Blackphone’s bundled apps are likely to satisfy even the most demanding privacy-conscious consumer. I guess it doesn’t really matter either way: Nobody’s forcing anyone to buy a super-secure handset. And, even if the Blackphone is one of a new, shrewd generation of opportunistic ventures in this area, it can’t be blamed for creating the demand.
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