Reading any tech news source will get you daily horror stories of hacks, viruses, compromised data, backdoor loopholes, and information breaches. These are usually compounded with two opposing groups yelling on the Internet. The first will scream that all hell has broken loose and doom is upon us, as our deepest secrets are spilled to the streets. The other responds, castigating the ones they label as the “paranoid masses” to be uninformed victims of FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) tactics. Then there is a third group. The rational one. The one that understands that the ifs, buts, and maybes are irrelevant.
The security of your data should never come with a qualifier. Nor should it be something you need to keep worrying about; wondering if the necessary steps were taken. Is that email password strong enough? Is the lockscreen pattern complex enough? Were the newest security patches installed? Was that guy on Twitter serious when he said all our phones are at risk? No matter the online hysteria, threats do exist, and they should be acknowledged and and respected. Privacy should be a given, and being told that a new virus only affects 0.000001% of all users is hardly comforting to the affected. Few companies practice default security, like Silent Circle. Last year they launched an uncompromising product known as Blackphone. This smartphone is an Android device bundled with security features and services that worked straight out of the box as part of their aptly called “Silent OS”. This September, Silent Circle is releasing the newest version of the well received and reviewed model: the Blackphone 2.
“Silent Circle exists to keep conversations between employees, customers, and partners private. The Silent Circle Enterprise Privacy Platform offers devices, software, and services all working together to keep you and your business safe and secure.”
The new phone is an all around improvement with bumps, specs features and software, not to mention it’s now quite an attractive piece of hardware. First, the bits and pieces:
BLACKPHONE 2 SPECS:
- Dimensions: 7.9 x 76.4 x 152.4mm
- Weight: 164.9gm
- Operating System: Silent OS, based on Android with direct OTA updates
- Chipset: Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 615, 1.7GHz Octa-core
- Display: 5.5” Full HD IPS, Gorilla® Glass 3 screen
- Storage: 32GB internal; plus up to 128GB microSDXC
- RAM: 3GB LPDDR3
- Battery: 3060 mAh with Qualcomm® Quick Charge™ 2.0
- Cameras: 13MP AF BSI rear with flash 5MP FF front
- Connectivity: Bluetooth® 4.0LE; Wi-Fi™ 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Dual-band 2.4/5.0GHz
- Charge/data Port: microUSB 2.0
Solid specs are always welcome, as is the inclusion of expandable SD storage, but it’s the software that really shines here. Silent OS is based on Android but improves on it with a number of encryption and security services. There is no unnecessary bloatware, or carrier branded apps eating up your precious storage. Just a fixation on user privacy. One of the most interesting being “Spaces”. This creates up to 4 individual virtual phone profiles on one device. One can be work, another for personal use, and so on. These “spaces” are sandboxed, so no data is transferred between them. Each one can be set up and customized as you wish. Next, Silent Phone provides encryption for phone and video calling while Silent Text does the same for texting while also allowing you to create self-destructing messages, attachments (up to 100MB) and voice memos. Silent Phone and Silent Text are also available as separate apps for Android and iOS. The company has also provided individual apps permissions allowing users to pick and choose what apps have access to, instead of the current all-or-nothing approach. Yes, we know that Android 6.0 adds that feature this fall, but the point is, Silent OS implemented this well in advance.
If you still doubt Silent Circle’s commitment to privacy and security; note that they patched the Stagefright exploit on their devices soon after it was discovered. Long before many other OEMs bothered to address it under the pressure of the media and angered users, months later. More of this evident when looking at your options for devices supported by Android for Work. For companies looking for “ elevated security and uncompromising privacy“ Silent Circle’s device is only one of two that meet the high standard.
Along with improvements to hardware and their own services, Silent Circle also addressed a user concern and will be adding the official Google Play Store to the OS, providing access to the entire plethora of Android apps, games and media while still maintaining a secure hub for all your data and communication.
While some may say that their phones are secure enough with a password or a pattern, they forget something crucial. Not only are those things flawed on their own, but many users forget or simply don’t bother to set them up at all. As someone smarter than myself said:
“There are a lot of people who don’t think privacy matters. Until it does” – Someone smarter.
With Blackphone you don’t need to think or worry. Privacy is there by default. As it should be.
You can pre-order Silent Circle’s Blackphone 2 starting today with shipping starting in September. There is no official word on pricing (pre-ordering puts you in touch with Sales) but rumors point to a price comparable to the first Blackphone device.
So who is thinking of picking one of these up or incorporating them into your business? Let us know in the comments or on any of the privacy-agnostic social media sites.