Blackphone

Mobile World CongressAfter making a healthy splash following its announcement, the Blackphone is ready to preorder for $629 and will be shipping in June. The Blackphone runs a version of Android they're calling PrivatOS, which, as the name suggests, aims to provide users with the utmost security and privacy.

From a pure specs standpoint, the Blackphone packs a 4.7" HD IPS screen, 2 GHz quad-core CPU, 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB storage, an 8 megapixel camera with flash, and LTE/HSPA+ connectivity. We're all a bit more conscious of privacy after the Snowden leaks, though it's unrealistic to expect the Blackphone will suddenly make you impervious to NSA monitoring. We're going to hunt one of these handsets down at Mobile World Congress and get a look for ourselves.

Anyone interested in getting a Blackphone can get preordering over here, or you can check out their promo video for a full run-down. Any takers?

 
There are 46 comments

This with Dolphin Zero.... :-\

the big print giveth, the small print taketh

Snowden didn't leak anything, a nsa employee gave him the key.

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opalma says:

no offence, but if it build over android, there is no security guarantee on device

MERCDROID says:

No offense, but if you're using any device connected to the Internet, there is no guarantee of security. Period.

ACADM says:

Well hopefully things like this will help push Google in a more security conscious direction, and especially when it comes to privacy and encryption.

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jtc276 says:

Only $300 too expensive. And for what? Security? Yeah. I don't think so.

A895 says:

Don't let Google spoil you. This is an actual real life cost of a phone by a small company. I don't know why everyone thinks all phones should be $350.

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yacoby54 says:

Real life cost? Price out the parts and you will get a real life cost

reeper55 says:

If you're foolish enough to think that cost of parts sets the bar for pricing then you have no clue at all how businesses operate!

Posted via Android Central App on my Republic Wireless Moto X

A895 says:

Exactly this!

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A895 says:

So companies shouldn't make any money?

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Robbzilla says:

You have to pay for the labor to put it together, the licensing to MS & Apple, the R&D, and you still have to try to make a profit.

You should never try to start a business. You'd be bankrupt within a month.

jtc276 says:

Oh, I understand that. But the specs are absolutely nothing special at all, and the design is utterly uninspiring. This company pretending like their software features are worth the premium price you're paying is ridiculous. Especially considering they more than likely don't work.

uh60james says:

That top bezel, wow....

quailallstar says:

Looks like Android ported onto an IOS iPhone 4 :/ from the front picture...

gordongr says:

I think that's for storing the tin foil hat

MERCDROID says:

lol

DannyAves says:

Just buy a BlackBerry, it was designed from the ground up with security in mind, they have a proven track record with security, so why buy an Android? If your house is made of straw what good is a 6-inch thick steel door?

Howard Sylve says:

You my friend couldn't be anymore correct.

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fuzzylumpkin says:

Ever played rust? lol

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Simon Sage says:

+1

Robbzilla says:

Except that RIM has given out the encryption keys to certain governments.

hmmm says:

If security is that much of a concern you wouldn't even be using a smartphone.

MERCDROID says:

This is spot on.

udazavlanje says:

+1

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makie says:

I kinda like it though! You get a vpn included etc..

Blackberry is kinda safe, but far away from anonymous.

I do like to surf the internet without letting "them" mine my data!

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mech1164 says:

It's not perfect and that's fine by me. It looks a heck of a lot better than those leaks of the S5. Wouldn't mind having it if I could get it. Now where did I put that spare grand? Oh yeah it's in my other pocket I threw in the disposal, oh well.:-)

s2by10 says:

Regardless of it's security compared to BlackBerry, it's good to see an Android device getting into the security game. Don't forget this is the first of its kind.

benurd says:

I guess there's a market for people who need this from a smartphone.

Posted via my oldie but goodie Nexii 4 using the Android Central App

slapshot486 says:

Do they have the phone in silver, white or gold?

:-P

ACADM says:

That phone looks a lot smarter than a lot of the 'normal' Android phones, and if you need this then you can obviously afford it.

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TheNexxuvas says:

I've said it before and I'll say it again...It's a Trap!

rudyy50 says:

Despite the naysayers, I like having the option.
Every one of us is interested in security to one degree or another, and not one of us wants our user names, passwords, emails, texts, contacts, or other information to be unprotected.

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warpdrive says:

Security? Haha
Not on this phone, or any blackberry for that matter. And let's face it, nobody here cares.

In order for even a hint of security you would need to build all the parts and the software yourself. The parts are all manufactured by third parties and are far from secure with plenty of vulnerabilities built in. The software even if totally secure with minimal vulnerabilities, would still require you to speak and text /email with another person that at least is using the same software if not the same phone itself.

Let's face it, nobody cares. Not even some of you who clearly work in this industry and have business secrets that should be kept hidden.

We all would like a secure communications network, but not even our governments want that or will give it to us. And God help you if you're in the security field trying to secure computers or phones ... You are now the enemy of the state.

Here is my 2 points :
This weekend it was stated that iphones are extremely unsecure in local US news papers. Yet infact, it has been known since the Der Spegal release (based on Snowden documents) back in December that the NSA has a 100 % success rate to fully access the phones hardware including all data and even turning on your wifi and cameras while you have them turned off. This lack of security leaves us more vulnerable and less secure from criminals.
If people cared about security, Apple
would have fixed this back in December. Yet who cares to even write about it here in the states till now? When is an iPhone going to be fully secure so that people won't be violated by illegal hacking conducted by non government agencies (criminals).
But since Apple don't care, and the public enjoys when Target or Adobe gets hacked, why should our governments care if we keep getting hacked?

Finally, my last point is that nobody cares here in the cell phone community about security. Just how many of you use or are willing to use red phone, text secure, or Omg a tor browser instead of Chrome or Dolphin? I'll bet is none of you. After all, you have to have both parties use such programs, not just yourself for it to work. And then, you are still not fully secure if your phone uses a public network such as AT&T or Verizon. Your data as encrypted as can be will still be collected and probably flagged for viewing due to it being encrypted.

Wake up people of the US. Our government has harmed our software and hardware industries tremendously. Companies world wide don't want to use our products anymore due to the vulnerabilities to hacking. Boeing lost a major contract already, Dell as well. I'm sure there are others that I'm unaware of. Do you want your job in jeopardy as well? SMH, I forgot I'm talking to sheep.

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navyet3 says:

I actually use Silent Circle's app suites for my family's phones. And they work pretty good. Considering how much in formation is passed on to the government, the less I give them the better. And it isn't about whether we have something to hide. It is about or privacy to have conversations that just stay between us. That is really what it is all about.

A lot of people will talk about how it is built on Android and how much more secure Blackberry's are. Yes, Blackberry is super secure on the email side when you are using Blackberry Enterprise server. But, if you are just the average person sending out emails and texts, there isn't that much security involved. So in reality the same percentage of hacking that applies to Android really applies to Blackberry as well. There is only so much that the phones themselves can do without utilizing something that handles the encryption for them.

That is what makes the Blackphone such a unique device. It handles those high level encryptions and does it without the Government or any other individual being able to get in and get your information, data or conversations. I like having the feeling and knowledge that the conversations between me and my family is secure and just between us.

I'm not too worried about browsing the internet. Because I'm not looking at anything worth stealing, but it is nice to see that a company is thinking about that aspect and helping those who want that level and type of security.

Is $600 and change too much to pay for? Nah. One, they have to make money. Remember, they aren't doing this for practice. Two, you pay for what you get. So if you want a cheap phone, go get that. just remember that a cheap phone is exactly that...cheap. But if you want security and peace of mind is a relatively high end phone, then I think the price is right on the money. Especially since it is fully unlocked!

makie says:

+1

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JR A says:

Everything spot on.

Posted via Telepathy, Android version 88.85.50 "Carne Asada"

warpdrive says:

Navyet3, you do know that BlackBerry email servers have been found to be totally unsecure right? Or maybe it's time to read our watch the news from countries other then the US fire information about just how secure our software and hardware really is.

Maybe you should watch this video from back in December so you can realize just how unsecure you and your family really are (this is part 2, part 1 can be also found on YouTube if needed).....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vILAlhwUgIU&feature=youtube_gdata_player

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navyet3 says:

warpdrive,

That is an interesting video. I'm not a big fan of Blackberry, but they do have some good measures in place. But just like everything else, we are all unsecure at some point in time. That is what makes this phone so unique. By using peer to peer technology and a whole bunch of other stuff, it at least gives us some form of a fighting chance to stay secure. And that is what I think is really the big thing here. Where as before we had nothing, and now at least we have SOMETHING!

warpdrive says:

Navyet3,

While I do agree that for the most part we now have something to help secure us from prying eyes with the black phone. Do not assume that it will help as it will need FCC approval in order to be marketed in the US, thus there will be no guaranty that some form of Spyware is not added prior to release.

Next, how are you going to use it? On a public isp with a router or using a public cell phone service? Both are far from secure and both have proven to be dangerous when using a computer or cellphone.

As for BlackBerry, while this is only for days up to 2012, try this link to show you just how unsecure you are at all times with enterprise...
http://www.cvedetails.com/vulnerability-list/vendor_id-2205/product_id-6...

Anyway, the only way we will be secure is to change the laws. Until then, I hope you and your family a wonderful unsecure day. :-)

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Make your device as "private" as you like but the carriers will cooperate fully with the government to provide any information they request.

warpdrive says:

Not only that unicorn, the NSA has also taken such information behind the backs of world wide mobile carriers and software companies without such permission or thier knowledge. It's tyranny my friend.
When are we going to wake up and take a stand?

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patrixl says:

I'm interested in this. This isn't meant to be a 100% NSA-proof smartphone, not the whole world revolves around the NSA!!! Geez. What would matter most to me on this phone has nothing to do with the NSA...

The addition of

- VPNs
- anti-tracking (all these stores and shopping malls tracking customers with Wifi and Bluetooth, it's coming, many companies are getting into this market!)
- PERMISSIONS MANAGER (may or may not be on par with CyanogenMod's, time will tell)
- no bloat (and if you consider their own software bloat, then don't buy the phone in the first place since that software and their services is a big reason to buy it)
- high-end specs

Makes it quite appealing. I wonder if their email client supports PGP natively, that would be awesome.

And no, for the record, I have "nothing to hide", but I think it's important as individuals and citizens of this world (not just the USA) to have the right to some privacy, to control what the apps we choose to install can and cannot do, to push back against the surveillance or tracking, not just stand back and watch our private lives erode.

Again it's barely about the NSA, but hey, if I install Angry Birds (random example), I'd like to be able to block it from scanning my contacts, or if I install the latest facebook update it'd be nice if I could block that scary-sounding "add/remove events from calendar *and send emails to recipients without the user's knowledge*". I'm sure Facebook isn't using it for nefarious purposes. Or are they? There's no way to know. It'd be nice having that control.

Blackphone may or may not be the best answer, but it's a GOOD thing that they are trying to address this, these are real issues in our current world, and we can't hide or be afraid of it, IMO.

warpdrive says:

I could not have said it better then you.
To be honest, I'm thinking that this might be my next phone for the same reasons.

But on unsecure wireless? Do you think the US government would allow a device to be sold that they can't Crack the encryption? (or be given the keys)

.... Just a thought.

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patrixl says:

Thanks warpdrive.. Way too many naysayers, I guess some don't like when something new or different or out of the beaten path is being tried! I'd like to have them try their hand at creating something useful and trying to solve real problems (and yes, I run a company and am trying to create solutions that solve real-world problems, so don't turn that back on me lol).

Either way, even if it's on unsecure wireless, whether the US Govt can crack it or not yes they can collect metadata.. Again.. who cares? If I can prevent random app #53 from stealing my contacts or sending SMS unbeknownst to me, then it's an improvement over the latest Galaxy or One smartphone (though I love my One lol). It's an improvement over no attempt at all at gaining back some security and privacy.

Now if only they had made it waterproof... (I live in Japan, many smartphones are waterproof here, I miss that feature on my One :( )

warpdrive says:

Patrixl,

To be honest based on your last reply, I'm convinced that this phone was made for you and the company you run or work for. And since such a phone uses software and a service that basically redesigns the Internet across a more secure inferstucture, you and your coworkers will be more secure... If you follow some safe guidelines (don't install unsafe apps such as Facebook, Twitter, and others that have built in vulnerabilities for the NSA or criminals to use)

The reason I keep bring up the NSA is not because this phone should be NSA proof, but because the agency insists that our computers, work servers, and cellphones should be left vulnerable to spying (hacking). It's because such vulnerabilities will be taken advantage of by criminals.

It's this blatant disregard for your or your working environment's safety that you should be upset about. So if it is not fully NSA proof, then criminals will attack what ever vulnerabilities are left in, and you will still be able to be hacked. That is my point.

With this said, I do hope that others will investigate if this phone not only can do as it claims over unsecure lines, but prevent hacking by criminals who will clearly take advantage of any flaws or vulnerabilities that the NSA insists that have to remain or be added. I also hope that more people will take personal privacy and security seriously.

Also, this phone seems to be marketed or sold only in the US at this stage of the game. So I'm not sure if you will be able to buy it unless they make it for your country in the future. Pre-orders start now, but not available until the summer.
If anything, I hope you get a chance to try such a phone. It could be the beginning of a truly secure way of telephony.

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