With all the talk about spying by government agencies over the past year, SGP Technologies’ latest Blackphone update may turn some heads. The company is set to roll out an update to PrivatOS, its customized, secure operating system, in early 2015, as well as a secure app store.
Launched in March, the Blackphone smartphone was developed with user privacy in mind. PrivatOS is built on Android KitKat. The next version of PrivatOS will feature something called Spaces.
Spaces lets users create separate self-contained areas for apps, data and accounts all on the same device. Essentially, the feature lets users separate work life from professional life and designate parents-only spaces and kid-friendly zones, or any other “spaces” that make their mobile lives easier.
With the launch of the updated PrivatOS also comes Silent Space, which is featured by default. Silent Space includes what Blackphone is calling a Silent Suite of apps for encrypted communication, the Blackphone app store and a bundle of pre-loaded privacy apps.
The Blackphone app store, which the company bills as the first in the world to focus solely on privacy-focused applications, will feature curated apps selected as the “most secure privacy-optimized apps on the market.”
"The addition of Spaces and the Blackphone app store is the most significant update to PrivatOS since its inception and is a real 'game changer' for the brand, further highlighting our commitment to placing privacy back into the hands of the user,” said Toby Weir-Jones, CEO of Blackphone.
Blackphone developed Silent Space in partnership with developer Graphite Software. Alec Main, CEO of Graphite Software called Blackphone “the only device that places privacy above everything else.”
A Niche Market
We caught up with Roger Entner, principal analyst at Recon Analytics, to get his take on the new app store. He told us when it comes to apps that don’t spy on users, you have to define what spying is. For example, if you download a free app then you are not paying for the product -- you are the product.
“The question is how does the app developer make money? Are they making money through the app sales or are they fully disclosing what they do with the data they collect about you?” Entner asked. "Spying is if somebody takes your information without telling you, without disclosing it, and provides it to other parties. With disclosure, you made a bargain. In exchange for the free app you have become a product and you are fine with it.”
As Entner sees it, many Americans say they value their privacy but they engage in activities that suggest otherwise, like downloading free apps and joining social media networks where their privacy is limited. For that reason, he thinks there is a small market for Blackphone.
“It’s more of a niche market for people who walk the talk not talk the talk,” Entner said. “But if this is accessible in countries that use information they can collect to suppress people that might be a much better value and might be more appealing.”
Posted: 2014-12-10 @ 8:10pm PT
Great approach for those who do not want their personal data sold to the highest bidder. Well done.