Geneva, Switzerland-based Silent Circle today released the second generation of its privacy-focused smartphone, the Blackphone 2. Built on Silent OS, a version of Android, the device is available globally for $799.
Designed to offer enterprise users "privacy without compromise," the Blackphone 2 comes with full device encryption and a built-in Security Center that lets users manage their privacy and security preferences. It also provides the ability to create separate, secure environments on the same device for different uses, including business, personal and social applications.
The Blackphone 2 is one component of Silent Circle's Enterprise Privacy Platform, which the company unveiled earlier this year at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The platform of privacy-protecting devices, software and services reflects the three-year-old firm's plans for its second stage of growth, according to Bill Conner, the firm's president and CEO.
Fine-Tuning for App Permissions
Conner called the launch of the Blackphone 2 a "game changer for the mobile sector and for the way we provide individual and enterprise privacy."
The phone's Security Center lets users fine-tune permissions for individual apps as well as the data those apps can access. In his review of the device, Forbes staff writer Thomas Fox-Brewster noted, "I can tell Facebook to stop accessing my contacts or have the phone ask me when Zuckerberg's software wants to know more about my social life."
The Blackphone 2 also comes pre-loaded with Silent Circle's Silent Phone private communication app. That app provides encryption for secure voice calls, conference calls, video-conferencing, texting and file transfers.
Powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor, the Blackphone 2 features 32 GB of internal storage and 3 GB of RAM. It also comes with a 5.5-inch Gorilla Glass display, 13-megapixel rear camera, 5-megapixel front camera, a 3060 mAh quick-charging Qualcomm battery and support for Wi-Fi and 4.0 LE Bluetooth.
With support for Google's Android for Work program and the Play Store, the Blackphone 2 is also certified by several mobile device management systems, including MobileIron, Citrix, Good and SOTI. Weighing in at just under 165 grams, the phone measures 152.44 millimeters in thickness. It's available in an unlocked version only, which means buyers will need a Nano SIM to activate the device with the GSM-based service providers of their choice.
The Blackphone 2 is a "highly disruptive product," said Silent Circle co-founder and chairman Mike Janke. "It is not about candy-colors, emoji keyboards, curved screens or 'the next big thing.' It's about security, privacy and protecting your digital life, plain and simple," he added.
Silent Circle released its first Blackphone in a joint venture -- called SGP Technologies -- with Geeksphone last June. The company also has plans to release the Blackphone+, "the world's first privacy-focused tablet," later this year.