With the Snowden revelations being a hot topic these days and notions of privacy and security being redefined with new technologies and services every year, even the most jaded tech enthusiast is starting to pay attention to what it means to have privacy when communicating between, friends, family and business.
Two relatively new companies in Spanish phone manufacturer Geeksphone (best known for Firefox OS developer phones) and Silent Circle (known for developing encrypted communications services and headed by a former Navy SEAL) have announced a new joint venture to develop and produce a new take on the secure smartphone in the ‘Blackphone’. While no specific hardware specifications have been confirmed, the companies promise performance on par with current Android flagships.
However, the crux of the announcement is in the software, as both companies are jointly developing a heavily customized Android build that is being referred to as PrivatOS. More than just an overlay, theme or skin, PrivatOS is being developed to allow for making and receiving secure phone calls and messages, transferring and storing documents securely, secure video chats, as well as maintaining strict control over location data while maintaining the familiar aspects of Android. The company did not reveal further details on how it is achieving these goals.
The phone will be sold as an unlocked GSM device that will work with most worldwide networks and will be carrier independent. Blackphone will begin accepting pre-orders for the device beginning February 24 with its official debut set for Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain on the same day. Below, an introductory video on the project.