Scared of the NSA? Security-focused Blackphone starts shipping worldwide

With so much focus on the NSA’s apparent jiggery-pokery recently and news outlets continuing to pump out endless articles on matters of mobile phone security, it wouldn’t be surprising if paranoia levels among the general smartphone-using population have risen accordingly, possibly motivating some owners to seek out a new handset with super-strong security features.

That device may have landed in the form of the Blackphone, an intriguing handset born from a joint venture involving global encrypted communications service Silent Circle and mobile phone solutions outfit Geeksphone – the company that created the first Firefox OS hardware.

The phone was announced at the start of the year and made its official debut at MWC 2014.

Updated on 06-30-2014 by Malarie: Added Blackphone ship date information for pre-order customers and future buyers.

Blackphone starts shipping to pre-order customers

After months of waiting, those who pre-ordered the infamous Blackphone will soon receive their new device. The company announced that shipping began on June 30 to pre-order customers worldwide. For those of you who have yet to buy one of these super secure smartphones, the Blackphone will be available for purchase again on the company’s website for $630 unlocked, starting July 14.

Secure, anonymous and private

Described by its makers as “a real no-excuses solution for traveling executives looking to bring-your-own-device, families concerned about personal security, and anyone else who understands the value of maintaining personal privacy rather than giving it away for free,” the Blackphone runs on a special security-oriented version of Android called PrivatOS and comes with a full suite of privacy-enabled apps, including Silent Phone, Silent Text, and Silent Contacts.

Anonymous search, private browsing, and secure cloud file storage are also part of the package, as is a remote-wipe and device recovery tool. Smart disabling of all Wi-Fi except trusted hotspots is possible, too, and the handset also offers secure video chats.

Keep in mind that after the first year of owning the phone, use of the suite and services becomes subscription based, costing $120+ over two years.

It’s all about the software, not the hardware

Specs-wise, the Blackphone features a 4.7-inch HD IPS screen, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage (with no slot for expansion), LTE connectivity, and is powered by a 2GHz quad-core processor. Its primary shooter offers 8-megapixel photos, while the front-based camera sports 1.3 megapixels.

“No longer will the use of a smartphone demand acceptance of unauthorized surveillance, commercial exploitation of activity data, and the loss of privacy, security and fundamental human rights,” the handset’s makers said in a release.

The idea behind the Blackphone is bound to generate much interest among smartphone users concerned about privacy and related issues, with many no doubt keen to see security experts put it through its paces before committing.

Article originally published 02-25-2014

Updates:

Updated on 02-27-2014 by Andy: We caught a brief demo of the Blackphone at Mobile World Congress, and added several images of the prototype device.

Mobile

Want more power, but faster? This new charging tech claims it can deliver

Chunky power bricks and slow charging could be a thing of the past with GaNFast technology from Navitas Semiconductors. By using an alternative to silicon, GaNFast reduces power consumption and boosts output.
Smart Home

The best smart locks turn your phone into a key

A good smart lock should offer a combination of security and convenience. Fortunately, these devices keep your home protected, your family safe, and your belongings secure from possible intruders.
Computing

Data breach compromises 773 million records, 21 million passwords

A security researcher was alerted to a collection of breached data that included more than 773 million compromised records. After digging deeper, the breach was revealed to contain more than 21 million passwords.
Product Review

Ring Video Doorbell 2 is the simplest entry into a smarter doorway

The Ring Video Doorbell 2 may lack the style and sophistication of premium door-dingers, but few can match its simplicity and versatility. The device, available in both wired and wireless configurations, is easy to set up and adds instant…
Web

Shutdown makes dozens of .gov websites insecure due to expired TLS certificates

The US government shutdown is causing trouble in internet security. As the shutdown enters day 22, dozens of government websites have been rendered insecure or inaccessible due to expired transport layer security (TLS) certificates.
Wearables

Swatch and Mastercard team up for on-the-wrist, on-the-go mobile payments

Swatch has announced its Swatchpay technology is now available in Switzerland, enabling mobile payments from your Swatch watch. It works in a similar way to Apple Pay and Google Pay. Here's everything about it.
Mobile

Do these Geekbench results accurately represent the Moto G7?

The Moto G6 range is still relatively new to the market, but rumors have already started about the Moto G7, which is expected some time in 2019. Apparently, a G7 Power version will be joining the G7, G7 Play, and G7 Plus.
Mobile

Sony is showing something off at MWC -- will it be the Xperia XZ4?

Sony may have released the Xperia XZ3 in the past few months, but already it's preparing to release a follow-up, the Xperia XZ4. We're learning plenty about the phone now some details have started to leak out, and it's getting exciting.
Home Theater

Set your ears free with the best completely wireless earbuds

If you can't stand the tangle of cords, or you're just excited about completely wireless earbuds, you're going to need some help separating the wheat from the chaff. Our list serves up the best true wireless earbuds around.
Mobile

Is this the first image of a Galaxy S10 being used in real life?

It won't be long now; With 2019 underway, the Samsung Galaxy S10 is almost here. Before it arrives, here's absolutely everything you need to know about all three of Samsung's next flagships.
Wearables

Omron HeartGuide brings blood pressure monitoring to your wrist

High blood pressure leads to heart attacks, strokes, and many other health problems, so it's important to keep an eye on. Omron's HeartGuide is a fitness tracking watch that can also monitor your blood pressure from your wrist.
Business

Google is buying mysterious smartwatch tech from The Fossil Group for $40 million

Google is about to step up its smartwatch game. The company has agreed to buy an unnamed smartwatch technology from The Fossil Group for a hefty $40 million. Considering the acquisition, it's clear Google is serious about smartwatches.
Mobile

Learn how to play YouTube in the background on iOS and Android

We show you how to play YouTube in the background with apps such as Opera, Chrome, and Firefox -- along with the premium offerings like YouTube Premium -- whether you have an Android or iOS device.
Mobile

Android vs. iOS: Which smartphone platform is the best?

If you’re trying to choose a new phone and you’re not sure about the merits and pitfalls of the leading smartphone operating systems, then come on in for a detailed breakdown as we pit Android vs. iOS in various categories.