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


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.

Product Review

The Kasa Cam Outdoor delivers smart security monitoring at a great price

While it may lack the sexier features of Nest Cam IQ Outdoor, the weatherproof TP-Link Kasa Cam makes home security easy, with full-HD video streaming at a great price

Personal info of 30,000-plus Pentagon employees compromised in contractor breach

The Pentagon is facing another security problem after it was discovered that a contractor was responsible for a leak of data that affected more than 30,000 Pentagon employees, both civilian and military.
Social Media

Sick of Facebook privacy scandals? Here's how to protect your personal data

With a number of security scandals in 2018, it has us questioning if we should get rid of Facebook. Here's how to protect your personal data without deleting your account, as well as how to just nuke the thing altogether.

Chrome 70 could break thousands of websites, but that’s their own fault

Chrome 70 will cause websites with older security certificates to break, but Google had given developers more than a year of notice. Thousand sites may be affected by the change by as early as October 16 when Chrome 70 launches.

Pocket transforms articles into podcasts with an assist from Amazon

Read-it-later app Pocket is adding an option to turn articles into easily navigable podcasts with its new app redesign for iOS and Android. The feature relies on Amazon's voice-to-text service Polly.

Here’s our guide on how to get ‘Fortnite’ on your Android device

'Fortnite: Battle Royale' is one of the biggest games in the world right now, and it's finally on Android, even if getting set up is a bit long-winded. Here's how to play 'Fortnite: Battle Royale' on an Android device.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: DIY smartphones and zip-on bike tires

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Save up to $1,000 with the best smartphone deals for October 2018

Need a better phone but don't want to spend a fortune? It's never a bad time to score a new smartphone and save some cash. We rounded up the best smartphone deals available that can save you as much as $1,000.

Put your iPad Pro to the test with these great games

Did you recently purchase a 10.5-inch iPad Pro, or are you enjoying the 12.9-inch version? If so, we've rounded up a few of the best iPad Pro games currently available on Apple's mobile platform.

Got gadgets galore? Keep them charged up with the 10 best USB-C cables

If you weren't already aware, USB-C is quickly becoming mainstream. That's why we've rounded up some of the better USB-C cables on the market, whether you're looking to charge or sync your smartphone.

Adobe's "creativity conference" begins October 15. Here's what we hope to see

Each year, Adobe uses its Adobe MAX conference to show off its latest apps, technologies, and tools to help simplify and improve the workflow of creatives the world over. Here's what you should expect from this year's conference.

Here’s how to set up an alternate appearance for Face ID

Would like to add a second face for your iPhone FaceID? Maybe your face looks different at work, or you have a loved one that you want to be able to unlock your phone. Here's how to set up an alternate appearance for Face ID.
Emerging Tech

Here’s all the best gear and gadgetry you can snag for $100 or less

A $100 bill can get you further than you might think -- so long as you know where to look. Check out our picks for the best tech under $100, whether you're in the market for headphones or a virtual-reality headset.

OnePlus charges into U.K. carrier stores, leaving online-only start in the past

OnePlus's next phone, the OnePlus 6T, will be more widely available than any OnePlus phone before it, as the company has announced major deals with retailers in the U.K. The device launches on October 30.