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Silent Circle launches Blackphone 2

According to Silent Circle, Blackphone 2 is aimed at delivering best in class privacy and security, without compromising on the functionality and usability

Security firm Silent Circle has launched an updated version of its privacy-enhanced Android smartphone.

Blackphone 2 comes just a year after Silent Circle announced its joint venture with Spanish developer Geekphone to develop the first version of the device.

The launch comes just days after BlackBerry confirmed its next flagship smartphone device Priv, due for release in March 2016, will offer users the option of running Android, as well as new privacy management features.

According to Silent Circle, Blackphone 2 is aimed at delivering best in class privacy and security, without compromising on the functionality and usability of the most cutting-edge smartphones.

Blackphone 2 will sell at around £526 and is the first component of Silent Circle’s enterprise privacy platform (EPP) announced at Mobile World Congress earlier in 2015.

The EPP is a cloud-based combination of software, services and devices that connect to existing Internet connections to enable privacy for the mobile enterprise.   

Silent Circle said Blackphone 2 provides full device encryption by default through harnessing the company’s operating system (Silent OS) and Google Android technology.

“The launch of Blackphone 2 is a game changer for the mobile sector and for the way we provide individual and enterprise privacy” said Bill Conner, president and CEO of Silent Circle.

“Blackphone 2 combines an enhanced Android operating system with a suite of apps designed to keep your enterprise and personal information separate and private,” he said.

The latest version of the device enables users to manage their privacy and security settings in one place. Users can control and fine-tune the individual app permissions and the data the apps have access to. They can also create separate secure environments for business data, personal information and social applications.

For the enterprise market, the Blackphone 2 comes with a remote wipe setting should the phone be lost or stolen. It is also ready for enterprise deployment, with support for Google’s Android For Work program and integration with Google’s suite of applications. 

According to Silent Circle, Blackphone 2 is certified with existing mobile device management (MDM) systems, including MobileIron, Citrix, Good and SOTI.

In an attempt to appeal to users, the Blackphone 2 has an Octa-core Qualcomm processor, 3GB RAM, 32GB of internal storage plus a removable Micro SD card slot, a 5.5-inch Gorilla Glass display and a 13-megapixel camera.

The smartphone comes pre-loaded with Silent Circle’s private communication app Silent Phone, which offers encrypted, secure voice calls, conference calling, video conferencing and secure text and file transfers.

“Today our privacy is increasingly threatened by governments, businesses and individuals, and the growing number of companies where employees work on their own devices in and out of the office meansit is vital to build smartphones that deliver on privacy,” said Conner. 

“People and enterprises want to take back control of their privacy, but too often they don’t know how or feel they must compromise too much – that’s why the time is right for Blackphone 2,” he said. 

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I think having that level of native security will be a big seller for a lot of people and organizations that offer a BYOP program. That price of nearly $800 US could be a deal breaker, though.
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Wonderful to see the problem addressed. Way too expensive for mere mortals, yes, but no one thought the solution to our endless data breaches would be cheap or easy. 
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