The security-focused Blackphone 2 smartphone, which was introduced back in March during the MWC 2015 conference, is now available to purchase online. Priced at $799 (roughly Rs. 53,000) unlocked, theAndroid-powered handset by Silent Circle is limited to North America for now, but will be coming to the UK and other regions “soon”. Users also have the option to go for the cheaper first-generation Blackphone, which is available with third-party online retailers.
The privacy-oriented Blackphone 2 comes with an updated version of the firm’s Android-based PrivatOS, now rebranded to Silent OS. It features a 5.5-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) IPS display protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and is powered by an 64-bit octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor clocked at 1.7GHz, coupled with 3GB of LPDDR3 RAM and Adreno 405.
Silent Circle Blackphone 2 bears a 13-megapixel autofocus rear camera with BSI sensor and dual LED flash, along with a 5-megapixel fixed focus front-camera. The smartphone’s 32GB eMMC inbuilt storage can be expanded via a microSD card (up to 128GB). It also supports Indian 4G LTE bands and is backed by a non-replaceable 3060mAh Li-po battery supported by Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0.
Measuring 7.9×76.4×152.4mm, the Blackphone 2 weighs 165 grams and is available in Black colour variant only.
Silent OS allows users to make and receive secure calls, send encrypted text messages, store files securely and browse the Web through an anonymous VPN. It also lets them assign different logins for different sections inside the device. Users will be able to assign a login for document apps and set a different login for communication apps. The company also promised it would roll out patches for any kind of vulnerability within 72 hours of its discovery.
Based on the hefty price tag and the mid-range specifications, Silent Circle might not find many takers for the handset. Besides the limited regional availability, the smartphone misses out on wireless charging, the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, 4GB RAM and more, features that are now a norm with premium Android handsets. However, people highly concerned about privacy might find the smartphone worth the price.
“Never before have private citizens been under barrage from world governments – hacking, vacuuming, and chipping away at our privacy,” said Co-founder and Silent Circle chairman Mike Janke during the launch in March this year. “We’re replacing BlackBerry, we don’t care that BlackBerry’s CEO is throwing nasty things about us onto Twitter. We’re going to dominate them.”
Talking about BlackBerry, Silent Circle’s Blackphone 2 might soon find competition in the market -BlackBerry Priv. The smartphone would be arriving later this year according to the company CEO John Chen. “I am confirming our plans to launch Priv, an Android device named after BlackBerry’s heritage and core mission of protecting our customers’ privacy. Priv combines the best of BlackBerry security and productivity with the expansive mobile application ecosystem available on the Android platform,”he said in the company’s latest earnings report.