Silent Circle released the original Blackphone in 2014 with a raft of security features and no Google Play Services. That was sort of the point—to sell an encrypted phone that didn't have any third-party trackers or services. It turns out people don't like that, so the Blackphone 2 will have Google apps. This device has just been announced for a whopping $799, and you can order it now.
Here are the specs provided for the new Blackphone.
- LTE and Worldwide 3G/HSPA+ connectivity
- 5.5" FullHD Gorilla Glass display
- Qualcomm Snapdragon Octa-Core Processor
- 3GB RAM & 32GB internal storage
- microSD card slot supports additional 128GB
- 13 MP BSI Camera Sensor (5 MP front)
- 3060 mAh Battery with Quick Charge 2.0
Silent Circle hasn't specified which octa-core Snapdragon SoC it's using in the new Blackphone, but I assume it's a Snapdragon 810. The rest of the specs look respectable, but not groundbreaking. There's also a microSD card slot, which I'm just saying, doesn't seem very good for security. The company is pushing the Silent OS software (based on Lollipop) as its defining feature. It has a permission manager and "Spaces" that let you segregate data in different environments (eg. work and home). There's Android for Work support as well.
The original Blackphone shipped only with the Silent Store, and the company did not "endorse or provide support for any third-party app store." People don't want to use a smartphone without apps, and Google's ecosystem is simply the best choice for Android. I'm sure Silent Circle has some rationalization for this move, but it seems like they just made the wrong call last time.
The North American Blackphone 2 is available for pre-order today. A UK/International version will be on sale soon.
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, 28th September 2015 – Silent Circle has today launched Blackphone 2 – its next-generation smartphone that delivers best in class privacy and security, without compromising on the powerful functionality and seamless usability of today’s most cutting-edge smartphones.
Blackphone 2 is available to purchase for $799 RRP* and is the first component of Silent Circle’s Enterprise Privacy Platform (EPP) announced at Mobile World Congress earlier this year. The EPP is a unique, cloud-based combination of software, services and devices that connect to existing Internet connections to enable privacy at every level of business.
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. We’re proud to deliver a safe and sexy device with a seamless user experience”
At the heart of Silent OS, Blackphone 2 has a unique, in-built Security Center that enables the user to easily manage their privacy and security settings in one place. The user can control and fine-tune the individual app permissions and the data the apps have access to, while ensuring they need not compromise on the device’s cutting edge smartphone functionality. The Blackphone 2 also comes with a remote wipe setting should the phone be lost or stolen.
Through Silent OS’ “Spaces” function, Blackphone 2 also provides users with the ability to build separate, secure environments for their critical business data, personal information and even social applications within the same device.
Blackphone 2 is ready for enterprise deployment, with support for Google’s Android For Work program and seamless integration with Google’s suite of applications. It is also certified with existing MDM systems, including MobileIron, Citrix, Good and SOTI. Blackphone 2 also adds an Octa-core Qualcomm processor, 3GB RAM, 32GB of internal storage plus a removable Micro SD card slot, a larger 5.5” Gorilla Glass display and a 13-megapixel camera.
The new smartphone comes pre-loaded with Silent Phone - Silent Circle’s industry-leading, private communication app - which offers encrypted, secure voice calls, conference calling, video conferencing, secure text and file transfers in one simple app.
“Today our privacy is increasingly threatened by governments, businesses and individuals”, Bill Conner continued. “In addition, the growing number of companies where employees work on their own devices in and out of the office means that it is ever more vital to build smartphones that deliver on privacy. People and enterprises want to take back control of their privacy but too often they don’t know how, or they feel they must compromise too much - that’s why the time is right for Blackphone 2.”
Silent Circle has been named one of Fast Company’s ‘Most Innovative Companies 2015’. The announcement of its Enterprise Privacy Platform received PC Magazine’s ‘Best of Show’ award at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona earlier this year. Silent Circle was also named one of the ‘20 Most Promising Cyber Security Solutions’ by CIO Review.
Blackphone 2 builds on the breakthrough success of Blackphone - named one of Time Magazine’s “Top 25 Best Inventions of 2014” and one of MIT Technology Review’s top 10 technology breakthroughs that same year.
“Blackphone 2 represents the second stage of the Silent Circle Rocket Ship” said Mike Janke, Co-founder and Chairman. “My fellow co-founders, Phil Zimmerman, Jon Callas and our CEO Bill Conner have been working tirelessly towards the goal of launching our global Enterprise Privacy Platform. Blackphone 2 is a highly disruptive product. It is not about candy-colors, emoji keyboards, curved screens or ‘the next big thing’”, said Janke, “it’s about security, privacy and protecting your digital life, plain and simple. It’s hard not to be incredibly excited about Blackphone 2 when you can literally hold privacy in your hands.”
- Silent Circle