Customers in search of a more secure, privacy-minded smartphone need look no more. A Swiss-based company called SGP Technologies SA has developed an Android-based device called the Blackphone, and its biggest claim to fame is that it provides levels of security that have hitherto been unavailable to smartphone users.
High Demand, Limited Supply
The Blackphone has been making headlines for a while now. SGP Technologies revealed the device in February of this year, at the Mobile World Congress event. The device got a high level of attention following its introduction to the world, to the point that MIT Technology Review was naming it as one of the 10 Breakthrough Technologies of 2014. Blackphone also landed on plenty of lists of the most impressive announcements made at Mobile World Congress. The mentions of the phone created a perfect storm of media attention, so much so that when SGP Technologies put Blackphone up for pre-order shortly after the event, it sold out rapidly.
According to a press release recently published on The Wall Street Journal “Market Watch” page, those early pre-orders of the Blackphone have finally shipped, and SGP Technologies should be taking more orders soon. In other words, the Blackphone is finally on its way into public hands, and despite the limited supply, the phone’s high level of demand stokes the fire that inspires mainstream phone developers like Apple and Samsung to pay more attention to privacy and security.
Features of the Blackphone
So which features is the Blackphone bringing into the smartphone conversation? The biggest focus of the device is clearly to keep personal communications as they were supposed to be: private and personal. The Blackphone encrypts voice, video, and text communication so that interception of communications or other types of mobile eavesdropping are rendered markedly more difficult – if not entirely impossible.
In addition to encryption of common phone communication methods, the Blackphone also patches up the area where most mobile information theft occurs: wireless hotspots. Hackers and cybercriminals often take advantage of unsecured Wi-Fi networks to invade users’ smartphones and steal passwords, usernames, and other sensitive information. Even where hackers are absent, Wi-Fi hotspots can be dangerous, as the Wi-Fi admin often automatically captures and tracks user information. Blackphone adds an onboard function that prevents this type of passive snooping.
Finally, the Blackphone also features a function that allows users to have a contingency plan for their mobile data if their smartphone is stolen or lost. The function isn’t exactly a kill switch, as it doesn’t render the Blackphone unusable. However, it does allow users to wipe all data from their smartphone remotely, regardless of the distance. This way, when a phone gets stolen, you only have to worry about the loss of the device; not about the loss of information that could result in identity theft or other similar crimes.
The Future of Smartphones?
If the Blackphone is well received after it arrives in the hands of pre-order buyers, then word-of-mouth will only improve for the device. Could growing attention for the Blackphone inspire other mobile developers to make their own smartphones more secure? Or is privacy a “luxury” feature that developers will continue to ignore in favor of other mobile gimmicks? Only time will tell.