It was only a matter of time until someone developed a smartphone entirely focused on security.
Phil Zimmermann, best known among techies as the creator of the email encryption tool PGP, announced his latest security effort today: Blackphone, a smartphone powered by a custom secure version of Android called PrivatOS.
A joint development between Silent Circle, Zimmermann’s company that offers encrypted services, and Geeksphone, the Spanish phone maker best known for creating the first batch of Firefox OS phones, the Blackphone lets you make secure calls, texts, video chats, and file transfers.
While specific details aren’t available yet, I’d imagine that Silent Circle’s encrypted platform is powering those secure communications. Zimmermann is clearly targeting people worried about data snooping from the NSA and other security agencies, but until we learn more about the type of encryption Blackphone offers, it’s hard to tell if it will actually do much to keep data snoops out.
With PGP, Zimmermann created one of the first ways to securely send emails — and remarkably, it’s still widely used today. So even though we don’t know much about how Blackphone is secured, we know that Zimmermann has the skills to deliver on his promises.
Expect more details about the Blackphone next month at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Pre-orders for the phone will kick off on February 24 at Mobile World Congress, and presumably on Blackphone’s website soon afterwards.
“I have spent my whole career working towards the launch of secure telephony products,” Zimmermann said in a statement. “Blackphone provides users with everything they need to ensure privacy and control of their communications, along with all the other high-end smartphone features they have come to expect.”