Blackphone is a new Android device developed by the secure communications specialists at Silent Circle,Ã‚Â that sells for $630 off contract.
Among other things, the Blackphone features fully encrypted voice calls, video calls and SMS with attachments; theÃ‚Â Kismet Smarter Wi-Fi Manager, a security system that Ã¢â‚¬Å“prevents Wi-Fi hotspots from capturing Blackphone usersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ wireless connection history and other information that could be used to track usersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ locationsÃ¢â‚¬Â; andÃ‚Â private encrypted cloud services through SpiderOak.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“BlackphoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s arrival puts mobile privacy directly in the hands of professionals and consumers everywhere. In a world where devices and apps increasingly offer features only in return for usersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ personal or sensitive information, the pent-up demand for Blackphone shows there is strong, international demand for our brandÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s devices and services that stand apart by placing privacy before all else.Ã¢â‚¬Â
From a specs perspective the device is nothing special and itÃ‚Â features a 4.7-inch 720p display, a 2GHz quad-core Tegra 4i processor, 16GB of storage, microSD card support, 1GB of RAM and an 8-megapixel camera. If youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re shelling out $630 for a Blackphone, you arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t paying for high-end specs, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re paying for the ability to keep your mobile communications private.
Now where does BlackBerry come into this? For the past few months BlackBerry have been calling out their competitors when it comes to mobile security. It started off as “defending themselves” but bit by bit it is beginning to go beyond that.
It appears that anything with the words “mobile security” is enough for BlackBerry to go on the offensive and call somebody out, even if they haven’t had a go at BlackBerry.
On the BlackBerry Business Blog,Ã‚Â BlackBerry calls the Blackphone Ã¢â‚¬ËœConsumer-Grade Privacy thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Inadequate for Business’ andÃ‚Â offers the following reasons why the Blackphone isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t right for businesses:
As thisÃ‚Â reviewÃ‚Â points out, the Blackphone was designed chiefly for consumers. The productÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s target market sweet spot appears to be individuals Ã¢â‚¬â€ not necessarily affiliated with an enterprise Ã¢â‚¬â€ requiring eavesdrop-proof communications. The Blackphone appears to be designed to operate outside the realm of IT oversight.
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s currently unclear if the Blackphone will support the logging and archiving of business communications conducted on the smartphone, an unacceptable condition for regulated organizations, such as financial services and healthcare firms.
BlackphoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s go-it-alone approach to security contrasts dramatically with BlackBerryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s end-to-end enterprise mobility management (EMM) solution. The BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 (BES10) platform provides IT with a single console for managing corporate-issued or personal BlackBerry, iOS and Android devices.Ã‚Â BBM ProtectedÃ‚Â also enables CIOs to rest assured that their workers are messaging each other securely and privately. By infusing security and control within every segment Ã¢â‚¬â€œ device, EMM server and network Ã¢â‚¬â€œ of the end-to-end digital journey, BlackBerry has attracted the business of some of theÃ‚Â most security conscious and highly regulated organizationsÃ‚Â in the world.
The maker of Blackphone proudly proclaims its laser-like focus on privacy. This from their website:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“In a world where devices and apps increasingly offer features only in return for usersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ personal or sensitive information, the pent-up demand for Blackphone shows there is strong, international demand for our brandÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s devices and services that stand apart by placing privacy before all else.Ã¢â‚¬Â
BlackBerryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s similar preoccupation withÃ‚Â protecting user privacy is apparent through features likeÃ‚Â BlackBerry BalanceÃ‚Â and BlackBerry Guardian. BlackBerry Balance comes standard on all BlackBerry 10 devices and automatically separates personal data and applications from enterprise data, giving users the best BYOD experience on the market. We pioneered the concept of giving users the ability to control mobile application permissions and combined the BlackBerry Guardian vetting tools with Trend MicroÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s expertise to protect users from malicious applications.
We also recognize that worker productivity and end-user satisfaction are just as important as privacy and security. Enterprise-grade mobile security must provide ironclad protection of behind-the-server data without impeding employee productivity or negatively impacting usability. When it comes to fully realizing the benefits of enterprise mobility, a hierarchical approach to privacy, productivity and usability just doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t work.
Enterprise Grade Security
Everybody should be confident that their electronic communications are kept private and their mobile devices safe from siphoning by malicious hackers. For individuals, a costly Blackphone may fall short of delivering the desired peace of mind.
For enterprises, security that stops at the device isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t secure enough. When it comes to enterprise security Ã¢â‚¬â€œ in a Pre- or Post-Snowden environment Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the protection offered by BlackBerryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢sÃ‚Â end-to-end EMMÃ‚Â solution makes the most attractive features of the Blackphone superfluous.
BlackphoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s initial inventory sold out quickly in the months following Mobile World Congress and SGP Technologies will re-open the Blackphone Web store atÃ‚Â https://store.blackphone.chÃ‚Â onÃ‚Â July 14Ã‚Â to begin accepting new orders.[signoff predefined=”Enjoy this?” icon=”icon-users”][/signoff]