January 17, 2014, 11:57 AM — Face it: we're living in an age where we're being watched. It's an unfortunate circumstance of how technology has progressed throughout the decades, and even when we think we're taking the right steps by adjusting our privacy settings, another news story comes out that all that information is freely available, anyway.
What if you could use a phone that was completely untethered to any company? One that promised that it would keep all of your information strictly in your hands?
That's the idea behind Blackphone (shown above), an unlocked GSM handset from Geeksphone and Silent Circle, that runs a custom version of Android dubbed "PrivatOS."
The software includes support for secure voice calls, text messages, emails, and file sharing. It's the same Android that you know and love, but with extra added security features. It even comes with Google's full suite of Android apps.
Specs not shared yet
Of course, beyond that we don't know much else. We don't have any hardware specifications or any indication of what version of Android it's running. The companies claim that benchmarks tests show the Blackphone to be "among the top performers from any manufacturer," but we'll believe it when we see it. The company always writes that:
The tools installed on Blackphone give you everything you need to take ownership of your mobile presence and digital footprints, and ensure nobody else can watch you without your knowledge.
The teaser video, on the other hand, uses fear mongering to appeal to that specific subset of users who are afraid of what companies are doing with their data.
However you look at it, it's smart marketing, but it doesn't do much to illustrate what the phone is actually like. Even if it does turn out to be the most secure phone a consumer can buy, that won't necessarily translate into a nice-looking chassis and an easy-to-use interface. And without true marketing power behind it or carrier backing, how would a phone like this succeed out of the niche of technology enthusiasts?
The company will show off the Blackphone at next month's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. We'll hopefully have some hands on with the phone by then and will let you know what we think.