Is the mobile handset landscape ready to accommodate another player? When the Mobile World Congress show commences in Barcelona, Spain in February, a new smartphone would be launched within the event by new players. It will be called ‘Blackphone.’
The new device would be a product of a joint venture between mobile phone maker Geekstone and Silent Circle, an encrypted communications provider. The two companies intend to take the opportunity to take advantage of current public clamor for privacy and security in mobile communications. They aim to provide mobile customers with assurance that there are still available options to prevent government surveillance from intruding on them.
Blackphone is basically a smartphone that is being designed and developed for privacy protection. This comes at the height of the controversy following NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s previous claims that the government agency intrudes on people’s privacy by obtaining access on private data from wireless networks.
Blackphone’s basic features
To begin with, Blackphone will operate on PrivatOS, an Android-based operating system. Its makers claim that the technology would allow its potential users to communicate with others in a more secure manner. Accordingly, users would create and receive secure mobile phone calls. They could also exchange more secure texts, engage in secure video chatting services, store and exchange files privately, and browse the Internet securely. Users could even get online anonymously via Virtual Private Network connection.
The smartphone makers are yet to reveal more details about the upcoming Blackphone. When asked, they simply advised the consumers to wait until the launch is set in the coming Mobile World Congress. But most analysts expect that the new device would be integrated with the current apps and services that are being offered and facilitated by Silent Circle.
Silent Circle is a subscription-based service provider for encrypted voice calling, text messaging, video chatting, and file transferring. It mainly uses Android, iOS, and some desktop apps. Its apps use mostly end-to-end technology in encryption based on what is known as open cryptographic standards. If Blackphone would take some of Silent Circle’s services, some consumers think it would come in subscription plans paid monthly or annually.
For its part, Geekstone manufactures mobile telephony products that are also based on open source software and open standards. The Madrid, Spain-based company has already created handsets in the past that operate on Firefox OS and/or Android.