Blackphone preorders ship; new orders to open 7/14

The privacy-focused device, created in response to leaker Edward Snowden's revelations about the NSA, sells for $629.

005Geekphone_Blackphone_MWC2014_35835123.jpg
Blackphone Sarah Tew/CNET

Blackphone, a privacy-obsessed smartphone developed in response to Edward Snowden's revelations about the National Security Agency's mass surveillance of Americans' phone records, started shipping Monday.

The $629 phone, created as a joint venture between Silent Circle and Geeksphone, was unveiled at Mobile World Congress in February. The device's sales pitch claims that security and privacy are put "ahead of everything else."

In order to achieve that goal, the Blackphone is based on a forked Android operating system, called PrivatOS. The operating system comes with built-in support for encryption of voice calls, video calls, and text messaging. It automatically prevents Wi-Fi hotspots from identifying personal information. A Security Center feature gives users control over a wide range of application permissions. And the device comes with both anonymizing Web browsing and VPN support.

On the hardware side, Blackphone features a 4.7-inch HD IPS screen, a 2GHz Nvidia Tegra 4i CPU, and 16GB of internal storage. It supports LTE and HSPA+ for wireless networking.

The phone's joint venture, dubbed SGP Technologies, plans to re-open orders on July 14.

Tags:
Mobile
About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Show Comments Hide Comments
Latest Galleries from CNET
The best tech products of 2014
Does this Wi-Fi-enabled doorbell Ring true? (pictures)
Seven tips for securing your Facebook account
The best 3D-printing projects of 2014 (pictures)
15 crazy old phones from a Korean museum (pictures)
10 gloriously geeky highlights from 2014 (pictures)