Blackphone+ tablet puts security first with encrypted messaging and private partitions

Silent Circle's secretive tablet is due out this autumn, and prioritises your privacy. Read on for all the details.

Luke Westaway

Luke Westaway

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Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.

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If you love both digital privacy and tablets, listen up -- security firm Silent Circle, maker of the encryption-heavy Blackphone and Blackphone 2 has turned its attention to a tablet.

The Blackphone+ is still in its putative stages, at least in terms of design. This 7-inch slate doesn't have a final look yet, so take all the pictures here with a pinch of salt. What we do know is that it'll have 4G LTE, and what it will offer in terms of security -- so read on for all the details.

Blackphone+ is a security-conscious tablet (pictures)

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Encrypted communications

Just like its smartphone counterparts, the Blackphone+ runs a locked-down version of Android, dubbed PrivatOS. Maker Silent Circle offers encrypted text messages, encrypted VoIP calls, encrypted video chat and an encrypted contacts list, making it tougher for hackers to spy on your private messages.

What Silent Circle doesn't offer however -- at least not yet -- is encrypted email. That's a shame, because email is, for many, their smartphone's primary communication tool. Still, if encryption is important to you, there aren't many other companies out there making phones that such an emphasis on privacy.

A safe space

Silent Circle's new feature is called 'Spaces' -- a feature that creates separate, locked-down versions of your tablet's user interface. For instance, you could create a work partition that contains all your sensitive documents, and a more open partition that's safe to hand to your kids, should they want to blast through a few levels of "Angry Birds". You can create separate passcodes for these different 'spaces', and remotely wipe the tablet should it get lost or stolen. To move between spaces, swipe down from the top of the screen and tap the relevant icon.

This is how you switch between 'spaces'. Luke Westaway/CNET


Recent high-profile stories such as the extent of the NSA's surveillance tactics and the disastrous Sony hack prove that we've a long way to go when it comes to figuring out how to maintain genuine privacy in our online lives. Silent Circle admits that no system is perfect, but if you work with sensitive information or if you're naturally security conscious, this is one of the few products out there that caters explicitly to your concerns.

There's no pricing information yet, but Silent Circle is gunning for an autumn release date. We'll bring you more news as it comes, so stay tuned.

Take a tour of the phones at Mobile World Congress 2015

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