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Phone makers aren't doing enough to protect your privacy, says CEO of security-conscious GranitePhone

The security-focused Sikur GranitePhone is available to pre-order today.

The privacy-focused Sikur GranitePhone, seen earlier this year. Stephen Shankland/CNET

Your smartphone is putting your privacy at risk, and the people who made it aren't doing enough to protect you. That's the warning from the makers of Sikur GranitePhone, a new security-focused smartphone which is available to pre-order today.

As our world becomes more connected, maintaining our security and privacy become increasingly fraught with difficulty. With illegal hackers and even our own governments working to get their grubby mitts on our data and communications, our privacy is under attack from many directions. Well-known brands have reacted by beefing up the security of their devices, as Samsung's done with its Knox system. But there's still space for phones like the GranitePhone and the Silent Circle Blackphone, which were designed with security as a priority.

These phones may be more useful for businesses and governments than they are for the regular phone owner, but Frederico d'Avila, CEO of Sikur, says the bigger brands aren't doing enough. "They do not always care about security," he told CNET, "as we saw in the news recently with issues with the Apple Store." Apple was last week forced to remove a number of apps from its App Store as they had been used to sneak in malware. "I don't think they are doing enough," he continued. "That's why we came to that place, to help the customer to have that right solution for their privacy. They're not looking to security as we do, because we're living for that."

The security provided by devices like the GranitePhone come at a price. "Of course, we have some limitations," admits d'Avila. "Our phone is not going to be able to download third-party applications because that's the only way we can secure the end point for customers."

The phone runs on custom-built Granite OS firmware. It's based on Android, but it can't access the Google Play Store to download apps, which its rival Blackphone can. However, Sikur plans to work with third-party developers to add apps to the next device, which is expected next year.

For now, built-in apps include basic phone, contacts, SMS and messaging apps. Calls and messages between two GranitePhones are encrypted.

Other security features include remote wiping, which can be used should the phone fall into the wrong hands. And once you've bought the phone, Sikur can update it over the air to patch new vulnerabilities.

Built by French manufacturer Archos, the 4G LTE GranitePhone is powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor with 2GB of RAM. There's 16GB of storage built in. You snap pictures with 8-megapixel and 16-megapixel cameras front and back. The screen measures 5 inches from corner to corner and packs in a 1920x1080-pixel resolution, which works out to 440 pixels per inch.

Pre-orders open today. The GranitePhone will ship at the beginning of December, and will be available worldwide, except for Brazil, where it will arrive early next year. It'll cost $850 if you pre-order before 15 November, which converts to about £560 or AU$1,210. After that it will cost $1,000, which converts to about £660 or AU$1,430.