Silent Circle's Blackphone 2 to support Android for Work

The move aims to enhance the privacy-focused smartphone's appeal in the corporate world, where the separation of personal- and work-related information is paramount.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor 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.
Don Reisinger
3 min read

Android for Work will be running on the Silent Circle Blackphone 2 this fall. Silent Circle

Silent Circle, a small handset maker that builds devices aimed at maximizing privacy, has signed on with Google's new business-focused Android tool.

Silent Circle's Blackphone 2 smartphone will support Android for Work, the company announced on Thursday. The feature will allow Blackphone 2 owners to separate personal apps and information on their phone from apps and information used for work, eliminating the need to carry two devices.

The move is part of a broader strategy by Silent Circle to expand its presence in the enterprise, where it believes its privacy-focused devices can have the greatest impact.

The Blackphone 2 was announced in March and will launch in the fall. The device comes with a 64-bit eight-core processor, a 1,920x1,080-pixel 5.5-inch screen protected by Gorilla Glass 3, 3GB of memory, a non-removable quick-charging 3,060mAh battery and expandable storage through a microSD port.

However, like its predecessor, the Blackphone, the device is designed for privacy-seekers who want to keep their information secure. The device runs a Silent Circle-developed version of Google's Android operating system called Silent OS that encrypts voice and video chats, text messaging and contacts management. A new feature, called Silent Meeting, allows for encrypted conference calls.

At an event in March unveiling the smartphone, Silent Circle said the Blackphone 2 would be especially useful for companies. While individuals will still be able to buy the Blackphone 2, the device will be focused on the corporate world. The move was a logical one for Silent Circle, which acknowledged in March that despite its first handset being designed for privacy-seeking individuals, three-quarters of its sales revenue came from the corporate world.

The partnership with Android for Work is an expansion of Silent Circle's attempts to appeal to enterprise customers. Unveiled in February, Android for Work is Google's attempt to get more Android devices into the office. The platform is designed specifically to appeal to a company's IT department that may have stringent requirements on security and the sharing of data between personal apps and company apps.

Google's Android for Work creates two user profiles for Android owners -- one for their work life and one for their personal life. Those two profiles work together, without requiring people to toggle between the two accounts. Each work-centric app has an orange briefcase badge on the icon, and is labeled "Work Mail" or "Work Chrome," referring to Google's Web browser. Google also said that Android for Work would include a new version of its Google Play app marketplace, allowing IT personnel to manage and deploy business apps on all products running its platform.

Silent Circle said in a statement that Google's platform is an extension of its own desire to create "privacy without compromise." The company added that Android for Work will run in tandem with Silent OS and its own built-in privacy features.

"It's a significant step forward in Silent Circle's development which enables us to deliver privacy and security to a broader enterprise customer base, while meeting their need for the wide-ranging apps and services provided by Google," Silent Circle CEO Bill Conner said in a statement.