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Unique smartphones boast encryption, e-inkSeveral smartphones unveiled at Mobile World Congress stand out with unusual features, like the untraceable Blackphone, the durable Toughpad, and the dual-screen YotaPhone. And BlackBerry strays from the pack by bringing back the trackpad.
One of the smartphones is not like the other. I'm Bridget Carey and this is your CNET Update. Gadget news continues to roll out of the Mobile World Congress show going on now in Barcelona. This is where we learn about the new tablets and phones hitting stores this year. Now, most attention goes to the new Android phones from Samsung, LG and HTC. But there are some unique models. For instance, would you be interested in a phone that keeps your calls secure and untraceable? If you want to avoid being tracked by the NSA, then check out the Blackphone. It's made by Switzerland's Geeksphone. Now this phone encrypts voice calls, texts and the websites you visit as well as encrypting the data that saved to the phone. You'll have to get you on mobile plan because it'll only be sold unlocked when it arrives in June for $630. Panasonic showed off a new Toughpad tablet. Well, Panasonic insists that it's a tablet even though it should just be called a tough smartphone because the screen is 5 inches like many smartphones and it can make calls. But Panasonic is targeting this for the business world so it's pushing the tablet title and it's specifically something that you'll see in warehouses because it has a built-in barcode scanner that's also a flash light. This can survive a drop from 10 feet and it can go for a swim underwater at 5 feet for 30 minutes. It comes in two flavors, Windows Phone and Android Jellybean and it'll be available in August at a high price, expect you to cost more than a thousand dollars. Blackberry is hoping to bounce back making a fan-favorite plastic phone design with a keyboard and a track pad. Yes, different for Blackberry means going back to old school. The Q20 will come out by the end of the year but we didn't get to see what it would look like. Blackberry will focus on selling it to governments and large businesses that want workers to carry Blackberry phones. It also has a new touchscreen phone, it's called Z3, and that's coming in April 1st to Indonesia. Blackberry is hoping to grow in emerging markets with cheaper phones. The company gave up trying to win over consumers that have moved on to Androids and iPhones. And the dual-screen YotaPhone from Russia is back with the new model. This experimental phone has two screens, a normal color screen on the front and e-ink screen on the back. The idea is that you can save some serious batter life by using the e-ink screens which are similar to what you find on a Kindle. Now you can even turn off the color screen on the front and just keep the e-ink on if you want. This new model isn't ready for primetime yet, but we should see a version of this in the U.S. by the end of the year. That is your tech news update, but you can find more details at cnet.com/update and be sure to follow along on Twitter. From our studios in New York, I'm Bridget Carey.