Tech Transformers

Can Blackphone 2 replace the likes of Blackberry in privacy?

Blackphone 2: Privacy without compromise

Privacy and security continue to dominate talk inside the tech space and what better way to ease concerns than have a phone that puts privacy ahead of selfie cameras or fancy emojis?

Encrypted communications company, Silent Circle, unveiled the "Blackphone 2" on Monday, a revamped version of its "world's first" smartphone built to be private by design.

Silent Circle's co-founder and chairman, Mike Janke, said the phone offered "privacy without compromise."

Silent Circle's "Blackphone 2" design
Credit: Silent Circle

The latest version is described as a "game changer" for mobile and combines Silent Circle's proprietary "Silent" operating system with Google Android technology and pre-installed apps that users can modify to their liking.

"We wanted to be understated. It's not about selfie cameras and colors and waterproofing, it's about privacy and security. Being understated and getting the job done," Janke told CNBC on Monday.

The phone provides encryption to enable secure calls, texts, file transfers and video conferencing. It has 32GB of internal storage and allows users to separate work information from personal data.

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"Data is the new gold coming out of the ground, not oil. So, the more data there is the more competitive advantage there is for countries. It's increasing tenfold, not decreasing," said Janke, when discussing whether demand for the Blackphone would decrease as governments make increasing efforts to tackle cyber threats.

The phone comes with a $799 price-tag, which roughly matches the price of an unlocked Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus or an unlocked 32GB Apple iPhone 5S.

Janke said that the price was "not a big cost" for companies concerned about security. He added that the new phone could even replace Blackberry as the phone of choice for security-concerned employers.

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Employees are also increasingly concerned over privacy, especially in light of recent high-profile data hacks.

"The growing number of companies where employees work on their own devices in and out of the office means that it is ever more vital to build smartphones that deliver on privacy," Silent Circle CEO Bill Conner said in a statement.

"People and enterprises want to take back control of their privacy but too often they don't know how, or they feel they must compromise too much."

Clarification: This article has been amended since first published following clarification from Silent Circle on the security of the handset.