Privacy-promising Blackphone has begun shipping, offering a locked-down version of Android dubbed PrivatOS which claims to address some of the post-Wikileaks concerns about monitoring and tracking. The phone, announced earlier this year and sold unlocked, has access to an encrypted cloud storage service for those wary of Google Drive, uses anonymous browsing by default, and encrypts messages.
Rather than the usual Hangouts, Gmail, and other messaging apps, Blackphone instead uses a range of privacy-minded alternatives like Silent Phone and Silent Text. They encrypt voice, video calls, and text messages with attachments, whether sent over WiFi or cellular connections.
Meanwhile, there’s Secure Wireless for protected VPN use, and Kismet’s Smarter WiFi Manager for avoiding eavesdropping on wireless connections.
SGP Technologies and Geeksphone have modified Google’s Android 4.4 KitKat giving deeper control over things like application permissions, and there’s also remote wiping should a device be physically stolen.
As for the core specifications, the Blackphone has a 4.7-inch IPS display, NVIDIA’s Tegra 4i processor, and 1GB of memory. There’s 16GB of storage and a microSD card slot. Connectivity includes LTE and HSPA+, and there are two cameras: 8-megapixels on the back with an LED flash, and 5-megapixels on the front.
Following the preorder period which has since closed, Blackphone sales will kick off again on July 14, SGP Technologies says. The handset is priced at $629; you can see the prototype in action in our hands-on video from Mobile World Congress below.