Silent Circle's Blackphone 2 Retains Sharp Focus on Privacy, Security

1 - Silent Circle's Blackphone 2 Retains Sharp Focus on Privacy, Security
2 - Security Remains Its Strongest Feature
3 - The Design Hasn't Changed All That Much
4 - Blackphone 2 Is a Phablet at Heart
5 - There Is a Renewed Focus on Privacy
6 - Even PrivatOS Gets Patches, Bug Fixes
7 - The 'Spaces' Feature Will Attract Enterprise Users
8 - The New Model Includes Silent Suite Apps
9 - Silent Circle Adds Support for MDM Platforms
10 - Silent Manager Gives IT More Control
11 - Blackphone 2 Is Due in Second Half of 2015
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Silent Circle's Blackphone 2 Retains Sharp Focus on Privacy, Security

by Don Reisinger

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Security Remains Its Strongest Feature

Silent Circle hasn't changed its focus with the Blackphone 2. The device is all about security and ensuring that employees are capable of communicating with others without fear of malicious hackers peering in to see what's going on. That's a breath of fresh air in a world dominated by security concerns, but whether the Blackphone 2 will be unbreakable remains to be seen.

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The Design Hasn't Changed All That Much

When looking at the Blackphone 2, it's plain to see that the basic design hasn't changed that much compared with the original smartphone. The biggest difference, however, is that the new model has a 5.5-inch screen, compared with the 4.7-inch one that was built into the original Blackphone.

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Blackphone 2 Is a Phablet at Heart

Although there have been some complaints that phablets are getting too big, Silent Circle has decided to go that route with the Blackphone 2. The device's 5.5-inch screen delivers 1,920-by-1,080-pixel resolution. It also comes with 3GB of memory and Gorilla Glass 3. Overall, the Blackphone 2 is a solid design that measures up fairly well with the features in many smartphones currently on the market.

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There Is a Renewed Focus on Privacy

Silent Circle says that the Blackphone 2 represents the second generation in the company's effort to boost privacy. Privacy has been sorely lacking in the corporate world, the company claims, and it is vying to create "the world's first enterprise privacy platform" with the new model's software enhancements and on-device encryption. In fact, Silent Circle CEO Bill Conner said that "traditional approaches" to security and privacy have failed the enterprise and his company is working to fix that with the Blackphone 2.

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Even PrivatOS Gets Patches, Bug Fixes

At the core of Silent Circle's privacy pitch is PrivatOS, the Android-based operating system built into the device. The Blackphone 2 will come bundled with PrivatOS 1.1, the first major upgrade to the operating system. The platform includes a wide variety of bug fixes and ensures that there are "no hooks to carrier" networks and "no leaky data." It's a sizable upgrade designed to appeal to enterprise customers.

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The 'Spaces' Feature Will Attract Enterprise Users

One of the main additions to PrivatOS is a feature called Spaces—a virtualization and management solution that creates a firewall between enterprise applications and personal applications. This feature has already been built into BlackBerry and other smartphone models. It is a natural outgrowth of the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend where workers want to use their own mobile devices at work and want a strong wall between work and personal data. With Spaces, IT managers can ensure that personal apps can't access anything on the enterprise side.

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The New Model Includes Silent Suite Apps

Silent Circle has confirmed that Silent Suite apps, including Silent Phone, Silent Text and Silent Contacts, will all be on the Blackphone 2. Silent Phone lets users make private calls over encrypted voice over IP (VoIP) services. Silent Text and Silent Contacts include automatic encryption to stop would-be hackers from seeing text messages or address book contacts.

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Silent Circle Adds Support for MDM Platforms

If Silent Circle wants the Blackphone 2 to be an enterprise favorite, the company needs to have support for widely used platforms. Realizing that, Silent Circle announced that the Blackphone 2 will integrate with existing mobile device management (MDM) platforms, such as Good, Citrix and Soti. Integrating those services with the Blackphone 2 will boost security and encryption and keep data even safer on those platforms, Silent Circle says.

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Silent Manager Gives IT More Control

For the IT side, all Blackphone 2 devices will come with Silent Manager, a tool that allows administrators to manage device plans, users and devices. In addition, IT administrators will be able to wipe the Blackphone 2 clean in the event of theft. If a person leaves the company but retains the device, IT managers can wipe just the corporate side and leave the personal data and applications intact.

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Blackphone 2 Is Due in Second Half of 2015

Silent Circle says it will launch the Blackphone 2 in the "second half of 2015." The company would not provide an exact date and also declined to offer a solid price, saying only that it will likely cost about the same as the first-generation Blackphone, which carries a $649 price tag.

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