Revelations about how insecure our communications are have been a daily fixture of the news cycle recently, and it’s in this climate that a pair of companies are combining to launch a new smartphone focused on privacy. The Blackphone will run a “security-oriented” version of Android named PrivatOS, which the companies say will allow users to securely place and receive phone calls, text messages, video chat, transfer and store files, and “anonymize your activity” through a VPN.
The project is the brainchild of Phil Zimmermann’s company Silent Circle and Geeksphone, a Spanish startup that created the Firefox OS developer devices. Zimmermann rose to fame as the creator of PGP, an early email encryption standard, before founding Silent Circle, a company focused on encrypted communications. In a press release announcing the project, Zimmermann says the Blackphone will offer users “everything they need to ensure privacy and control of their communications, along with all the other high-end smartphone features they have come to expect.”
How exactly Zimmermann and his associates will achieve this goal is unclear, but Silent Circle has a number of encryption products it’s likely to add to Android in place of the stock apps. You can expect to hear more about the phone at Mobile World Congress, a yearly conference that usually features a number of product announcements. The company says Blackphone will be available for preorder on February 24th, the first day of the show.