Blackphone 2 With Larger Screen, Improved Specs To Arrive In September

Silent Circle, the company behind privacy apps such as Silent Text and Silent Phone (as well as Blackphone, the secure and privacy-oriented smartphone), quietly announced on its website that it will launch the Blackphone 2 in September of this year.

The Blackphone, originally launched in 2014, was a high-end smartphone that came with a forked version of Android, previously called PrivatOS and now renamed "Silent OS," which puts it more in line with the company's other "Silent" products.

Silent OS is a security- and privacy-focused OS that comes without bloatware, carrier software or other leaky data, according to the company. The OS supports "Spaces," a feature that allows users and companies to create isolated operating system accounts that don't interact with each other and therefore remain more secure.

One advantage that Blackphones have over other Android smartphones is that security patches can arrive much more quickly. Silent Circle promised to patch discovered security bugs within 72 hours, and in the past, the company has managed to live up to this promise.

The best Android OEMs can do right now, including Google, is to send a security patch once a month, which makes Silent Circle's 72-hour program seems that much more impressive. When the main selling point of the device is security, such swift updates also make the phone more appealing to enterprise customers.

The second generation of the Blackphone was unveiled for the first time at the Mobile World Congress earlier this year with a larger 1080p 5.5" screen, an octa-core processor from Qualcomm, 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB of internal storage, a 13MP rear camera and a 5MP front-camera.

It's unclear whether the company upgraded SilentOS to Lollipop or not, but the OS looks more heavily customized than the previous KitKat-based version.

From the looks of it, the phone's local storage doesn't seem to be encrypted by default, which is a little worrisome for a device that promises the best mobile security on the market, but things could change by the time it is launched.

However, this will likely depend on whether its chip has support for hardware-accelerated AES encryption. If it's an older 32-bit Qualcomm chip, it might not, and the encryption would have to be done by the CPU alone. That would be significantly slower, as many Nexus 6 owners could attest.

The pricing for the Blackphone 2 is unknown, but interested customers can contact Silent Circle's sales team for a pre-order.

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Lucian Armasu
Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software news and the issues surrounding privacy and security.
  • gangrel
    If you're worried about mobile security, then twouldn't surprise me, this would be a very good choice. The target audience for this would seem to not need gaming performance or play a whole lot of videos.

    Besides, it would be totally cool to be able to say, "excuse me a moment, I'm getting a call on the Black Phone." :)
  • gangrel
    Oh, and the device page describes the processor...1.7 GHz octa-core. IIRC that leaves both the 615 and 810 in the running, and probably the Samsung Exynos that's similar to the 810. Either way, encryption should run quickly.
  • falchard
    I think the phone call from Alice would be better with an Anonymous Mask instead of a stock photo. Missed marketing opportunity.