The security-focused Blackphone is now shipping to customers

After months of hype and reportedly millions of pre-orders, the security-focused Blackphone started shipping to early pre-order customers on Monday.The Android-based smartphone comes packed with apps for encrypted voice, video, and text messaging, as well as more control over the onboard information third-party apps can access. While pre-order phones are shipping now, new customers will be able to pony up $629 for their own Blackphone starting Wednesday, July 14 on the Blackphone website’s store. A co-creation of Silent Circle and Geeksphone, the Blackphone is a 4.7-inch handset running a security hardened version of Android 4.4 dubbed PrivatOS. Secure messaging is handled by Silent Circle’s suite of Android apps, but complete encryption only happens when you are communicating with either another Blackphone user or someone using the Silent Circle apps.

In six short months since its debut at Mobile World Congress in February 2014, Blackphone handsets are now shipping to pre-order customers. SGP Technologies, the Switzerland-based joint venture of Silent Circle and Geeksphone which created the Blackphone device, said there was an overwhelming demand for the phone. Blackphone is the first smartphone built with the user’s privacy as its core mandate. Blackphone, built on Android KitKat, gives the user private and encrypted voice, video calls and text messaging and has Wi-Fi security that stops hotspots from capturing the users wireless connection history. This is valuable for frequent travellers because their connection history can be used to track locations or patterns of activity and information about their office or home networks. The Blackphone also has a modern etch-a-sketch feature: A remote wipe tool that lets the user wipe the data on the phone from anywhere in the world. In an ongoing effort to circumnavigate the NSA’s eavesdropping agenda, Blackphone also has an anonymous web-browsing feature which which hides the users’ IP address, browser cookies and personal information. Other features via their smart VPN, prevents eavesdropping over Wi-Fi and cellular networks. Blackphone might be the first device built this way, but privacy and security have taken on renewed emphasis among consumers and companies alike.SaltDNA, a start-up out of Ireland, is focusing on security and privacy as well.

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