February 25th 2014 7:00 am

78

Putting a price on privacy

78

If privacy is important to you, the Blackphone is almost certainly what you're after in a mobile device. Besides, you don't have much choice currently. One thing I'm still coming to terms with, however, is the concept of selling peace of mind. As Edward Snowden continues to leak information about how the NSA and other national government agencies were/are hoovering up every bit of personal data available to them, digital privacy has never been a hotter topic. With people wanting more control over how their data is handled, it was inevitable that products like the Blackphone would appear.

There's a fine line between leveraging a mild global hysteria to sell a niche and expensive smartphone, and creating the best possible product to serve a growing market need -- and in that sense, PrivatOS and the Blackphone's bundled apps are likely to satisfy even the most demanding privacy-conscious consumer. I guess it doesn't really matter either way: Nobody's forcing anyone to buy a super-secure handset. And, even if the Blackphone is one of a new, shrewd generation of opportunistic ventures in this area, it can't be blamed for creating the demand.

Critic reviews

7.3
4 reviews
  • Reception and call quality
    6.0
  • Display
    8.0
  • Battery life
    8.0
  • Camera
    7.7
  • Ease of use
    6.0
  • Design and form factor
    7.2
  • Portability (size / weight)
    8.0
  • Media support
  • Durability
  • Ecosystem (apps, accessories, etc.)
    7.9

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User reviews

no user reviews yet
  • Reception and call quality
  • Display
  • Battery life
  • Camera
  • Ease of use
  • Design and form factor
  • Portability (size / weight)
  • Media support
  • Durability
  • Ecosystem (apps, accessories, etc.)
8.0
Engadget Oct 3, 2014

What you're really paying for, however, is a security-driven OS, complete with apps and one-year subscriptions to services that promise the same level of data privacy. And in that respect, the Blackphone is simply incomparable to anything else out there.

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7.0
Ars Technica Jun 29, 2014

If you’re someone who’s comfortable with a little bit of app sideloading and living off the Google reservation and have particular concerns about your privacy, then the Blackphone is a good fit for you—especially if you’re not worried about getting a phone company subsidy to lower its price.

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7.0
New York Times Jul 24, 2014

I don’t doubt Blackphone’s security ... I do doubt that most people need a phone as secure as the Blackphone. But hopefully some of its good security hygiene will leak into other devices and software we use every day.

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7.0
PocketNow Aug 14, 2014

If you’re a layman just interested in a little extra security, there are other, better options – at least, until Blackphone BP2 rolls around.

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First Looks

product preview
Engadget Feb 25, 2014

Finally, Blackphone comes with utilities that give the user better control over what third-party software does on their phone. We tried out a dashboard that makes it extremely easy to set the degree of access each app has to cellular networks, WiFi and locally stored info.

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product preview
TechRadar Feb 26, 2014

The phone itself is a nice device but at the end of the day, it's something that will rely on people's paranoia to sell. If data has value, so, apparently, does protecting it. The question right now is: do you consider $629 a reasonable price to do so?

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product preview
TrustedReviews Feb 26, 2014

It's expensive, and taps into security fears that – while real – often exhibit as a form of paranoia. And its key security features are actually available for other Android devices. However, it does raise awareness of the security holes in Android, and that's a good thing.

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