Blackphone+ Tablet is Tailor Made for Tinfoil Hat Wearers

By Gerald Lynch on at

With mobile as great a target for hackers as your virus-ridden PC, Silent Circle's Blackphone, with its promise of an unhackable operating system in the wake of the NSA/Snowden saga, was a winner. The company's now taking its security expertise and applying it to the larger form factor of a tablet with the Blackphone+ -- arguably the more natural move, seeing as tablets are a more obvious "getting work done" bring-your-own-device tool than your phone.

Bill Conner, CEO and president, Silent Circle. "This is a next-generation Apple. Silent Circle is going to make devices that are transformative and protected in a way that users don't have to think about."

Much of the Blackphone+'s appeal lies on the software side. Though built on Android, it uses the Private OS 1.1 interface on top. This makes use of a "Spaces" UI, keeping the different areas of your life secure and separate. It offers an Enterprise Space for your work documents and communications, the Personal Space for your own stuff, and a Silent Space that's privacy orientated (your "Incognito Mode", if you like), containerised away from everything else. It's essentially a virtualisation system that allows for separate "devices" within the phone itself, down to different log-ins running concurrently for different services and apps on the tablet.

Each space can be kitted out with the "Silent Suite" -- Silent Text, Silent Contacts and Silent Phone, keeping your communications encrypted and isolated from each other. There's also a Silent Store, geared towards enterprise as the world's first privacy-focussed app store.

Finally,there's a new Silent Meeting function, enabling secure conference calling on multiple lines, with scheduling and invitation tools that aren't a headache to set up. No need for pin codes and the like, so long as all users are using the Silent Meeting application.

"We're the black sheep -- while the rest of the market is going one way, with selfie sticks and curved screens, we're going down another, to the heart of problems, sticking with privacy and security," added Silent Circle's Mike Janke (interestingly, a former US Navy Seal as well as a security specialist. This guy can keep secrets).

"Never before have private citizens been under barrage by governments and hacking [...] We're replacing BlackBerry, we don't care that BlackBerry's CEO is throwing nasty things about us onto Twitter. We're going to dominate them."

With tablet sales stalling, it's the enterprise and business area that stands the most chance of showing any growth -- Sony's Xperia Z4 tablet with keyboard points in that direction. Silent Circle's security pedigree makes its latest gear a safe bet for paranoid IT managers though, and with a secure app marketplace headed to the platform too, the Blackphone+ tablet won't necessarily have to be all work and no play either.

Pricing and full specs are yet to be revealed, but the Blackphone+ will launch in autumn.

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