Blackphone has launched a major PrivatOS update, together with the promise of a new app store dedicated to privacy and security.
The handset maker announced on Tuesday its customized Android operating system, PrivatOS, is due for its biggest update since launch. PrivatOS 1.1 will include a new feature dubbed Spaces, which takes on the likes of Samsung Knox by offering the creation of separate self-contained 'spaces' for apps, data and accounts on one device.
Spaces is the result of collaboration between Blackphone and Graphite Software. While a "Silent Space" is featured by default on Blackphone handsets and includes the Silent Suite of apps for encrypted communication, Spaces can also be used to separate work and play, create dedicated areas for parents and children or to create spaces on your handset revolving around any topic -- such as travel or relaxation.
Speaking to The Inquirer, Blackphone CEO Toby Weir-Jones said he hopes the app store will encourage developers to contribute new solutions.
"We're not trying to be another untrusted, third-party app store -- there's lots of those out there already," Weir-Jones said. "We're looking to provide a selective and curated assortment of privacy-focused apps. That doesn't just include password management and email encryption apps. It's those that handle user details appropriately."
In the beginning, the app store will only offer free applications, but paid apps -- including those with in-app purchases -- will be available at a later date, according to the publication. However, these apps will have to pass Blackphone's vetting process, which will scrutinize an app's permissions. For example, if an email app also wants access to a handset's microphone and camera, it may not be suitable for a Blackphone listing.
The Blackphone app store will be available for existing Blackphone users in January 2015 before opening its doors to users on other Android handsets.
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