Privacy-centric Blackphone maker prepping 'high-end' tablet

A Silent Circle exec says the company will add a new device alongside its existing security-focused phone, which encrypts calls, texts, and Web browsing.


With the tablet market getting ever more saturated and sales possibly having peaked , how do you stand out? Maybe by making a tablet that lets the user hide away.

That was the thought behind the Blackphone , a smartphone that Silent Circle launched back in June . The company's focus was on privacy, first and foremost, so the Blackphone encrypts pretty much everything: texts, emails, phone calls, Web surfing, etc. Slient Circle emphasizes the user's ability to limit how much information is sent and received thanks to the phone's control center utility. It's all made possible by PrivatOS, the privacy-centric flavor of Android (though one that's not Android-certified) that Silent Circle collaborated on with  Geeksphone  to build.

Like many other Android device makers, Silent Circle has decided to make the jump from smartphones to tablets. The company's co-founder, Jon Callas, told the BBC that the firm has a tablet in the works for release "soon." Unfortunately, Callas did not provide any additional details, though he did tell CNBC that it would be a "high-end" slate. That would seem to be a given, as the Blackphone retails for $629, though that does include a year's worth of Silent Circle's mobile plan.

Needless to say, the company's device(s) fill a niche for those privacy-obsessed buyers, which are becoming a larger number thanks to celebrity hacking scandals and the like. Even PrivatOS isn't bulletproof, as it was rooted at this year's Def Con hacking conference, though the small size of the Blackphone community will insulate it from snoops looking for the biggest group to hack.

One major impediment to a "Blackphone" style tablet is that lack of Android certification, which means it can't access the Google Play Store. Silent Circle details how users can access Amazon's app store instead, though its usage tracking kind of defeats the purpose of PrivatOS. While a lack of apps might not be a nuisance to some using a smartphone, it's a major factor for using a tablet for many people. It will be interesting to see how Silent Circle handles that issue when it finally releases its tablet.