SGP Technologies, the joint venture of Silent Circle and Geeksphone, is pleased to announce Blackphone, the world’s first smartphone which places privacy and control directly in the hands of its users.  Blackphone is now available for pre-order to individuals and enterprises as an unlocked device with a starting price of US$629, and will also be available through selected partner carriers from launch, including KPN Mobile, the inaugural launch carrier for Blackphone serving European regions including Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. Customers will always have the option of buying direct rather than through a carrier if that is their preference.

Blackphone includes a unique combination of operating system and application tools which offer unparalleled security and privacy to information workers, executives, public figures, and anyone else unwilling to cede ownership of their privacy to other authorities.  Blackphone’s PrivatOS, built on Android™, and combined with a full suite of privacy-enabled applications, allows users to regain control over their communications activities.  No longer will the use of a smartphone demand acceptance of unauthorized surveillance, commercial exploitation of activity data, and the loss of privacy, security and fundamental human rights.

Blackphone is powered by a >2 GHz quad-core SoC and features a full set of premium features, such as a 4.7″ HD IPS screen, LTE, HSPA+, 2GB DDR3 RAM, 16GB of storage, >8MP primary camera with flash and 1.3MP front camera, Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11n WiFi, GPS, and more.  Certain specifications are subject to change and may be adjusted prior to shipping the first phones later this year.

Selling for US$629 (plus shipping and any local taxes or duties for the destination address), Blackphone is a real no-excuses solution for traveling executives looking to BYOD, families concerned about personal security, and anyone else who understands the value of maintaining personal privacy rather than giving it away for free.

Blackphone comes unlocked and features several pre-installed privacy tools, all of which are fully enabled for at least two years of usage.  These tools include the Silent Circle suite of apps, including Silent Phone, Silent Text, and Silent Contacts; anonymous search, private browsing, and VPN from Disconnect; and secure cloud file storage from SpiderOak. In addition, Blackphone ships with the Smart WiFi Manager from Mike Kershaw, Chief Architect for SGP Technologies, and a powerful remote-wipe and device recovery tool.

“We wanted to deliver not just the best privacy, but the best total package,” said Toby Weir-Jones, SGP Technologies’ Managing Director.  “Blackphone offers unprecedented value in a turnkey secure communications platform, and it’s easy enough to use that anyone who’s used a smartphone before will feel right at home as soon as they turn it on.”

Existing Silent Circle users can add an additional two years of use to an existing subscriptions, or initiate new subscriptions at the time of activating their new phone.  Provisioning and subscription management will be handled on the phone itself via the Blackphone Activation Wizard.  In addition, PrivatOS offers frequent Secure Over-The-Air (SOTA) updates directly from SGP Technologies, rather than relying on carriers to approve and release updates.  Blackphone will also ship with the Blackphone Activation Wizard and the Blackphone Security Center.

“We are committed to creating and supporting privacy-preserving technologies,” said Casey Oppenheim, co-CEO of Disconnect.  “We are thrilled that Disconnect Search is the default search provider for Blackphone, and that users will receive our Secure Wireless app, which is a smart VPN designed to provide safe browsing and in-app activity, and to stop wireless eavesdropping over Wi-Fi, 3G, and 4G networks.”

“We signed on to the Blackphone project with great excitement,” according to Ethan Oberman, co-founder and CEO of SpiderOak.  “We have created a special SpiderOak Blackphone Edition which offers a 250% increase in secure, zero-knowledge cloud storage capacity over the free account you can sign up for via our website.  We can’t wait to hear stories from Blackphone users about how they’re taking advantage of this integrated storage solution.”

Blackphone also includes 3 separate 1-year ‘Friends and Family’ subscriptions for the Silent Circle suite, ensuring that every Blackphone customer will be able to speak securely with trusted friends and family with Apple or Android phones from their first day of ownership.

“I have spent my whole career working to uphold the objectives of privacy,” said Phil Zimmermann, Co-Founder of Silent Circle and author of PGP.  “Now that the mobile technologies are mature enough, we couldn’t be more proud of the launch of Blackphone, the first mainstream, fully-integrated secure communications phone, designed for anyone to use as easily as the legacy phones they’re used to already.”

Javier Agüera, Co-founder  and CEO of Geeksphone said: “We are in a time of profound change in the industry. We are proud to have the privilege to be part of this transformation with a unique product, working with fellow innovators as extraordinary as Silent Circle, Disconnect and SpiderOak.”

Blackphone is scheduled to ship to the first end users in June 2014, and testing units will be provided to partner carriers in the April timeframe.