Today at Mobile World Congress, the encrypted phone system Blackphone announced a new phone and tablet, along with a new business focus on enterprise. The phone is called the Blackphone 2, a successor to the first Blackphone shown at MWC last year, but adds a new processor, better screen, and a larger profile overall. The tablet, called the Blackphone+, is slated for release in the fall. Both run Blackphone's secure OS, forked off of Android, which is designed to protect metadata and provide end-to-end encryption throughout.
"It’s a dramatically changed world from when Blackberry was the big player."
Based on the Silent Circle suite of software tools, the Blackphone focuses on secure calling and texts, offering no built-in email product after the shuttering of Silent Mail in 2013. (The company is working on an encrypted mail protocol called DarkMail, but there's no word on when it might be ready.) Despite the lack of email, Blackphone is hoping the new devices will appeal more to businesses, newly conscious of data security in the wake of the Sony Pictures hack. The company has added new conference calling feature to its software, and is preparing a new push for growth after a funding round and an acquisition. Notably, the Blackphone system is designed to run all communications as app data, which allows for ephemeral messaging and could potentially protect against the SIM-based attacks made possible by the recently revealed Gemalto attack.
In part, the shift is inspired by changes in the marketplace for enterprise security. As the market has shifted to app-based phones, many of the major players have scrambled to restore enterprise security features. In November, Samsung partnered with BlackBerry to beef up its Knox encryption systems. "I’m looking at what enterprises need in the next five years, not what they need in the last five years," Silent Circle CTO Jon Callas told TechCrunch. "It’s a dramatically changed world from when Blackberry was the big player. And that’s part of why they’re having problems now."