One of the most interesting corners of the Android world just arrived in the US. As of today, US customers can pick up a Blackphone 2 for just $799 — more than an iPhone 6S or a Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. In exchange for the extra money, users will get one of the most secure Android phones out there, built on an Android fork known as SilentOS that's designed to offer as little attack surface as possible. It also comes with a suite of secure software from Silent Circle, replacing the standard chat and phone apps.
We were impressed by an earlier model Blackphone at Mobile World Congress last year, although there are plenty who are skeptical of the phone's privacy promises. Like every computer, it still has vulnerabilities, and many of SilentOS's privacy defaults could be achieved by a determined user on a far less expensive phone. Blackphone's biggest advantage may be its aggressive approach to patching at a time when other Android manufacturers are lackadaysical at best. Blackphone was one of the first devices to protect against the Stagefright bug this summer, deploying the patch the same day that Google deployed it to Nexus devices.
9/29 2:21pm ET: A previous version of this piece referred to Blackphone's operating system as PrivateOS. The name was changed to SilentOS after the initial Blackphone release in 2014.