Silent Circle unveils Blackphone 2 Android phablet (B2B EPP MDM CYA BBQ)

Privacy-enhanced Android redux (BYOD TLAs PDQ)

Blackphone 2 by Silent Circle is here: Phil Zimmerman's privacy-enhanced Android phone gets reincarnated as a quad-core, 5.5-inch phablet.

And this time, it's fast, usable, and based around hardware you might actually want to use.

But it's a bit spendy. Still, what price security, eh?

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers rhyme paranoid with something else. Not to mention: Kryten's EPIC rant about the VW diesel scandal...

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.

Aunty Beeb speaks peace unto nation:

The Blackphone 2 adds software to the basic Android operating system so people can fine tune what each app, service and site can know about them. [It's] aimed at businesses keen to oversee the information employees expose. [It] lets them tweak settings for each app.

The phone also enables encryption by default, can be wiped remotely and Silent Circle has committed to fix bugs and issue updates within 72 hours of discovery.  MORE

And Sean Gallagher adds name-dropping background:

Launched last year as a joint venture between the secure communications service Silent Circle and the Spanish specialty phone manufacturer Geeksphone, Blackphone's eponymous first product was an Android-based smartphone intended to provide the security and privacy that were lacking in Google's mobile operating system.

A lot has changed in a year. Silent Circle—founded by Phil Zimmerman...former Entrust chief technology officer John Calas...and former Navy SEAL and security entrepreneur Mike Janke—bought out Geeksphone. [It] renamed and rebuilt its Android-based operating system, upgraded the infrastructure of its encrypted...communications network, and built an entirely new hardware platform based on a somewhat more industry-standard chipset.

The new Silent OS adds updated security functionality, better management for enterprise users, and integration with Google [Play]. ... The Blackphone 2 is the phone your [CISO] will want your CEO to carry.  MORE

Zo Zack Whittaker zummarizez hiz in-depth review:

[Zzz... -Ed.]

The Blackphone 2 is the most secure smartphone you can get your hands on today, and it doesn't scrimp on...functionality. It's a normal Android phone...with a toughened security shell.

[But] lacking encrypted email and security certifications, it's a tough sell for...government users.

It's a winning combination. But whether or not the Blackphone 2 can pick up where the BlackBerry began to fail remains, for now, a big unknown.  MORE

Let's locate Warwick Ashford, placing his name down:

[You're fired -Ed.]

Blackphone 2 will sell at around [$800] and is the first component of Silent Circle’s enterprise privacy platform (EPP) announced at Mobile World Congress.

EPP is a cloud-based combination of software, services and devices that connect to existing Internet connections to enable privacy for the mobile enterprise...with support for Google’s Android For Work program...certified with existing mobile device management (MDM) systems, including MobileIron, Citrix, Good and SOTI.

The Blackphone 2 has an Octa-core Qualcomm processor, 3GB RAM, 32GB of internal storage plus a removable Micro SD card slot, a 5.5-inch Gorilla Glass display and a 13-megapixel camera.  MORE

Meanwhile, Thomas Fox-Brewster explains why it's needed:

Android...had its fair share of security issues this summer. ... There is justifiable anxiety amongst the operating system’s vast userbase.

[And] most Android phones aren’t encrypted by default. ... Even where users turn encryption on...the operating system often responds as if it’s had its drink spiked. [But] Blackphone 2...mixes security, privacy and usability to a level that I’ve never seen before. ... It’s slick and smart, whilst not overwhelming with its many security mechanisms.

For instance, I can tell Facebook to stop accessing my contacts or have the phone ask me when Zuckerberg’s software wants to know more about my social life. It’s no longer an all-or-nothing choice. ... I’m a big fan of the separation of profiles too. Each “space” is effectively its own mini operating system. 

Most users have little idea that simply leaving their smartphone’s Wi-Fi on can reveal much about them, constantly disclosing what routers they’ve connected to in the past. Any hacker who collects that data [can] map users’ lives. Blackphone 2...stops broadcasting that information after a given period. ... Crucially, Blackphone users are more likely to get vulnerability fixes before other Android devices, even those owned by Google.

But sheesh, that price… it’s unavoidably high. I’d be amazed if the Blackphone 2 has enough to convince the average forego cheaper high-end devices.  MORE

And Finally...
Kryten's EPIC rant about the VW diesel scandal
(while driving his Nissan Leaf through England) 

You have been reading IT Blogwatch by Richi Jennings, who curates the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites… so you don't have to. Catch the key commentary from around the Web every morning. Hatemail may be directed to @RiCHi or  Opinions expressed may not represent those of Computerworld. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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