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Pre-orders kick off for security-focused Blackphone

Pre-orders kick off for security-focused Blackphone
A display of the Blackphone, a smartphone that prioritizes user privacy and security. (Blackphone)

Consumers can now preorder the Blackphone, an Android smartphone that promises to keep users' data private and secure.

Silent Circle and Geeksphone, the two companies behind Blackphone, teased the privacy-focused device in January, but they did not formally unveil details of the gadget until Monday at the Mobile World Congress conference in Barcelona, Spain.

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Blackphone runs on PrivatOS, a modified version of Android that has been designed to keep user data secure. Blackphone also includes Silent Circle's suite of privacy apps, which encrypt and secure users' calls, text messages and address books.

Blackphone comes with features typically found on high-end devices, including a 4.7-inch HD screen, a 2 GHz quad-core processor, an 8-megapixel camera and 16 gigabytes of storage.

Not surprisingly, the device is priced like a high-end phone. Customers who wish to pre-order the gadget will have to pay $629, before shipping and taxes, for an unlocked version. The device is to begin shipping to users in June.

"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," Silent Circle and Geeksphone said in a statement.

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