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Blackphone Android smartphone is now available to pre-order

Blackphone, an Android-powered smartphone designed to enable secure, encrypted communications, is now available for pre-order at a starting price of $629. SGP Technologies, the joint venture of Silent Circle and Geeksphone, launched the security-oriented smartphone at the ongoing Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2014 in Barcelona.

Blackphone’s PrivatOS, built on Android, and combined with a suite of privacy-enabled applications is said to allow users to regain control over their communications activities.

The smartphone is powered by a quad-core 2 GHz processor and features a 4.7-inch 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.

The company said that it is likely to change certain specifications prior to shipping the first phones later this year.

The security-oriented smartphone is the brainchild of technology specialists including Phil Zimmermann, creator of PGP (an early email encryption standard); Javier Aguera, co-founder of Geeksphone; Jon Callas, co-founder of PGP Inc. and CTO of Silent Circle; Rodrigo Silva-Ramos, co-founder of Geeksphone; and Mike Janke, CEO of Silent Circle and former U.S. Navy SEAL.

“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.”

Blackphone comes unlocked and includes several pre-installed privacy tools (fully enabled for at least two years of usage).

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The smartphone is scheduled to ship to the first end users in June 2014. The company also plans to provide testing units to partner carriers in the April timeframe.

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