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Blackphone, First ‘Privacy Optimized’ Smartphone, Ships Monday

In an age when massive hacks and digital snooping regularly make headlines, the makers of the Blackphone are betting that people are willing to pay good money for privacy. It’s being called the “first privacy optimized smartphone” by its makers, Silent Circle and Geeksphone, who unveiled the device six months ago at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The Blackphone runs on PrivatOS, a “security-enhanced” version of Android, and promises encrypted voice calls and text messages. It also features increased control over app permissions, anonymous Web browsing, encrypted cloud storage and more. The price for privacy: $629. Aside from its security features, it’s not that different from other Android phones, sporting a 4.7-inch screen, 16 GB of storage and an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera. The Blackphone ships today for people who pre-ordered it ahead of time, with new orders starting on July 14.

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- Keith Wagstaff