Silent Circle, the Switzerland-based developer championing mobile encryption and privacy with its Blackphone handset, has announced a new enterprise focus by teaming up with Google's Android for Work programme.
The Blackphone 2 is due out this autumn and will feature integration with Google services, something the original Blackphone lacked due to security concerns.
The programme currently partners with a range of network carriers and independent software companies, including Sprint, T-Mobile, Adobe and Salesforce.
As part of the move, Google Play and Google Mobile Services will now feature in Silent Circle's Android-based Silent OS operating system.
Silent Circle chief scientist Javier Agüera told V3 that the Blackphone 2 is already in use by many types of users and the Android for Work partnership should help broaden this appeal.
"We think of enterprise users as normal users," he said, explaining that privacy is now on the agenda for most businesses but remains more niche in the mainstream market.
"The Blackphone is easy to use, not complicated, and a product that can be used by anyone," he added. "There's military using it in war zones, people using it at office desks and white collar workers using it."
Agüera explained to V3 that Silent Circle has worked alongside Google to ensure that the phone is 100 percent compatible with Android-based applications and services, and that it is already protecting the privacy of users.
One major feature is Spaces, an option that provides an extra degree of control over the security of applications.
Spaces allows users to create and manage separate 'containers' on the Blackphone and keep applications and data separate from each other. This folder-like function provides the ability to keep work files and personal files separate and secure.
When asked about security concerns following the discovery of the Android Stagefright exploit, Agüera said that the flaw has been fixed in the Blackphone for some time but acknowledged that security problems will always occur.
"Some we will be prepared for, some not. If someone tells you that a device is 100 percent secure they are lying because it's impossible," he said.
Nevertheless, the Blackphone 2 offers end-to-end encryption if both parties are using the Silent Circle handsets.
The company clarified to V3 that, if a Blackphone user makes a call to a non-encrypted handset, only the call at the Blackphone end will be encrypted.
Bill Conner, president and chief executive of Silent Circle, said that the Android for Work partnership is a way to take the company forward.
"Privacy is about being able to decide and control what information to share and how you share it," he said.
"We're delighted to join the Android for Work programme. It's a significant step forward in Silent Circle's development which enables us to deliver privacy and security to a broader enterprise customer base."
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