Blackphone launching a privacy-focused app store next year
Blackphone, the handset that claims to be able to protect users against surveillance and other security threats, is set to launch its own app store.
The service will be available from January 2015 and will offer privacy-focused apps and software that have been selected to provide the highest level of security available.
All of the apps are compatible with Blackphone’s PrivatOS operating system, which is a modified version of Google’s Android KitKat platform. PrivatOS also comes with a number of pre-installed apps such as the Silent Circle package, which provides encrypted communication, anonymous web browsing and cloud storage solutions by SpiderOak.
Blackphone users are also able to wipe their device or recover any data remotely.
The latest update to the operating system, PrivatOS 1.1, which is also set to launch early next year, aims to be even more secure than its predecessor. Users who download the update will be able to create separate spaces or compartments to hold different apps or files, as part of a new feature called "Spaces".
"With most smartphones, separating work and play means compromising either privacy or convenience: either work apps and data live in the same place as personal games and social media apps, or users carry two devices to guarantee privacy and separation," the company wrote online.
"Spaces can separate work life from personal life, a 'parents only' space from a kid-friendly one, or any other separation users can dream up -- no compromises needed".
Despite Blackphone’s security claims, some industry experts have questioned how much protection the handset can offer users. While the device’s lack of pre-installed apps from Google means users are not sharing data unwittingly with the search engine giant, government surveillance programs like the recent PRISM scandal are unlikely to be thwarted by the phone’s security features.
Despite this, the launch of a dedicated app store should at least give Blackphone owners a wider choice of software for the handset.
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