Silent Circle’s Blackphone 2 Adds Encryption, More Enterprise Security Layers, to Android for Work

Android for Work, Google’s enterprise management and security solution for employees packing Android phones, has welcomed a security-specialized smartphone into the fold: Silent Circle’s Blackphone 2.

Blackphone runs Silent Circle’s own security-centric, Silent OS version of Android and various security management apps. It also uses the company’s proprietary VoIP protocol – ZRTP – to build in encryption for voice, and SCIMP protocol to secure text messaging. Conferencing and video calling are also encrypted, and all communication runs through Silent Circle’s own network.  

Since Silent Circle uses its own implementation of VoIP, encryption is carried out end-to-end only between two Silent Circle subscribers.

The Spaces feature of Silent Circle’s Blackphone keeps personal and company applications and data in separate containers. IT managers can remotely wipe or lock up everything on the work side of a device’s split personality, should it be lost or stolen.

Android for Work comes with its own set of security features, allowing IT to administer work profiles, policies and permissions. Android for Work devices are also protected with disk encryption, screen lock, and remote attestation services, which can alert third parties to any changes made to software. 

Silent Circle adds peer-to-peer encryption of all communication sessions to that, without storing keys. Also: automatic destruction of selected messages, Web-based device and app management, and Silent Store, its own vetted collection of privacy-focused apps from third parties. Silent Meeting is a secure conference app with visible attendee presence and no access codes to remember.

Blackphone 2, due out in September, adds processor cores, storage capacity, display size, camera pixel count, and other upgrades to the first-gen model. It will support both Google Mobile Services and Google Play, and also offer expanded support for existing mobile-device management (MDM) applications such as vmWare’s Airwatch and Citrix XenMobile. It ushers Silent Circle into the Android for Work ecosystem, which now includes 40 device manufacturers, application developers and management providers.

Blackphone was first marketed and designed for particularly security-conscious individuals; likewise its app offering, the Silent Phone, for ordinary Androids. Silent Circle has since seen three-quarters of its sales revenue come from the corporate world. In announcing integration with Android for Work, the company redirects its sights more squarely on the enterprise market.

“With support for Android for Work, companies can strike their own balance of control over data and connectivity with established productivity services that are used throughout the enterprise,” said Silent Circle’s David Puron, SVP Engineering, Devices, in a statement.

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