— Why have you decided to design this type of such device (when most of people use FB, Google etc.)?
— The device is designed to maintain user privacy above all else. That's why it doesn't have Facebook or Google on it by default. Those services exploit personal information for the benefit of the service providers, and most users don't realise how extensively their data can be shared. In that, while it doesn’t come with Facebook or Google by default, we recognize that people like to use social media apps and are sometimes ok with the information that they share. So it is possible to add Facebook or Twitter, for example, via the Amazon app store. And our security center allows you to fine-tune the permissions within the app so that you know exactly what is being shared and what is not. For instance, you might be ok for Twitter to have access to your photos but you may not want it to know your location — the blackphone security center allows you to opt in and out of these fine-grain permissions.
— Are you planning to design such a secured device, but in the form of a tablet?
— Yes, we are exploring a tablet for our family of devices.
— Are you planning to design/introduce a cheaper version of Blackphone?
— Not at this time.
— I think that it is very important to your customers to have a proper guarantee on your products. Can you say something more about? Are you planning to have only a door-to-door guarantee or will you also be outsourcing as Samsung or Nokia?
— We encourage customers to read the articles we've posted already about the company, our transparency policy, and security companies in general. We will have much more to say about these topics over time.
— Are you planning or maybe you have already decided to sell your smartphone via mobile distributors/sellers?
— We'll be selling direct, as well as through carriers and distributors.
— Have you had any problems with designing this ROM? This is Android know as full of bugs and you OS must be secure.
— We took on certain challenges and we understand in general that any mobile operating system is large and complex. There is always a risk that critical vulnerabilities will be discovered. We have put processes in place to address those quickly while keeping our customers informed
— Why do you deny to have irDA in your device?
— Few mobile phones still have IrDA. Bluetooth has largely replaced it.
— How long will you support this device and to which version of Android?
— We'll keep supporting the device at least until the last of its customers have completed their initial two-year terms. We don't know exactly when that will be yet, nor which version of PrivatOS will be in circulation at that time.
— Are you planning to refresh the version with Tegra K1 or Snapdragon 805 when will be available?
— We can't discuss our specific hardware plans at this time.
— When will Blackphone be available in Poland?
— It's already available in Poland. Starting today you can place orders at https://store.blackphone.ch and have delivery straight into Poland.
— Are you planning to introduce other accessories in the market, if so what type of accessories?
— We'll launch a range of accessories during the summer. I would expect cases, additional chargers and batteries, and perhaps one or two other surprises.
— Will the whole ROM be open-source?
— No. Some items in the ROM are used under license from third parties, so we can't release that source directly. We will, however, release what we can. I wouldn't expect a standalone version of the PrivatOS/BP1 ROM to be distributed in full though.
— Are you planning any compact version of Blackphone?
— We're planning a family of devices. You'll have to wait and see what that means!
— Carrier IQ, considered by carriers as a money saver, allows them to get user's data. Main goals of Blackphone is protecting user's data. Were there any problems cutting a deal with carriers because of this conflict of interests?
— We don't use Carrier IQ and won't allow carriers to specify it be included in any phones they sell.
— It is possible to use apps from Google Play and still keep high level of data protection?
— It depends on the apps. For example, the Google Maps APK is reported to install as a standalone app and doesn't require a Google credential to login and search maps or driving directions. However it is unknown whether the app is reporting anonymous data above and beyond the simple searches for addresses and the database queries for turn-by-turn instructions.
Conversely, many Google apps simply won't install because the underlying GMS system services aren't present on the phone. We haven't studied this in detail and don't have any more information about it.
In general the use of apps which require a login or some other form of self-identification will, by definition, result in the user being trackable at least within the context of that app. We do encourage Blackphone customers to use the Security Center to ensure that, for example, permissions for questionable activities are disabled. Games shouldn't need location services, or even network access in many cases, just to give one example.