Silent Citcle is what Google could have been if Android was customer focused first. Even though their devices and subscriptions are geared toward the mobile enterprise, their philosophy and the Apple philosophy about why the Administrator of mobile enterprise devices should be user-centric in the areas where private user information is stored, where Google’s Android is IT controlled (hence ‘Spaces’ on Black Phone 2) and privacy and security are dependent upon IT not violating the privacy rights of the user.
Under the hood
Black phone runs Android. It’s hardened Android….but it is still Android and because they have no control over how the direction of the AOSP is steered, their offerings will still always be based on what Google hands everyone else in lieu of privacy and security technologies at the operating system level. BP2 includes SC’s voice and messaging apps, and other apps running on their hardened skin of Android.
They curate their own App Store. So they now have control over, and take responsibility for, all of the applications the user can install.
Silent Circle was founded by Mike Janke. I’ve heard him speak on privacy in mobile and he is quite serious about it. He is an outspoken advocate of privacy and secure communications. He brings an aspect of security in communications that The Cupertino executives don’t have – as a SEAL, he understands from an operators perspective that shared data whether authorized or unauthorized can compromise security.
“….**We quickly learned that having an app that does secure communications is only as good as the phone it’s on.**” So they took responsibility for the hardware platform.
Because they don’t own the operating system and therefore can’t bake any security into the hardware that the operating system doesn’t support (like secure enclave), and don’t have a finance and purchasing initiative (Like ApplePay) they are missing out on key aspects of mobile computing – secure e-commerce platform that prevents defrauding the mobile user at the merchant information systems level. The only way someone can justify this if they don’t believe in or simply don’t want to take responsibility for paymen systems in mobile computing.
But that doesn’t mean they can’t.
Unlike the iPhone, the Black Phone inception was based on filling the privacy and security gap in mobile computing. That was the focus and that’s why Janke, the PGP guy and Apple’s disk encryption wizard founded SC.
U ntill they can get a hold of the operating system, I don’t see how they can take responsibility for mobile payment.
iPhone comes out on top….for now.
Read me on Quora: