Putting a price on security: meet the $14,000 Solarin phone


What's a little peace of mind worth to you? In a world full of gated communities, unlisted phone numbers, and private security firms, people are obviously willing to pay pretty well in order to keep themselves and their information safe and secure. And with as much of our lives connected to our mobile devices as they are, it shouldn't be any surprise that smartphone users have similarly found themselves seeking out handset solutions that put a priority on security – even if that protection comes at a serious premium. We've already seen this with phones like the BlackBerry Priv and Silent Circle's Blackphone models, and now we're learning about a new handset making bold claims of security while dangling a luxury-only price tag, as Sirin Labs reveals its Solarin phone.

The Blackphone 2 and Priv were at the upper end of flagship pricing when they both landed, but they've got nothing on the Android-running Solarin, which starts for around $14,000.

What does that kind of money get you? Well, Sirin Labs co-founder Moshe Gogeg is clear that his company isn't about delivering phones that are heavy on the bling but light on features, and the Solarin instead goes with a (comparatively) reserved design free of over-the-top ornamentation. That said, there are a number of material options to choose from, each with their own look.

Instead, the emphasis is on the phone's security. Gogeg is light on details about exactly how his handset will be markedly more secure than other Android-based “secure” phones out there, and seems to put as much emphasis on the privacy-friendly Swiss laws governing the operations at Sirin Labs as any technical measures actually hardening the phone against attack. We do know that the handset includes a number of secure messaging apps, in addition to a standard-looking assortment of Android security features.

That's asking a lot of faith, especially with this much money on the line, and it remains to be seen both if these promises of no-compromise security will actually deliver, as well as if shoppers are quite so eager to drop this kind of cash on a secure phone.

The Solarin phone runs last year's Snapdragon 810 SoC, has a 5.5-inch 2560 X 1440 display, and a 24MP/8MP camera pair. There's 4GB of RAM, an impressive 128GB of flash storage, and a very nicely sized 4,040mAh battery. All in all, that makes for quite the solid-sounding phone, but again - is it solid to the tune of $14,000?


source: Sirin Labs via Engadget

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11 Comments

1. Hellouser

Posts: 39; Member since: Feb 05, 2015

How is blackberry secure and private? I wouldn't buy a phone that has keys floating around for government use. We should stop acting like Blackberry is secure and the government sec should not be using them.

8. Arthurhkt

Posts: 723; Member since: Apr 19, 2012

There might be 3 reason for BlackBerry doing this. First, it is really for security purpose. Second, they "think" it is for better security. Third, they doesn't want to lose their main market sector.

2. nebula

Posts: 1009; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

Why those super expensive phones are so ugly!

3. NoAllegiance unregistered

Looks like a tin of tuna

4. zunaidahmed

Posts: 1183; Member since: Dec 24, 2011

More like a ton of spam, if unknown what I mean, lol.

5. Kumar123 unregistered

Simply hideous. My god when I saw the back of the phone for the first time it made me nauseated. Disgusting design.

6. xq10xa

Posts: 810; Member since: Dec 07, 2010

Someone get Hillary this phone.

7. AppleVersusAndroid unregistered

That's a lot of words considering the only useful information about the phone is contained in the last paragraph. According to TheVerge the phone contains a privacy switch that is supposed to enable secure phone calls and it claims to have military-grade encryption. If you're going to post about a secure phone, even if the information is sparse, at least include what makes it a secure phone instead of speculation. Change the headline if you're not going to tell us why there is a price on security.

9. djkhalid

Posts: 156; Member since: Jul 01, 2013

$14,000 that thing better cook, clean, and give blowjobs too

10. villagerguyz

Posts: 96; Member since: Jul 22, 2015

Better spend $14000 for buying a decent small car instead of this fcking ugly phone!!!

11. aReefer

Posts: 52; Member since: Mar 21, 2015

I'm pretty sure that any person with basic knowledge of apps and security and something to hide could happily install a bunch of 3rd. party apps from Google Play that will do the job for free (minus the price of a standard Android). Signal encrypts SMS's (text messages) sent to other Signal users, Redphone encrypts VoIP calls to ther Redphone users, Telegram (and recently even Whatsapp) use end to end encryption by default on their networks, and there are plenty of free antivirus apps in there as well like Avast for example. Why spend $14,000 on a device that you can basically 'build' yourself in about 5 mins for free?

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