There are a few companies working on secure phones, and Sikur announced their GranitePhone today in Barcelona, Spain. The GranitePhone runs a forked version of Android that provides users with encrypted messaging services, encrypted phone calls, and it will communicate securely with any other Android device or iOS device that is running Sikur's software. It's totally locked down and can't be altered, and that's part of the security layer. "You can't change the rules, you can't access the camera, you can't install apps," said Leandro Coletti, the company's COO.
Sikur knows that they won't sell millions of phones, but they do think they will sell about 150,000 this year. The company is demoing their secure GranitePhone Android fork running on Nexus 5 smartphones at MWC 2015. They are working on locking down a manufacturing partner and will be making their own hardware in the near future. They want to control the both the hardware and the software on their devices in order to guarantee stronger security for their clients. The finalized hardware will run on a Snapdragon processor, have a 5-inch screen, and have at least 2GB of RAM, the company said. Sikur is also working on a secure browser and secure app store for users as well.
The GranitePhone will work on normal cellular and Wi-Fi networks like a normal phone, but an owner are talking to another GranitePhone user, they can make securely encrypted "crypto calls". These calls are supposed to protected and totally private, along with any encrypted messages that two GranitePhone users may swap. The smartphone is going to be sold in Brazil, the U.S., Mexico, Colombia, Chile, and some countries in the Middle East.
The company was founded about 18 months before Edward Snowden leaked documents proving that the U.S. government was spying on its own citizens. The Snowden leak and subsequent press was a big boost for business for companies like Sikur that are focused on security and keeping customer's information private, even from the prying eyes of the government. The need is certainly there, and the Sikur should be able to capture a good piece of the market with the GranitePhone.