Mobile accessories very rarely offer something extremely unique and artistic. Minnesota based John Woodland and Jon Lucca have earned both of those titles with their new line of paper iPhone cases called Twig. I was completely unaware of Twig until a co-worker of mine was looking extremely fashionable with her new Wilco phone case. Personally, the draw to the case had nothing to do with the band Wilco, but everything to do with the detail, artistic vision, and the fact that these cases were actually made of stacks of paper. At first glance the works of art resembled Andre Amador’s beach drawings, but on a phone case. The one downfall is you will pay a premium to own one. Twig will attract a niche market who will be okay with paying between 60 and 80 USD for an iPhone case. On the flip side these cases are 100% made from start to finish in Minnesota. Keep in mind there is also a 30 day try policy, and a six month guarantee of defects. That’s what I call product confidence. Twig’s website showcases product only for the iPhone 4, 4S, 5, and 5S.
Now that the curtain has been pulled back on the NSA’s data collection, many questions loom about the usage of consumer’s cell data. One revolutionary new product is taking these questions head-on, and it’s called Blackphone. Madrid based Geeksphone has teamed up with Washington, DC based Silent Circle, and made it perfectly clear that Blackphone’s number one priority is the budding new commodity, user privacy. Co-Founder Phil Zimmermann also gives us extremely strong vibes that he’s not interested in profiting from user data. Which is quick a way to get customers on board. However, while the co-founder seems ambitious to make our data safer, it’s a tall order to deliver on. But we can’t give enough credit for trying.
The relevant information we have on the Blackphone thus far is that it’s a smartphone being designed by a small group of global cryptographers putting user privacy ahead of everything. Co-Founder & Silent Circle CTO Jon Callas summed it up best by saying “It’s configured, setup, and modified so that the privacy aspects of it are all melded together. From the security parts of the CPU, to the hardware of the phone, to the operating system and apps so that just about everything you do, is private.” On paper this sounds like a genius idea.
It appears that the phone uses GSM technology which stores user info on a SIM card. It is worth noting that in the USA, AT&T and T-Mobile are both GSM carriers, however Sprint, Verizon, and U.S. Cellular use CDMA technology. CDMA technology stores user info on a network, not a SIM. On a basic level you can see why they chose GSM. Because this phone will be vendor-independent you will be able to pick your GSM carrier. We also know that the OS will be PrivatOS which is Andriod based. The unveiling of the actual phone will be done in Barcelona at the Mobile World Congress in late February.
The three conclusions we can draw about the Blackphone at this point is that their number one goal is to protect user data. The technology has a ridiculous upside, if it can deliver. And finally, promising data security is something companies love to do, unfortunately not delivering is too. We can’t help rooting for Blackphone’s success. User privacy mixed with potential open source sounds like a positive step in resurrecting consumer confidence in cellular data. At the very least, it might alarm the competition. Let’s hope Blackphone can make phone technology like they can over the top promo videos.