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Blackphone to Feature NVIDIA Tegra 4i Processor, Coupled With i500 LTE Modem

More details on the Blackphone were released this morning, as it has been announced that the privacy-optimized smartphone will be powered by an NVIDIA Tegra 4i processor and i500 LTE modem. To this point, there was no exact word on which SoC would be used on the device, and it is almost a shocker to hear that it will be an NVIDIA chip; not that it’s a bad thing. 

In the press release, Blackphone gave a quick blurb about the Tegra 4i chip’s ability to meet the unique specifications and demanding performance requirements.

With competitive focus centered on uncompromising privacy and user control, Blackphone’s selection of Tegra 4i acknowledges NVIDIA’s ability to meet unique device specifications and demanding performance requirements.

Together with other world-class components and materials, Tegra 4i helps deliver on Blackphone’s promise of eliminating prior generations’ trade-offs and compromises between private, encrypted communications’ usability, accessibility and performance.

Below, the company gave an updated spec list for the device, allowing customers to know exactly what they are buying. We see the NVIDIA Tegra 4i processor clocked at 2GHz, LTE connectivity thanks to NVIDIA’s LTE modem, a 4.7″ HD display, just 1GB of RAM, 8MP rear-facing camera, a 2,000mAh battery, and its PrivatOS based on Android 4.4+ Kit Kat.

It appears to be a nice little package, purely built on a secure mobile experience, priced at $629.99. According to the company, devices will begin to ship in June. If you want one, the company’s online store is open, but devices look to be sold out for now.

Who here has already ordered themselves a Blackphone?

Blackphone specs

  • Jason Kahn

    The Store Page list’s 2GB DDR3, but the front page of the website list’s 1GB DDR3, so one of the pages is not correct

    • Here’s hoping their “updated spec sheet” is wrong.

      • abqnm

        Let’s hope so, but I doubt it. The specs page looks more official and the store page looks like it still was in development when that was posted. It lists the CPU as “>2GHz Quad Core CPU” which would indicate these were preliminary specs.

        Sadly, this means 1GB is probably the real number.

  • JP

    I thought this modem was capable of being modified by software to support all LTE bands?

  • WickedToby741

    Is this just simply a mildly customized Nvidia Phoenix reference device with the PrivatOS layered on top? Not that I’m taking issue to that, just wondering really.

  • Good_Ole_Pinocchio


  • PrivacyMan

    I love the idea, but for $629 it seems a bit steep. Why not get the OnePlus (One), that comes with Cyanogen installed, then flash a secure rom like Guardian Rom or install Guardian roms if you’re concerned about privacy.

    • coolsilver

      Firmware still has backdoors when phone is off.. so they say

      • PrivacyMan

        True. I think privacy and smartphones will never truly exist. If you have to connect to a mobile network, and said network has access to phone records, sms, etc then how are you really secure? I would love for privacy and smartphones to co-exist, just haven’t gotten there yet IMO

        • michael arazan

          Better off with security apps that encode everything then sends to another phone with the coded text and correct software to decode the messag. That way it will be encrypted over the network where it is copied and stored and won’t be able to read.

  • morteum

    The RAM and the price are a bummer.

    • Menger40

      This. The Galaxy S3 had 2GB of RAM. Why would another $600+ phone in 2014 have less than that?

  • Tony Byatt
  • abqnm

    1GB RAM? Come on.

    • i r smart

      i’m fairly certain this phone is made to place secure phone calls and secure sms. Not play games or facebook. how much ram do you need to call and text? do you have trouble understanding simple concepts?

      • abqnm

        Ah if only I were so simple. I would love to be simple. Can you teach me?

        • Mike Aurin

          Don’t feel bad abqnm…he made a legitimate point. Move on with the rest of your day.

          • abqnm

            It would also be for secure email and messaging. I don’t have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, games or any other crap installed on my phone, yet I can easily surpass 1gb of RAM usage. The operating system overhead can’t possibly be smaller than stock Android, especially with additional services needed to handle encryption/decryption, so the need for more RAM is not tied just to games or facebook.

          • boom

            The overhead could certainly be less than stock android, especially if your doing away with all the unnecessary stuff.

          • Mike Aurin

            This on top of the allegedly slimmer version of Android it’s running. This phone could potentially run easily off of a gig of RAM.

          • abqnm

            Eh, I still believe it is a poor decision given the cost of components. Sure you can condense it to run in a smaller amount of RAM, but is it worth it? I don’t believe so especially if you ever want to view more than one browser tab at a time.

          • michael arazan

            Has anyone heard of how much Tizen could use in Ram? Being open source with security minded people, they could go for a newer OS. A newer OS that no one is using and not main stream would be perfect because people aren’t trying to manipulate the software yet.

          • j__h

            That is because the os keeps unused apps in memory. This speeds launches of even your seldom used apps while with less memory a phone will still keep some apps in memory just less.

          • abqnm

            Ah, not entirely. Some apps are loaded as services when the device boots, while others are never loaded into RAM until they are used. So Android (in its stock form, at least) keeps your most recently used applications in memory as well as any services designed to run all the time. It doesn’t load up “seldom used” apps unless you actually open them and then go back to the homescreen, therefore it doesn’t speed up apps that aren’t already running in memory.

            Even just viewing a webpage can use 2-300mb of RAM on Android, per tab, depending on the site. So while this may work, again, 1GB is a bit low.

          • j__h

            I never said anything about it having unopened apps in the background and in truth it is a point that does not matter much as the general argument is true you will just have less apps in the background.

            Also ram is heavily dependent on screen resolution so a device with 720p screen does not need as much ram.

            I have had tons of open tabs on my 1gb nexus 7 without ever a problem.

          • abqnm

            I have also had many tabs open on devices with 1gb of ram. If you have more tabs open, many of them are actually written to disk, as is your launcher, while you are browsing. So it impacts performance and battery when these cached pages and apps are called up from disk, rather than maintained in RAM. Most devices now have processors and RAM fast enough to handle this without much hesitation (depending on the storage speed), it is still impacting battery and performing slower than it could.

            Considering the cost of ram, it really should have 2gb. It significantly improves the overall experience whether you use ram intensive apps or not.

          • j__h

            Android does not use swap space. It will close apps and possible tabs but that is no different than what i originally said with Android not keeping the seldom used apps (not used in a while) in memory.

        • i r smart

          apparently there is no hope for Albuquerque New Mexico.

    • j__h

      Their website lists 2GB…

    • Anthony Berry

      Well, I agree with you. 1 gig of ram is crap, might as well just stick in a 600mhz single core while they are at it. FlopPhone?

    • jmsbwmn

      UI/UX > tech specs.

      • abqnm

        I agree, totally. But in order to have a good UI/UX, you need to still have hardware that can handle it. 1GB can be enough, but usually still impacts performance enough that more is better.

    • Droidtommy

      Yeah but it’s DDR3.

      • abqnm

        Which is an improvement in speed, but speed doesn’t make up for size.