What price can you put on security? If you’re after an ultra-secure smartphone then you’re probably willing to go a little over budget. But how far is too far? Considering that a top-end handset from Apple or Samsung will run you in the region of R15,000, how does ten times that much sound? And that’s a conservative estimate from Sirin Labs, who think you’ll pay more than R150,000 for a smartphone.
Sirin Labs might have a point, too. They’ve just raised $72 million in seed funding for their company on top of $23 million raised a couple of years back, so someone believes in them. Sirin, a Swiss company, has been trying to “…combine military phone and the phone for everyday use” in a single unit and they’re going to be showing said unit off at a launch in London next month.
What it’ll entail in terms of specs and features, they’re not saying yet. But they have pegged the price at between $10,000 and $15,000, with Reuters putting that tally even higher at just under $20,000. For those playing the home game, the handset could cost buyers up to R300,000. The average user isn’t the target market for a device like this, of course. Your data is only really valuable to you and people who want to clean out your bank account. And blackmailers, perhaps. But a company CEO? They might shell out for a military-spec secure phone.
We’ve seen other attempts at commercial secure smartphones, like the Blackphone which runs on Android and which can be bolstered with various subscription services. That one would have set you back R7,000 when it launched. But R150,000 to R300,000 is territory that we’ve only seen with luxury handsets like Vertu’s Ti Ferrari. We’re almost okay with our data being taken, at this point. Good thing we’re not the target market. Yet.