Sirin Labs Releases the Solarin: Android’s Costly High Security Phone

sirin phone
Image Credit: Charles McLellan, ZDNet

Safety is invaluable to most people. Android, however, has put a hefty price on optimum privacy. Recently in London, Sirin Labs, partnering with Android, debuted their launch product, the Solarin, a smartphone which the company stated was designed with the security of high-end clientele in mind. At a comical cost of $14,000 plus tax, Sirin Labs is risking failure by entering into a highly selective market.

At the release, Sirin Labs announced that the Solarin would feature militarily derived communication encryption technology. Android is concurrently partnering with security firms Koolspan and Zimperium to secure all data on Solarin phones. The question is what exactly diversifies this smartphone so distinctly. The Priv by Blackberry, also powered by Android, supposedly features high security as well.

Analyzing the pros of the Solarin, it’s obvious it’s main contributing factor is how secure it is. According to the Verge, it even has a hidden switch imbedded into the back of it which, when flipped, “sets the phone on cybersecure mode, allowing only outgoing voice calls and securely encrypted messages.” However, to the average smartphone user, investing in cutting-edge privacy may seem more like paranoia. Users of the iPhone are less concerned about the originality of their four digit passcode while being drawn in by the ability to stream live on an app, capture high quality videos and directly access thousand of apps. The Solarin offers features on the other end of the spectrum, leaning away from integrating any creative and luxury aspects of a phone.

sirin phone hands
Image Credit: Pocket Lint

With the Solarin lacking features general tech-users seek, its cons become more apparent and begin to outweigh the steep investment. One software engineer of Sirin Labs described the Solaris as “less than a feature phone” — as it honestly should be portrayed. Inside the Solarin is a Snapdragon 810 2GHz eight-core processor — disappointing to hear since just last year Samsung passed up this exact processor as it was too slow.

Other cons are its 5.5-inch length and inconvenient half pound weight, mostly due to its battery, a large 4,000mAh. What’s most disappointing about this product is how highly Android and Sirin Labs have described their product, even daring to claim that its camera is the “best in the world.”

According to The Verge, when writer Vlad Savov tried the Solaris for himself, he wasn’t impressed. In reference to his experience, he said, “The Solarin’s camera has plenty of spec sheet appeal with a four-color flash sitting next to a 24-megapixel shooter with laser autofocus and f/20 lens. But its pictures are blurry, overexposed and immediately unimpressive. This phone is clearly designed to appeal to a select group of people.”

The Verge reported that in an interview with Sirin Labs, when asked about their customer base and success method, they replied, “Our customers are very, very smart people,” and that their “core customers are international business travelers, entrepreneurs and partners in financial firms.” For these individuals, distinct pros may heavily outweigh the cons in order to obtain maximum security.

The Solarin contains 128GB of storage and comes with its security system already installed. According to the Verge, the previously installed system will aid the smartphone’s success, as Blackberry’s Priv, for example, wouldn’t have updates to receive it until the end of May.

Image Credit: Charles McLellan, ZDNet
Image Credit: Charles McLellan, ZDNet

Sirin Labs is taking a chance on the Solarin, and we are excited to see what will become of it. At such a high price, the phone will be admired by many who truly need it but pointless to the general population of phone users.

High-end security in smartphones isn’t a virgin market, and it’s not the first phone to claim an “optimum privacy experience” though the Solarin shows promise for its distinct differentiators separating it from similar products on the market. Android took a chance with the Solarin, and the reviews are currently less than expected. Possibly Sirin Labs will eventually come up with additional features while lowering the steep cost, creating a broader market for the Solarin.

In the meantime, Android can only thrive off the paranoia of wealthy individuals who are willing to put a high price on their privacy.

The Verge

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