March 9, 2014
Blackphone, cellular security, mobile privacy, NSA, smartphones
Looks like there’s a market for privacy phones already.
It’s been less than a year that Mr. Snowden became a household name. The government slamming him for being a traitor, and some claiming him to be a hero. So what does your smartphone reveal about you anyways? What can the NSA track and what can you do about it?
Blackphone vs. FreedomPop’s Privacy Phone
Tech startups are popping up left and right. Privacy is becoming a big concern now that the world is moving into a digital age. Let’s take a look at the two smartphones that are suppose to “add an additional layer of privacy protection and Internet security from third parties”.
– Custom-designed handset by Geeksphone
– Runs on a modified version of Android with added security (called PrivatOS)
– Features a 2-GHz quad core processor with 2 GB of RAM, 4.7 in HD display and supports LTE / Wi-fi
– Unlocked, up to user to choose which cellular carrier
– Pre-loaded with Silent Circle’s own privacy apps — including Silent Phone and Silent Text, both VoIP based
– Disconnect Search and Secure Wireless doesn’t track personal information
– Has a Security center that allows users to pick and choose what each installed app can do — an “a la carte” menu
– Comes with remote-wipe and anti-theft built into the phone’s iOS
– Costs $629 up front before a carrier pay-as-you-go plan
– Includes subscription fees to a number of highly reputable and secure services, including 2 years of Silent Circle
– Does not have a pre-loaded anti-virus software
– Users can only call or text people with either Silent Call or Silent text apps – this is why they are pushing the 3 one-year subscription app deal to users
– Doesn’t use regular cellular voice and text channels
– Done via VoIP (voice over IP) on the phone’s Wi-Fi or 3G connection
– Uses the commercial virtual private network (VPN) client private Wi-Fi network to encrypt and anonymize all traffic
– VPN lets the web bowser to “bypass any website restrictions and connect to any site online” – can get through location-specific restriction, but not paywalls
– Uses the Kaspersky Internet Security for Android anti-virus app to keep the phone safe from malware
– Rely on Kaspersky Internet Security which can remotely lock, locate and wipe a missing phone
– Cost only $189 up front (which includes 3 months of unlimited voice and texting and 500MB of data) – this costs $440 less than Blackphone
– Operates on a refurbished Samsung Galaxy S II running on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean (outdated model)
– Specs include: small 4.3 inch screen, 1.5 GHz dual-core CPU and 3G only
Both creators included a disclaimer that their privacy phones are not 100% secure, but then again nothing in this age is. These phones only add an extra layer of protection to your mobile activity. If we put these 2 prototype models side by side, it looks like the Blackphone is more developed in security than the FreedomPop’s Privacy Phone – but we won’t know until these two smartphones come into the market this year.
March 9, 2014
digital, media, technology
A lot has definitely happened during my (unexpected) hiatus since the last post. This blog is going to be geared towards the digital/tech industry. But still keeping the advertising/PR perspective. The mashup between digital/tech and advertising will be a force to be reckoned with in the future.
As always, I welcome all questions from my readers. Please feel free to shoot me an email at email@example.com.
Hah, media never sleeps — even if you do.
May 16, 2013
Top tier and lower-end brands are shifting their positioning in the consumers’ eyes. While some brand names are downscaling their value, some brands such as Walmart and Mazda are trying to upscale their name in hopes of attracting more consumers to buy their products.
Why is it difficult for companies to brace for this change? Because companies are like humans. Companies don’t want to cope with the fact that consumers’ ideals are changing rapidly. In the age of social media, your brand could be dead last one day and with a viral video overnight, it could be the only brand people talk about the next day. Brands are changing constantly, but is it a good idea to shift their positioning?
The case study mentioned in Ad Age’s article, “Why JCP, Walmart, and Others Fail at Changing their Spots” talked about Ron Johnson and J.C. Penney. Ron Johnson has transformed the company into a JCP boutique-like department store and all the prices were changed to whole dollars. This transformation soon led to Johnson’s departure due to insufficient market sales, and the company had lost $985 million.
On the other end, Mercedes-Benz is hoping to catch the consumers’s eye by offering a sedan with a coupe styling for only $29,000. This car model has not been released yet, but there was a Super Bowl commercial highlighting the low price for the Mercedes, which will be unveiled in September. You know you are up to big things, when you can release a commercial 7 months prior to the actual product launch and get people talking.
So is this good strategy to get consumers buzzing about your high-end product? Probably not in the long-term. Consumers think of name brands for a reason – the top tier, the quality, the best, the superior. And price usually goes hand-in-hand with that thought. So for MB to lower its prices, it might open a new target market for them, but brand as a whole might lose some value and dollars. It’s always easier to sell something at a lower price.
May 14, 2013
Sorry for the long hiatus in blog posting. Transferring to a different school and keeping up with classes made up an interesting year.