Mobile Phones

Sirin Labs’ Solarin smartphone: $16k privacy device

Sirin Solarin SmartphoneLondon was home to a new phone unveiling today. Sirin Labs showed off Solarin, a privacy-centric smartphone with the astonishing price tag of $16,000.

Already you have probably done a couple of double-takes. A phone that costs $16,000? How could they justify that price? In a rather hyped launch presentation today on a stage in the UK, the creators of the Android device did their best.

The Future Is Here…And It’s Ugly

Right away people across the web have started commenting on the design of the Solarin. In a time when smartphones are becoming thinner, sleeker, and more aesthetically pleasing, Sirin Labs went the other way.

The device is huge and thick, with a clunky outer shell that looks like it could act as a deadly weapon. When I compared my hang to photos of the developers holding it, I knew that my rather tiny digits would be hard pressed to even maintain a comfortable grip on the thing, much less use it.

While it is only a 5.5″ smartphone, the square design and thick body make it seem much larger. It weight in at more than 1/2 lb.; compare that to recent laptop releases like the Asus ZenBook 3, which is only two pounds for an entire computer.

This is explained by some of the hardware.

Sirin Solarin Tech Specs

First thing to note in the battery, which is massive at 4,000 MAH. That was one focus of the presentation, as well as the Snapdragon 801 processor, 4 GB RAM, and 120 GB storage (non-expandable…boo).

But what sets this smartphone apart is that it has a switch on the back. This switch turns it into a security mode that encrypts messages, and turns off several features that can be a security hazard. Voice calls (outgoing only) are still allowed, and presumably not able to be listened in on.

Even with the added security, you have to wonder what makes the creators think that anyone would pay $16k for it. According to the presentation, it is because their customers are “very, very smart people.” Gag me.

Don’t get me wrong, a phone aimed at promoting security, and especially one that shows off more than proof of concept, is great. But already they are sending a message about who deserves that privacy, and how much it is worth. The outrageous cost puts a damper on the product, and their drunk-on-their-own-brilliance cringeworthy presentation didn’t do anything to help make it an approachable product.

Source: Sirin Labs

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