Sirin Labs Unveils Smartphone With $14,000 Price Tag

The phone will only be sold to people who are identified with their passports, and the company is preparing a list of countries where the devices won't be available.

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A Solarin smartphone.
A Solarin smartphone.Credit: PR
Eliran Rubin
Eliran Rubin

How much is your mobile privacy worth to you? If it’s at least $14,000, Sirin Labs, the Switzerland-based startup backed by Israeli technology entrepreneur Moshe Hogeg, has the phone for you.

The company’s Solarin smartphone, unveiled on Tuesday in London, comes in four models with a starting price of 9,500 pounds ($13,766) not including value-added tax. For now, it is available only at the company’s store in London’s Mayfair and at Harrods.

Inside a case made of “Black Carbon Leather with Titanium,” the phone sports 2,500 components, including anti-cyberattack software supplied by the company Zimperium; encryption technology from KoolSpan, speeds of 450 megabits per second of downlink and up to 150 uplink speeds and a 23.8-megapixel camera.

Two years in the making at research and development offices in Lund, Sweden, and Tel Aviv, the phone is “aimed at the international business person who carries a lot of sensitive information but doesn’t want to compromise on usability, quality or design,” Sirin said.

Sirin Labs had been operating in stealth mode until a month ago, when Hogeg revealed that he and other investors, who include Kazakh businessman Kenges Rakishev and Chinese internet company Renren, had put $72 million into the company, which was formed three years ago.

“Cyber attacks are endemic across the globe. This trend is on the increase. Just one attack can severely harm reputations and finances. Solarin is pioneering new, uncompromising privacy measures to provide customers with greater confidence and the reassurance necessary to handle business-critical information,” Tal Cohen, Sirin’s CEO and cofounder, said in a statement.

Hogeg told the technology website TechCrunch that the phone’s security features were so powerful that to prevent abuse by criminals and terrorists, it would only be sold to people who are identified with their passports. He said the company was preparing a list of countries that the phone won’t be sold to.

The Solarin phone is being offered as an alternative to mass-market smartphones like the iPhone for business people who want to protect confidential information. After Apple’s high-profile standoff with the U.S. government over encryption, Sirin Labs’ timing for a highly secure alternative is good. In addition, the secure phone market has had no dominant player since Blackberry left in 2013.

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