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The Sky-high Price Tag of the Solarin Smartphone

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Tom Hardy couldn’t say enough about it, but Leonardo Dicaprio didn’t say a word. What are we talking about? The recent event in London where Sirin Labs launched its Solarin smartphone, reputed to be the world’s most secure smartphone with military-grade encryption technology. Tom Hardy has one, and you can have one too for only $14,000. Say what?! Yes, did we forget to mention the Solarin is also the world’s most expensive smartphone. So with a phone that’s the same price as a new middle-of-the-range car, we just had to see what was up with the sky-high Solarin.

TOP SECURITY

The Solarin is a new Android smartphone created by Israeli-start up Switzerland-based company Sirin Labs. It promises to have encryption technology so advanced even the military doesn’t have anything better. It is, therefore, as super-secure as they come. While the Solarin uses Google Android and, like any other phone, relies on public WiFi networks, it has a special mode which is activated by a security switch on the back of the phone. When flipped the security switch activates a shielded mode where users can make calls and send messages that are fully encrypted. This implies that the Solarin contains a special chip that can handle real-time encryption/decryption of voice data. As expected, the exact mechanics of this technology is being kept under wraps by its makers. But we do know the Solarin uses 256-bit AES encryption for some of the chip-to-chip communications and that it continually monitors and prevents attempts to break into it using built-in security software. An added security feature is that the Solarin can only be accessed by fingerprint identification.

TOP FEATURES

Sirin Labs claims that the specifications of the Solarin include the best screen, best camera, best speakers, more 4G LTE bands than any other phone ever, and WiFi speeds so fast you could download a full HD movie in under five seconds. The Solarin is based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 application processor and comes with a 5.5” IPS display with 2560×1440 resolution, 120% sRGB colour gamut as well as curved Corning Gorilla Glass 4. It comes with 128 GB of NAND flash storage as well as 4 GB of LPDDR memory. It has a 23.8-megapixel rear camera, and an 8-megapixel front facing camera. For staying connected, the device supports Wi-Fi 802.11ac with a 4040mAh battery on board. It is this blend of cutting-edge technology and the promise of unprecedented security that will temp buyers.

TOP PRICE

As for the buyers themselves, with a $14,000 price tag, the Solarin is a device aimed at the 1 percent of society. Only the super wealthy will have deep enough pockets to afford such an expensive accessory. The Solarin is not, and never will be, a mass market phone, so unless you’ve got a trust fund you don’t know about or unless your last name is Kardashian, it’s highly unlikely you’ll get a Solarin. But it’s not about the ‘bling bling’ or the ‘status symbol’ though; the Solarin means to attract sophisticated rich people with an eye for value over appearance. Basically, people who don’t need to show off that they’re rich. The design of the Solarin, though sleek and refined, is rather nondescript. That’s the point; it’s about not drawing attention. But with only just going on sale from 1 June, will the Solarin get enough attention and be able to cement its reputation among the wealthiest travellers of this world? The clock’s ticking, and time will tell.

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