Your first glimpse of the upcoming Turing smartphone makes one thing undeniably clear – this is not your average smartphone. And according to creators at the San Francisco-based Turing Robotic Industries, that’s exactly the point. CEO Syl Chao and his team of developers very much believe that 2015 is the end of the smartphone and the beginning of the “cipher phone”, a new era of mobile devices with futuristic industrial design and private and protected communication networks. And in the case of the Turing phone, the “cipher” (which is short for decipher) is built into every single detail – the device is virtually un-hackable. It’s a post-Snowden world we’re living in kids, these things matter now. But, so does peace of mind if you drop your phone into the tub or out the car window trying to get that perfect selfie angle – and the folks at Turing get that too.
To start with, the Turing is made out of liquidmorpheum (this is not what the Terminator was made of, I looked). Liquidmorpheum is an incredibly strong liquid metal that is 1.5 times the tensile strength of titanium yet still manages to produce that shiny, polished chrome look. It takes waterproofing to all new levels thanks to a nano-coating on all of its internals, rather than the rubber generally used to protect your device. There is no seal; if you drop your phone in the water, the insides are going to get wet – and that’s OK. Simply shake the water out of the inside and it should function without a problem. As for security features, they are the bread and butter of “cipher phones”, and the Turing has them in spades. First of all, access to the phone is granted via a fingerprint sensor on the left side of the phone, rather than the bottom center location that we’ve seen on Samsung or Apple models. According to Chao, it’s more intuitive that way. Then, right where you’d normally expect to find the microSD card is something called the Turing Imitation Key, a piece of hardware that algorithmically encrypts your data on-site, virtually eliminating the threat of being snooped on. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, users will be able to send sensitive information to one another over an encrypted network where nothing is ever stored on third-party networks. “Your information is not only encrypted, it’s encrypted by your own private key,” Chao explained. “That key was produced by a master private key. And the master private key that produces that private key – as soon as the private key is produced, it goes offline. So there’s no third-party communication involved in the production of your key.”
Despite all its attention to rugged safeguarding and secure privacy, this is a surprisingly aesthetically pleasing device. The three designs I’ve seen so far were inspired by kings like Beowulf and the Egyptian pharaohs, and include vivid colors such as purples, reds and golds in addition to varying textures and themes. Plus, it’s no slouch in the performance department. The Turing is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, 3GB of RAM and either 16, 32 or 64GB of internal storage, and comes with a 13-megapixel rear camera as well as an 8-megapixel front camera. The only complaint we may start to hear when they ship in the fall is about the lack of an included headphone jack in the device or a Micro USB for charging; however, if you’re one of the first 10,000 buyers, Turing will throw in a Bluetooth headset, micro Bluetooth controller and wireless keyboard as a thank you.
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