How important is user privacy to smartphone owners? Very important, judging by the $163,640 (and counting) that the Murena 2 Kickstarter has managed to rake in, with eight days of crowd-funding remaining. That's roughly £133,725 or AU$257,265.
The phone itself will be priced at $499 / £429 / AU$829 when it goes on sale, and its unique selling point is that its fitted with two physical privacy switches – one switch to actually interrupt the circuitry around the phone camera and microphone, and another switch to completely disable connectivity.
That means remote hackers and on-board apps have no way of secretly spying on your activities or feeding back information to the web. "Our ambition is to create the upmost pro-privacy smartphone in the privacy landscape," says Murena.
The Murena 2 phone also comes with the privacy-focused, open source /e/OS software, which includes features such as IP address hiding and app tracker blocking. It's connected to Murena Cloud, a private online vault for pictures, videos, and other files that our review concluded could become "one of the major players in years to come".
How good are the specs?
If you're considering investing, key specs include 8GB of RAM, 128GB of on-board storage, and a 6.43-inch OLED display running at a 2400 x 1080 resolution. There's a triple-lens 64MP + 13MP + 5MP camera on the back, and a MediaTek Helio P70 chip under the hood.
The usual Kickstarter caveats apply here, in that these projects aren't guaranteed to reach fruition – so you may not end up with an actual phone in return for your money. However, the Murena One was successfully launched, which came with all the software privacy protections but without the physical switches.
In comparison, both Android and iOS let you control which apps can access the camera and microphone, as well as displaying indicators that let you know when these components are in use – but we haven't seen a physical protection switch before.
You can find out all the details about the Murena 2 from the Kickstarter page, and decide for yourself whether or not it's the next phone for you. You can get some money off if you invest early, or wait for the handset to actually go on sale and pay full price.
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Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.