The NitroPhone 1 is a customized version of the Pixel 4a with an extremely secure operating system and costs twice as much as the original.
The Google Pixel 4a is already a relatively secure smartphone, but Android enthusiasts who demand an even more secure product can find another smartphone of the same size. It’s the NitroPhone 1, a customized version of the Pixel 4a with the enhanced security operating system GrapheneOS.
NitroPhone 1 is a product of a German company specializing in security called NitroKey. This company specializes in selling USB drives as well as desktops and laptops with enhanced security.
In fact, the NitroPhone 1 is a Pixel 4a but does not use Android 11 operating system, but instead runs GrapheneOS. This operating system removes all Google apps and adds advanced security features including chaotic PIN codes (zeroes arranged in order 1, 2, 3, 4…), automatic kill switch that automatically shuts down the phone after a period of inactivity, and blocks any apps from accessing IMEI, MAC address, and other data.
The manufacturer also introduces this as a significantly more secure Android kernel operating system with applications that are more difficult to install, applications that are also more difficult to access system files to get data. Although applications can be installed on the device, they will only be installed in an isolated environment (sandbox) and minimize data theft. Another possibility is that the user can ask the manufacturer to remove the microphone before the phone is shipped.
On the hardware side, because it’s a customized version of the Pixel 4a, the NitroPhone 1 doesn’t have any difference except for the chip. This smartphone uses a special chip Titan M that features boot authentication, as well as making it easy to install the GrapheneOS operating system.
Security upgrades come with a price anyway. The Pixel 4a has a suggested retail price of $349, but the NitroPhone 1 costs twice as much, up to 640 Euros (about $750).
Of course, if you don’t want to lose money, you can install the GrapheneOS operating system yourself (which will be relatively complicated for ordinary users). Currently, according to the homepage, this operating system is compatible with most of Google’s Pixel lines including from Pixel 3 to Pixel 5.