The modern world is undoubtedly walking into the new, age of cipher phones. Many believe that this “age” will make guaranteeing security, safeguarding and encrypting user’s data the top priority for companies. Of course, a competent design will still matter too. Syl Chao, the Chinese architect turned smartphone creator and the CEO of Turing Robotics Industries, is one of those who are bored with these humdrum rectangular bars we call smartphones. So, he decided to change the “way phones communicate”—whatever that means—and created something special called the Turing Phone.
Explaining his vision, Mr. Chao says that not everyone wants to drive a Volkswagen. According to him, there are a lot of people who want drive Lamborghinis and Ferraris. Now, most phones are Volkswagen, but a phone in Turing Robotic Industries CEO’s hand is a “supercar.” It is called the Turing Phone, and, believe me, it is anything but your typical smartphone. This hefty, blocky, and sharply designed waterproof device made from a “liquidmorphium,” or so-called “liquid metal,” is built to be an unbreakable and unhackable smartphone—the craziest invention in the world of Android devices that recently appeared on the market. It has neither a headphone jack nor a USB connector, it falls short of today’s big-brand flagships in terms of characteristics, and it has no real leather of rare reptiles like Vertu “status” phones. Instead, the Turing Robotic Industries has focused on the internal and external security of the device.
Stronger than Steel
One of the most intriguing characteristics of the Turing Phone is the material it is composed of. The device is the first smartphone in the world made from Liquidmorphium liquid metal—an amorphous alloy of copper, nickel, zirconium, aluminum, and silver that is stronger than steel or titanium. “Liquid metal” is more efficient than the said metals in manufacturing and is likely to be the next big thing in phones: the Turing Phone is almost impossible to break or even bend, meaning that you are less likely to have to eventually carry the device to repair specialists.
For a long time, there were rumors that Apple is going to use the mythical-sounding material in their new iPhone, but Turing Robotics Industries became the first company to introduce a device made of this material.
Because of the retrofuturistic design of the Turing Phone’s multicolor shell and sharp edges, it looks like the phone has arrived directly from an old sci-fi movie. Designers say that they have been inspired by Interstellar spaceship called Endurance and made “thousands, literally thousands” of sketches before they presented three different designs of the innovative phone. The designs have nontrivial names—Beowulf (inspired by the Old English epic), Pharaoh (named after Ramesses the Second), and Cardinal (red and white colors make the phone look like a comic book villain). The phone is big and quite heavy and has a 5.5-inch FHD 1920×1080 pixel screen. You can really feel the device when you hold it in your hands. There is a fingerprint scanner embedded into the left edge of the device, right where you would expect a USB connector to be. Instead of the USB, the phone can be charged only via a magnetic plug that looks like Apple’s MagSafe connector on MacBooks. This somewhat annoying design choice means that you will have to buy a few additional cables.
A special Binnacle Ocean Master hydrophobic nano-coating on all internal components makes the phone extraordinarily waterproof and, according to the company, allows the device to be submerged under 30 feet of water for a few hours. So, if you have dropped your Turing Phone in water, you can just pull it out, shake it off, and go about your business.
Named after a famous British cryptographer Alan Turing who managed to crack the Nazi encryption machine Enigma during the World War II, Turing Robotics designed its own end-to-end, decentralized authentication scheme. What is more, the phone remains fully functional offline.
This authentication method is called the Turing Imitation Key—a master public key and a master private key and bundled into a hardware chip on the Turing Key. This feature allows Turing Phone owners to obtain each other’s cryptographic keys in offline mode. When sending information to other users. You would first obtain their identity and create a key to encrypt the data you transmit.
Instead of saving files onto the device, a user is able to store content on Turing Phone belonging to other customers. That is what Mr. Chao calls “wind computing”—the approach consists in breaking the files into thousands of pieces, so making copies everywhere. It is activated through a fingerprint reader and made to keep third parties out of user’s business as much as possible. In short, the Turing Phone is built to be absolutely unhackable to help you recover from the post-Snowden syndrome.
The smartphone is based on a modified version of Android 5.1 called Turing UI and allows full access to Google Play market. The device is powered by an aging 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 chip with 3GB of RAM, equipped with 13-megapixel rear and an 8-megapixel front cameras, and a 3,000mAh battery. There is nothing special here—the Turing Phone is designed to be a phone. A super-secure phone.
Toy for Geeks or Breakthrough in Tech World?
There are a lot of reasons why this product could change the market (and why you have to buy Turing Phone right now), and there are also a lot of reasons why it could sink into oblivion among tens of millions other innovative devices. The Turing Phone is obviously not the most powerful smartphone ever, but at the very least, it is something out of the ordinary, standing out among tons of dull black elegant “bricks” we grown accustomed to use.
The extravagantly-looking smartphone is interesting mostly for its three “super” features: “liquid metal,” privacy keys, and nano-coating. Mr. Chao and his colleagues from yet little-known Turing Robotics Industries believe that in the nearest future these features will be mandatory, standardized elements of every smartphone or any other device on the planet. And that exactly is what about Apple is considering right now, assures the engineer.