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Turing Robotics Drops Android And Sets Up Shop In Finland Amid Global Security Concerns

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California-based secure smartphone manufacturer Turing Robotics Industries announced that it will move manufacturing and its new global headquarter to the Finnish city of Salo. Turing’s decision is rooted in security concerns.

“Finland’s Act on the Protection of Privacy in Electronic Communications which safeguards confidentiality and privacy in telecommunications was the main reason behind TRI’s move to Finland.

To ensure complete data security and privacy for TRI’s Turing Phone owners, TRI moved its manufacturing operations to Salo, a city with an impeccable history in mobile phone production,” said Steve Chao, the CEO of Turing Robotics.

TRI, the maker of the liquid-metal cypherphone, the Turing Phone, “the company foresaw the potential issues of data encryption and global government covert surveillance programs ever since mid-2013 and it made a decisive move to be established in Finland,” the company said in a statement.

Accompanying the announcement, TRI is switching its OS from Android to Jolla’s Sailfish.

“We can now confirm that TRI has chosen to drop Android and use Jolla’s Sailfish OS. Sailfish is now running perfectly on the Turing Phone and we have started the final OS software testing phase,” the company announced on its Facebook page.

Surveillance and privacy concerns have become central themes among mobile users around the world, highlighted by the ongoing spat between Apple and FBI.

Indeed, TRI’s decision to both use Jolla OS and manufacture in Finland is about the primacy of privacy. Considering Android’s intimate relationship with Google growing security concerns around mobile security, the move speaks volumes.

In 2015, Jolla announced a partnership with Finland’s SSH Communications – a security solutions company – to offer another version of its platform with stronger security credentials, a version now used in the new Turing Phone.

“It is evident that the world needs a secure, transparent and open mobile solution alternative, which is not controlled by any country or major industry player,” Jolla said in a press release during the announcement.

Jolla is focusing on security in order to distinguish from fierce and better-known competition.

“The next era in mobile will be very much focused on privacy and that’s what we are already feeling with our partners when we are discussing with governments and different device vendors,” said Jolla chairman Antti Saarnio on Wednesday during the announcement of its partnership with African OEM Mi-Fone.

New OS and a move to Finland

The new phone – expected to be released in April 2016 – will be made in Salo, a small city located between the capital Helsinki and the provincial capital Turku.

“TRI will start production of the Turing Phone in Salo starting April 2016 and have plans implemented to build the world’s most robust mobile phone devices and Future Network products for the next decade and beyond in Salo. For every 1,000 phones to be produced TRI will be recruiting 10~20 local staffs to perform both software and hardware testing, flashing and assembly. TRI has plans to ramp up production of the Turing Phone series to over 300,000 units in the year 2016, “ Chao said.

The city’s claim to fame is its past role as hosting a plant for Nokia. Salo is largely considered the original home town of Nokia phones.

Turing Phone is TRI’s first smart phone and entirely crowdfunded. The phone is made of liquidmorphium, an “amorphous “liquid metal” alloy tougher than either titanium or steel”.

Turing is not without competition in Finland. Oulu-based Bittium is the maker of Tough Mobile, a secure smartphone tailored for governmental and military use. On Wednesday the company announced a deal worth 2.8 million euros to provide a software upgrade for the Finnish Defence Forces’ Tactical Wireless IP Network system.