As we’ve posted in the past, one of the services we provide at The Guardian Project is customizing off-the-shelf Android phones to be generally more secure, privacy minded and updated with a powerful suite of trusted apps. We’ve gotten our mitts on a number of devices over the last few months in this regard, including: myTouch 4G, Motorola Milestone (GSM Droid), HTC Desire GSM, TMobile G2, Samsung Galaxy S, Nook Color, and Viewsonic 10″ GTablet. Whew! And if there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that some devices are much much harder to crack than others (cough cough… Desire GSM’s hardened bootloader). With that in mind, we’ve recently added a Hardware page to our site that lists the devices that we recommend for ‘Guardianization’.
This weekend we got our hands on one of the devices that has recently made our list – the HTC Wildfire A3333. As far as trade-offs are concerned, the Wildfire is like a ‘mini me’ version of our trusted Nexus One – a smaller, lower resolution capacitive screen along with a processor with half the speed means much improved battery life and a fuller wallet (just $300 / ea.!).
Our app suite has been evolving along with our hardware preferences: we still rely on Orbot (Tor on Android), TextSecure, K9 & APG. OtRChat has become Gibberbot and is currently in alpha status, and SipDroid has been replaced with CSipSimple, a very powerful sip client that provides SRTP-encrypted voice over TLS. More on CSip in a future blog posting.
We’re very happy with how these Wildfires have turned out – Cyanogenmod 6 firmware is very responsive and stable and the hardware is very convenient. As long as they stay straightforward to customize they’ll be staying on our ‘good list’ down the road.