Ever since Mark Zuckerberg got photographed in front of his laptop camera and microphone taped over, things got serious about spying over your PC peripherals. Well, we now have phones that are constantly monitoring sound and don’t get much bothered about when after talking about motorcycles with your friends, you get swarmed by motorcycle ads on Chrome :).
Anyways, sometimes it is needed to remove all the potential listening devices from the vicinity, and phones with removable batteries are just perfect for that. But, nowadays, not so many phones do have a removable battery, so some other solutions to stop the camera and microphone are needed. A subsidiary of the Russian state company Rostec called Smartecosystem found a perfect solution for that. This company produced the AYYA T1 smartphone that has a mechanical switch to kill its camera and microphone. There is even a dedicated LED light installed on the phone which signals the user when the camera is on.
I don’t know if that kill switch can be bypassed by software, but it is good to hear that there are solutions like this. I have the same on my Asus Zenbook, and some folks might find this feature useful. The agreement between Smartecosystem and Russian Defence Ministry to test 500 devices seems to verify that the kill switch is a genuine thing and working. If the test goes well, the Russian ministry will order 500,000 devices for their internal use.
The device is coming with an octa-core processor Helio P70, 6.5-inch screen with 60 Hz refresh rate, 4/64 GB memory arrangement, 12 and 5 MP digitally stabilized cameras and fast charged 4000 mAh battery. There is also support for NFC and a fingerprint reader. The most interesting thing about the AYYA T1 smartphone is its OS which is based on Jolla’s Sailfish. Smartecosystem is using Aurora OS developed by Jolla for the Russian government back in 2019, but they said they are also testing OS developed by Kaspersky Labs.
There is also an Android 11 version of the phone which is already available in Russia for 19 thousand rubles or approximately $265 if anyone from Russia is interested.