Murena launches ‘deGoogled’ smartphone with a kill switch for privacy

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The Murena 2, a “deGoogled” smartphone with a kill switch, has finally launched in Europe.

Billed as a privacy-centric disruptor to the Apple-Google mobile duopoly, the device is the second handset from French startup Murena. 

One new addition to the Murena 2 is a physical privacy button, which instantly disables the microphone and camera. To reactivate them for a video call, users just need to flick the switch again.

On the other side of the handset is another button — a disconnection switch. This disables all network activity and mutes the device, providing a “do not disturb” function that taps into growing demands for digital detoxes.

The device’s brain, meanwhile, is powered by /e/OS, a privacy-oriented, open-source derivative of Android. Murena built the software to escape the shackles of Google’s operating system.

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On /e/OS, every tracker is removed by default. Android, by contrast, sends data back to Google an estimated 40 times an hour on an inactive device — and 90 on an active one.

Side view of the Murena kill switch
The Murena kill switch. Credit: Murena

The software also features an advanced privacy module. Once inside, users can monitor each app’s permissions, as well as the hidden trackers, which collect their data and follow their activity. They can then cut the tracking.

“Having physical privacy-on and ‘do not disturb’ switches on a smartphone is completely unique,” Gaël Duval, CEO of Murena and founder of /e/OS, said in a statement.

“The device is also a blank canvas in terms of data privacy; there are no default or hidden trackers, and we provide tools and settings that give users more control and visibility over their data privacy. There is no technical expertise required, privacy on the Murena 2 is by design.”

TNW has already tested these claims. Late last year, we tried out a prototype of the Murena 2. During our trial, the device functioned smoothly and the buttons worked seamlessly. The operating system, however, was more of an acquired taste. 

Looking beyond the privacy features, the Murena 2 comes with 8GB of RAM, a 6.43″ display, 128GB of storage capacity, a 2.1GHz octa-core processor, and a 4000mAh battery. For photographers, there’s a 25mp front selfie camera and a rear triple camera (5mp, 13mp, 64mp).

If you want to buy the device, you can order it now from the Murena website for €499.