BlackBerry once occupied position as the maker of one of the more coveted pieces of technology to own, but the company and the brand have fallen a long way since then. When the company lost its market share in the smartphone market, it opted to license its name in 2016, letting other smartphone manufacturers design smartphones under the brand name. TCL took up the opportunity with devices like the KEYone, Motion, KEY2, and KEY2 LE, but the company would have to stop using the BlackBerry name as its agreement came to an end this month. But if you are still yearning to own a BlackBerry device, a new company has picked up the mantle, promising new BB-branded smartphones with 5G connectivity and physical keyboards.
OnwardMobility has announced a licensing partnership with BlackBerry and FIH Mobile Limited (a subsidiary of Foxconn), which allows OnwardMobility to develop, engineer, and produce a new 5G-enabled BlackBerry-branded smartphone. The only other pieces of information available on this smartphone, apart from a part of its name, are the facts that it will have a physical keyboard and that it will come to Europe and North America in the first half of 2021.
“Enterprise professionals are eager for secure 5G devices that enable productivity, without sacrificing the user experience. BlackBerry smartphones are known for protecting communications, privacy, and data. This is an incredible opportunity for OnwardMobility to bring next-generation 5G devices to market with the backing of BlackBerry and FIH Mobile.”
The press release appears to be leaning into the needs of the enterprise market, as more and more employees are currently working remotely with critical data and applications.
“BlackBerry is thrilled OnwardMobility will deliver a BlackBerry 5G smartphone device with physical keyboard leveraging our high standards of trust and security synonymous with our brand. We are excited that customers will experience the enterprise and government level security and mobile productivity the new BlackBerry 5G smartphone will offer.”
As part of the agreement, FIH Mobile will design and manufacture the smartphone, while OnwardMobility will conduct product planning and market development. BlackBerry, on the other hand, leverages its name and reputation. It remains to be seen how far forward can the name survive on its own.
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