New 5G Blackberry smartphone with physical keyboard inbound for 2021
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Once the dominant name in the smartphone market, Blackberry handsets have struggled on despite the parent company officially bailing out of the smartphone business back in 2016. Most recently, TCL had licensed the Blackberry name and made branded devices between 2017 and 2020. With this deal set to expire at the end of this month, a new company dubbed OnwardMobility has picked up the mantle and has said it will launch a new Blackberry branded handset in 2021.
OnwardMobility is a US-based company that has been in business since 2008 with a focus on developing security-focused software. The company’s CEO, Peter Franklin, is formerly of Microsoft and Zynga and has a team of well-established mobile industry players on staff. Its announcement today came along with news that it is teaming with both Blackberry and Foxconn-owned FIH Mobile which will do most of the legwork on design and manufacturing the hardware.
On the surface, OnwardMobility and Blackberry should have good synergies given the latter’s reputation for mobile device security. Unsurprisingly, Franklin is bullish about the prospects of a 5G-enabled Blackberry device with a hardware-based keyboard coming to market. In his view, the current global circumstances make a secure workhorse mobile a must-have, so it will be interesting just how compelling its 5G Blackberry is when it hits the market next year.