BlackBerry phones experienced a resurgence in 2016 when TCL became the exclusive global hardware manufacturer for its devices. The KeyOne and Key2 were solid options for customers crazy for physical keyboards, and it was satisfying to see the historic brand sticking around. Earlier this year brought some dire news for the future of the brand, as TCL ended the partnership entirely. Now it looks like BlackBerry is sprouting from the ground once more with a new 5G device from a new partner.
A Texas startup called OnwardMobility is licensing the brand this time, with a 5G-capable BlackBerry phone set to launch next year. While we don't know many details about the device yet, OnwardMobility's CEO Peter Franklin says to expect something that focuses on security, enables productivity, and boasts a "top-notch camera." The specs will probably fall a bit short of the usual flagship, and pricing is said to be competitive.
The device will run Android and feature 5G connectivity and a physical keyboard. OnwardMobility is gearing it towards enterprise customers who can enhance their working productivity with (theoretically) much faster network speeds and lower latency. FIH Mobile, a Foxconn subsidiary, will be responsible for manufacturing the hardware. The 5G BlackBerry device will launch in North America and Europe sometime during the first half of 2021. Will OnwardMobility grow the BlackBerry brand into something sweet? I guess we'll find out next year if the new phone is ripe for the picking.