Blackberry phones are back from the dead with new models planned for 2021.
Blackberry helped pioneer the modern smartphone, and held a special place in the hearts of millions of users. Blackberry devices were known for always-on connectivity and best-in-class physical keyboards. Like many devices, however, Blackberry lost ground to Apple’s iPhone and the plethora of Android devices that followed soon after. After some attempts to continue manufacturing their own phones, Blackberry shifted their focus to software and licensed the manufacturing rights to outside companies.
TCL Communication was granted the global license rights and manufactured Blackberry devices until this year. In February, TCL announced they would stop selling Blackberry-branded devices as of August 31, 2020 and had lost all “rights to design, manufacture or sell any new BlackBerry mobile devices.”
A new company, OnwardMobility, has secured the rights to continue manufacturing Blackberry phones, and they seem determined marry the best of Blackberry with the latest technology. According to the company’s announcement, the new phones will feature 5G, be powered by Android and will have a physical keyboard. The devices will be developed in close association with Blackberry and FIH Mobile, a Foxconn subsidiary. FIH Mobile’s involvement will help “ensure world-class design and manufacturing.”
Given Blackberry’s well-established reputation for security and privacy, it’s no surprise OnwardMobility is heavily leveraging that, promising “the most productive, most user-friendly and most secure mobile devices ever created.”
“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,” said John Chen, Executive Chairman and CEO, BlackBerry.