Editor's take: BlackBerry has been down this road before and we've seen plenty of Android phones launch with a focus on privacy and security. Physical keyboards were great for their time but that was nearly 15 years ago. I'm not saying it can't be done but the odds are certainly stacked against OnwardMobility here.
The iconic BlackBerry brand is getting yet another lease on life. OnwardMobility, a startup created to deliver comprehensive, secure mobile device solutions to government, enterprise and business clients has licensed the rights to develop, engineer and bring a new BlackBerry mobile device to market next year.
The new Android-powered BlackBerry device will be 5G compatible and feature a physical keyboard. Foxconn subsidiary FIH Mobile Limited is also being brought on to help with the design and manufacturing process, we’re told.
OnwardMobility believes there is a need for a secure, feature-rich 5G-ready phone that enhances productivity. “BlackBerry smartphones are known for protecting communications, privacy, and data,” said OnwardMobility CEO Peter Franklin.
“This is an incredible opportunity for OnwardMobility to bring next-generation 5G devices to market with the backing of BlackBerry and FIH Mobile,” the executive added.
The company found early success with its forward-thinking handsets in the early 2000s but as the smartphone revolution started to take shape, the company didn’t take its challengers seriously and failed to innovate. Multiple attempts were made to right the ship with the company going so far as to adopt Android as its primary operating system but BlackBerry was never able to recover.
In 2016, the Canadian handset maker licensed the BlackBerry brand to Chinese phone maker TCL. That experiment ran its course and earlier this year, it was revealed that TCL would stop making BlackBerry devices in August.
Masthead credit: gotvideo