BlackBerry phones continue to miraculously stave-off death, like some kind of technological horror movie villain.
Today we’re hearing a BlackBerry 5G smartphone, yes with a physical keyboard, will launch in the first half of 2021. There’s no news on the rest of the specifications right now, but it will be on sale in Europe and North America.
A press release says the handset is being designed to assist with the challenges of secure remote working and will likely be aimed at those dealing with high-level, secure information. It doesn’t sound like something that will be made widely available for consumers though.
The storied mobile brand name is now being licensed by a security startup called OnwardMobility, taking over the rights from TCL whose deal with BlackBerry just expired – much to the chagrin of those desperate for a consumer-focused BlackBerry comeback.
Since it stopped making smartphones, BlackBerry has been focused on security solutions for enterprise customers, with the BlackBerry Messenger platform perhaps the only remnant of its mobile heyday. The partnership with OnwardMobility and Foxconn subsidiary FIH mobile will see the brand name have another crack at breaking back into the mobile arena.
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“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 in a press release.
The last BlackBerry smartphone we reviewed was the TCL-made BlackBerry Key2 LE, which we described as being suitable for ‘die hards’ only.
Our reviewer Jon Mundy wrote: “Ultimately…it all comes down to that physical keyboard. If you still prioritise tactile typing over virtually everything else, then the BlackBerry Key2 LE is a temptingly priced option.”