04 February 2020
BlackBerry clearly has no intention to stay behind in the race of 5G smartphones. Its time with TCL is about to end but the company has managed to find another licensee that would take the reins and help the brand to stay in the 5G smartphone competition.
This is OnwardMobility, a Texas startup that has announced it will launch a new 5G BlackBerry device with Android and a physical QWERTY keyboard in 2021.
OnwardMobiliy has announced agreements with BlackBerry and FIH Mobile Limited, a subsidiary of Foxconn Technology Group, to deliver a new 5G BlackBerry Android smartphone with a physical keyboard. The company is promising it will bring the phone in the first half of 2021 in North America and Europe.
OnwardMobility has announced that the new agreement allows it to engineer, develop, and bring a BlackBerry-branded 5G mobile phone. The company further makes a pitch by talking about the need for security and promising that BlackBerry’s coming 5G Android phone will take care of that. John Chen, Executive Chairman, and CEO, BlackBerry also said that customers will experience the enterprise and government level security and mobile productivity with the new 5G smartphone.
This makes it apparent that the two companies will rather target the enterprises and business clients only.
Quoting analyst Jack Gold, President and Principal Analyst of J. Gold Associates, LLC,
“With 5G quickly coming to market, and the acceleration it will cause in upgrading mobile devices and deploying productivity enhancing apps, deploying proven and highly secure products like the BlackBerry 5G devices in enterprises, government, and regulated industries like finance or legal, are mission critical."
Currently, there are no details available on BlackBerry’s first-ever 5G Android phone. But OnwardMobility told TheRegister that it would come with a completely new keyboard design. Also as the report points out, it does not look like that the company will bring this new BlackBerry device as a flagship phone. It may rather launch it as a mid-range offering that means it may not feature a flagship processor. Peter Franklin, CEO of OnwardMobility said,
"Top of mind for us is not just making the most secure and productive device, but also being an everyday device. That means things like a top-notch camera, and the other specs you'd expect from your day-to-day phone. Simultaneously, we know that we must be competitive, and so is our pricing."
After all these details, the feature specifics of the phone are still unknown. But we may start to hear about it as the days of its launch come nearer. BlackBerry and OnwardMobility are promising first half of next year as the tentative timeframe to launch the first BlackBerry-branded 5G phone. Let’s see when we get to learn more about the same.