A 5G BlackBerry phone with physical keyboard is coming in 2021
The business phone to be resurrected with OnwardMobility and FIH Mobile planning a security-savvy enterprise handset
BlackBerry is making yet another comeback, with OnwardMobility and Foxconn subsidiary FIH Mobile agreeing to licence the brand to launch a 5G BlackBerry smartphone in 2021.
The new Android-based device will come with the classic physical keyboard and will be made available in the US and Europe.
China's TCL Communications announced that it would "no longer be selling" BlackBerry smartphones in February after the brand failed to make much impact in the market. TCL said its work would end in August, marking the official death of the business smartphone.
However, the new deal with OnwardMobility has resurrected the BlackBerry once again. Under the terms of the agreement, OnwardMobility has been granted the right to develop, engineer, and bring to market a 5G-enabled handset.
The company said it will work closely with both BlackBerry and FIH Mobile to ensure "world-class design" on the new device.
"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," said BlackBerry CEO John Chen.
"We are excited that customers will experience the enterprise and government level security and mobile productivity the new BlackBerry 5G smartphone will offer."
Security seems to be the main reason BlackBerry is making a comeback, with the company looking to capitalise on the current trend of remote working and the high risk of cyber attacks.
Speaking from an enterprise point of view, BlackBerry has cited the difficulty organisations now have when selecting, deploying, securing and managing devices to meet expectations and maximise productivity.
"Enterprise professionals are eager for secure 5G devices that enable productivity, without sacrificing the user experience," said Peter Franklin, CEO of OnwardMobility.
"BlackBerry smartphones are known for protecting communications, privacy, and data. This is an incredible opportunity for OnwardMobility to bring next-generation 5G devices to market with the backing of BlackBerry and FIH Mobile."
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