The BlackBerry smartphone is coming back from the dead, as a startup is set to revive the popular device early next year.
Texas-based OnwardMobility acquired the license for the handset from its original maker and announced the release of a 5G model in 2021.
The revived BlackBerry is said to come with a new physical keyboard design that will ‘reflect the brand values from a keyboard typing experience and input experience,’ according to a report by The Register.
The firm is positioning the more for workers on-the-go, but is set to include the standard features such as a top-notch camera and government-level security.
Blackberry first hit the market in 2000, which became the must-have for professionals, as the smartphone allowed users to easily write and send emails.
And 20 years later, it was over.
BlackBerry shared a tweet this past February stating TCL Communications, which had the license to develop and distribute the phone, were ending their four-year-long partnership.
‘We do regret to share, however, that as of 31 August 2020, TCL Communication will no longer be selling BlackBerry-branded mobile devices,’ wrote BlackBerry in a statement.
About a decade ago, BBM was among the most popular mobile messaging apps on the market, having launched in 2006 a full three years before similar ‘mobile-first’ platforms like WhatsApp.
For TCL, the end of its deal with BlackBerry may reflect its current course toward pioneering its own line of branded phones which it has ramped up in recent months.
TCL, a Chinese company which is mostly known for selling capable TVs, announced its intentions at the Consumer Electronics Show on in January to launch a new line of phones called the TCL 10 Pro, TCL 10L, and TCL 10 5G.
However, the demise is what allowed OnwardMobility to scoop up the license and bring the smartphone back from the dead.
Peter Franklin, CEO of OnwardMobility, said: ‘Enterprise professionals are eager for secure 5G devices that enable productivity, without sacrificing the user experience.’
‘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.’
Both firms are not sharing too much with the announcement, But Franklin sat down with The Register to give some insight to the release.
op of mind for us is not just making the most secure and productive device, but also being an everyday device,’ he said.
‘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.’
OnwardMobility will conduct product planning and market development for BlackBerry smartphones in North America and Europe.