BlackBerry, a highly sought after smartphone once, is being revived, as a new 5G phone with Android and physical keyboard set for launch in 2021.
OnwardMobility, a Texas-based startup, has signed agreements with BlackBerry and FIH Mobile Limited, a subsidiary of Foxconn Technology Group, for the license to develop, engineer, and bring to market the phone.
The new products, which would offer government level security and mobile productivity, are expected to be available to North America and Europe in the first half of 2021.
The original Blackberry first came to market in 2000 and became hugely popular for its features that allowed users to easily write and send emails. In 2016, the company stopped manufacturing, and licensed the brand to Chinese manufacturer TCL Communications.
However, in February this year, BlackBerry ended partnership with TCL that lasted almost four years. As of August 31, 2020, TCL will no longer be selling BlackBerry-branded mobile devices.
In a statement, OnwardMobility said its move reflects the current need for a secure, feature-rich 5G-ready phone as increasing number of employees are working remotely with critical data and applications, amid the constant threat of cyber attacks.
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.”
OnwardMobility plans to conduct product planning and market development for BlackBerry smartphones in North America.
FIH Mobile will design and manufacture the BlackBerry devices under strict guidelines to ensure component, device and supply chain integrity.
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