BlackBerry is a brand that refuses to disappear from the world of smartphones, and like the phoenix it has managed to revive again and again. Already at the beginning of this 2020, TCL, the Chinese company that had obtained the rights to the brand in 2016 and that had produced phones such as the BlackBerry Key 2 and the BlackBerry Key 2 LE, announced that I would not renew them, when the term of the contract expires on August 31.
For lovers of the brand’s phones this seemed to be the last goodbye of BlackBerry who reported that the brand as such would not disappear, but that would only dedicate itself to maintaining services focused on companies and would move away from the manufacture of equipment.
But it was not like that; Much to everyone’s surprise, a few days after the expiration of the contract with TCL, the brand announced that it had transferred the rights to manufacture the devices and use its name to OnwardMobility, a Texas-based startup which in turn partnered with FIH Mobile (Foxconn subsidiary), letting us also know that BlackBerry would have a new 5G smartphone in 2021, of course with its already mythical physical keyboard.
OnwardMobility is a company that little was known about until this agreement. Is about a startup with less than 50 employees, which hopes to maintain the essence of the BlackBerry brand, that is, teams focused on productivity, the business environment, security, and of course the physical keyboards that delight lovers of the brand so much.
OnwardMobility will try to give a second life to BlackBerry
To leverage its lack of experience in the design and manufacture of smartphones OnwardMobility, it partnered with FIH Mobile, which is an arm of the powerful Foxconn, a huge company that among others manufactures devices for Apple, Xiaomi, Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, to name a few. In this way, the former will be in charge of the distribution and sale of the equipment, while the latter will be in charge of their development and production.
At the moment OnwardMobility does not anticipate giving more details of what its first BlackBerry will look like for 2021, beyond stating that it will be 5G and will arrive in the first semester. We also do not know if it will be distributed in all markets, since only the North American and European market is mentioned, for which we will have to wait for them to give us more information about it, or the famous leaks arrive.
The big question we all have is whether OnwardMobility will be able to do more for BlackBerry than TCL has already failed to do. We can remember that this Chinese manufacturer already launched from 2017 to date three BlackBerry phones with Android as an operating system, and none of them managed to penetrate the market, or even approach the levels of the tremendous success that the brand had before the arrival of Android to the market.
The most sensible perhaps is that OnwardMobility, points you to a niche phone, that is, for a small market of fans of the brand and physical keyboards, who will be more than happy to pay a premium price for a device that may not be very attractive to the rest of the market, and that way, they do not have to compete with the big fish, at the same time that they generate profits .
Only time will tell us if OnwardMobility makes the right moves to keep BlackBerry afloat. Let me know in the comments if you would buy one of these computers with a physical keyboard.