Remember when having a BlackBerry was the coolest thing ever? Being able to use BBM, was at one point, the pinnacle of being cool. Well, get excited since BlackBerry is finally making a comeback. The new BlackBerry phone is expected to already be 5G capable, which will have a classic physical keyboard to boot. According to Texas startup OnwardMobility, the new phone will feature more enterprise focused security features, a staple service of the company to its government and enterprise customers. This news comes a little over 6 months after the prior BlackBerry brand license owner, TCL Communications, announced that it would discontinue devices related to the brand starting August 31..
FIH Mobile, a subsidiary of Foxconn, is set to become a partner with, and they have been tapped to work with OnwardMobility to start production of the new BlackBerry phone. With the goal of being a “feature-rich 5G-ready” brand, the new phone model is touted to have multiple features to enhance productivity while not sacrificing security. It’s aimed at enterprise/business-savvy customers who demand security to go alongside multiple features of the smartphone.
Peter Franklin, CEO of OnwardMobility, said “Enterprise professionals are eager to secure 5G devices that enable productivity, without sacrificing the user experience”, and the new phone aims to deliver just that to them. Building on the reputation of the old BlackBerry devices, they aim to protect the privacy and data of the users, while not holding out on the possible features that the phone can provide.
Specifications have yet to be released by the company, however Franklin mentioned in the interview that they expect the model to have a “clean-sheet keyboard”, which is considered as a staple of the BlackBerry devices of old. Support-wise, the company expects continuous support to be provided in the long term, this is to persuade users into considering switching to the brand.
With a big consideration given to the price, the new BlackBerry phone can also be considered as a mid-range offering type of smartphone. It’s not expected to have the same price as your usual Samsung Galaxy Note 20 or the upcoming Apple iPhone12. It’s currently positioning itself as an affordable smartphone which could be able to carve its own niche given the current market outlook.
As John Chen, Executive Chairman and CEO of BlackBerry, said “We are excited that customers will experience the enterprise and government level security and mobile productivity the new BlackBerry 5G smartphone will offer”. This alludes to the effort in integrating the smartphone capabilities of the BlackBerry and the security to be provided by OnwardMobility.
Although BlackBerry has attempted to make a reentry in the smartphone market before, it has faced difficulty penetrating the market and has not been able to eat into the current market share that’s dominated by multiple other Android brands. To be able to survive the current market outlook, BlackBerry decided to partner with different other companies to continue the production and selling of smartphones. Notable partnerships were with Optiemus Infracom for India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh, as well as BB Merah Putih for Indonesia.
TCL Communication announced that it would no longer sell the BlackBerry-branded mobile devices back in February. And other branch licenses have maintained their silence as well. This news however comes as a welcome development to the BlackBerry brand, as they have not launched anything since the BlackBerry KEY2 LE line, which was release back in July 2018.