Just when you thought that the BlackBerry brand of smartphones has finally seen the sunset, it gets yet a new lease of life. After a not-so-successful revival in the Android ecosystem with backing from TCL, the legendary BlackBerry name is now ready for yet another fresh start in 2021 with a flagship that will feature – wait for it – a physical QWERTY keyboard.
As per a report from Nikkei Asia, Texas-based startup Onward Mobility is joining hands with Foxconn to launch a flagship phone this year that will feature a physical keyboard. The company aims to launch the BlackBerry 5G flagship in North America and Europe, with plans of eventually bringing it to the Asian markets as well. The original announcement was first made in August last year, but the project appears to have picked up steam lately with the company eying a release as soon as possible.
“OnwardMobility is hoping for better luck through its partnership with FIH Mobile, Foxconn’s Android phone-making arm. They are jointly developing the new model to be sold under the BlackBerry brand, featuring the signature keyboard as well as a top-of-the-line camera and 5G connectivity,” says the report.
Onward Mobility CEO Peter Franklin thinks that a physical keyboard will give a big boost to the productivity aspect, and that the long term goal is to eventually start making BlackBerry phones on the US soil. Franklin added that the company is currently in talks with customers and carriers worldwide, charting the course for distribution of its BlackBerry-branded flagship that will also feature top-of-the-line camera hardware.
And just like classic BlackBerry phones of the years gone, the upcoming Android flagship is said to ‘offer greater protection against data leaks and other cyber threats’ with help from a cybersecurity company. Onward Mobility hopes to find customers for its BlackBerry-branded offering in the enterprise segment where security is a sought-after trait.
If you’re a BlackBerry fan, indulge in some nostalgia by watching the video below: