A BlackBerry-branded phone with a physical keyboard is coming in 2021

A BlackBerry-branded phone with a physical keyboard is coming in 2021

The rise of Apple's iOS and Android-powered handsets with touchscreens prompted BlackBerry to abandon the market to concentrate on software and services. The company might have been ditched by TCL earlier this year, but they are still alive and around and all set to bring in a new 5G smartphone, with, wait for it, a physical keyboard!

According to the press release, the first smartphone through this partnership will get launched in the first half of 2021.

This may sound familiar.

BlackBerry's share of the global smartphone market has fallen to virtually zero since it dominated the market with its keyboard design a decade ago. In February, TCL decided not to renew the deal with BlackBerry, and this month, it stopped selling the devices. Under the terms of the agreement, BlackBerry grants OnwardMobility the right to develop, engineer, and bring to market a BlackBerry 5G mobile device. Towards this goal, the company will be partnering up with Foxconn subsidiary FIH Mobile and OnwardMobility to reach enterprise users in the USA and Europe.

"BlackBerry is thrilled OnwardMobility will deliver a BlackBerry 5G smartphone device with physical keyboard leveraging our high standards of trust and security synonymous with our brand".

It seems like licensing deals are the only way to get new BlackBerry devices.

This makes a lot of sense, as BlackBerry proper has focused primarily on delivering B2B enterprise solutions for security, data management, and digital collaboration since the company exited the consumer phone business in 2016.

"With 5G quickly coming to market, and the acceleration it will cause in upgrading mobile devices and deploying productivity enhancing apps, deploying proven and highly secure products like the BlackBerry 5G devices in enterprises, government, and regulated industries like finance or legal, are mission critical", said analyst Jack Gold, President and Principal Analyst of J. Gold Associates.

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.

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