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Hard to kill! BlackBerry on the comeback trail again with 5G phone set for 2021




How many times can you read the last rites for BlackBerry only to have the long-ago dominant smartphone spring back to life? I was convinced the final nail had been hammered in BlackBerry’s coffin back in February when China’s TCL Communication said it would stop peddling BlackBerry-branded mobile devices as of Aug. 31, 2020. It had been three years earlier when TCL entered into a licensing agreement with BlackBerry, the Waterloo, Canada, company once known as Research In Motion, which had ceased by then making BlackBerry hardware. 


Now a new BlackBerry savior has emerged, OnwardMobility. And this Texas startup promises to sell a brand new 5G-ready BlackBerry smartphone in the first half of 2021, aimed at the North American and European markets.


Details are still sketchy. OnwardMobility says the phone will run Android, honor BlackBerry’s reputation for safeguarding data and privacy, and yes, include a physical keyboard long prized by BlackBerry loyalists, a group of users whose numbers have obviously thinned dramatically.


This latest sequel was made possible when OnwardMobility struck an agreement with both BlackBerry the company and with Foxconn subsidiary FIH Mobile Limited.


“Enterprise professionals are eager for secure 5G devices that enable productivity, without sacrificing the user experience,” OnwardMobility CEO Peter Franklin said in a statement. “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.”


In his own statement, BlackBerry CEO John Chen said, “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. We are excited that customers will experience the enterprise and government level security and mobile productivity the new BlackBerry 5G smartphone will offer.”


BlackBerry phones had been powerhouses through the early part of this century but eventually fell on hard times in the years following Apple's 2007 Phone launch. While this latest comeback trail is likely to be anything but smooth, write BlackBerry’s obituary at your own peril.


Apparently, these phones are awfully hard to kill.


Who out there is thrilled BlackBerry gets to live on? Thrilled enough to buy? Email: edbaig@gmail.com; Follow @edbaig on Twitter