The BlackBerry brand has mostly been on the decline for a few years, but its smartphones saw a bit of a resurgence in 2017 thanks to the company's licensing deal with TCL, which brought about phones like the KEYOne and KEY2. However, earlier this year, the licensing deal ended and it wasn't renewed, so it seemed like we might not see the BlackBerry brand anymore.
Turns out BlackBerry isn't willing to let its phones die, and today, security firm OnwardMobility announced that it has signed a deal with the company to bring a new BlackBerry phone to market in 2021. Having a security company work on BlackBerry phones makes sense, since they've always been geared toward business users with a focus on privacy and security. The partnership also includes FIH Mobile, a subsidiary of the Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn, who will be in charge of designing the phones under OnwardMobility's "strict guidelines".
Not much is known about the upcoming phones, other than that they will include 5G support, meaning the phones will at least be in line with modern devices at the time of the release. The announcement also confirms that BlackBerry's staple feature, the physical keyboard, will be present in the new phones in some form.
Peter Franklin, CEO of OnwardMobility, said:
“Enterprise professionals are eager for secure 5G devices that enable productivity, without sacrificing the user experience (...). 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.”
We'll probably need to wait a little longer to hear about the upcoming device, but fans of the BlackBerry family have something to look forward to now.