It appears that BlackBerry phones are making a comeback and this is good news for those who love typing on a physical QWERTY keyboard. The announcement came at the right time as BlackBerry’s licensing deal with TCL will end on the 31st August 2020.
A new licensing partnership has been announced between BlackBerry, OnwardMobility and FIH Mobile Limited which will allow OnwardMobility to produce new BlackBerry branded smartphones. Under this new arrangement, OnwardMobility will conduct product planning and market development for BlackBerry smartphones while FIH Mobile, a subsidiary of Foxconn, will design and manufacture the devices.
Commenting on the collaboration, 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.”
At the moment, there isn’t much details about the device other than it’s expected to launch within the first half of 2021 in North America and Europe. Like its former models, the new BlackBerry device will focus on security and productivity for enterprise professionals.
The last BlackBerry smartphone that was released officially in Malaysia was the KEY2 in 2018. It’s an Android phone with a QWERTY keyboard that’s packed with BlackBerry’s suite of enterprise solutions. The device was launched with a retail price tag of RM2,599, which quite a lot to pay for a Snapdragon 660 powered smartphone at the time. At least, it was cheaper than the first-gen KeyOne that was retailing for RM2,688.
At the moment, it appears that the world has already moved on to full touch-screen phones with large 6″ screens. When we tried the BlackBerry KEY2 two years ago, we were not impressed.
Are you still interested in a QWERTY phone in 2021? Let us know in the comments below.