As it stands right now, BlackBerry’s mobile division is as good as dead. Firstly, BlackBerry announced on 22nd December 2021 that legacy devices will no longer be supported. Secondly, BlackBerry’s former manufacturing partner, TCL, did not renew its licensing agreement with BlackBerry after it expired sometime in early 2020. Further cementing BlackBerry’s fate, is the fact that the last we heard of BlackBerry’s new manufacturing partner, OnwardMobility, was back on 19th of August 2020. They promised to ship a new 5G-enabled BlackBerry device with a keyboard to North America and Europe in the first half of 2021.
Now it’s 2022 and there’s nothing to show, prompting many to believe that the brand’s smartphone division is dead for good.
Just as fans were starting to question BlackBerry’s chances of survival, OnwardMobility put out an official statement on their website and twitter to reassure fans. In the statement, they said that they experienced delays that prevented them from meeting their 2021 target. But they reassure fans that they are still working on it and will have more information to share in the coming days and months. The device in question is said to have a focus on mobile security.
Before you get too excited, you should know that in all of OnwardMobility’s press releases, they have explicitly mentioned that these new devices are designed for government, SME and enterprise use. There is no word if a version will be made for consumers at the time of writing. However, this should be an easy conversion as these devices will run on Android OS.
If you are like me and have never heard about OnwardMobility, here are some things to know about them.
They are a Texas-based company that specialize in software security. But you will be right to ask how a software company is going to get the expertise to manufacture the hardware for a phone. Well, it’s from their partner company, FIH Mobile Ltd, a subsidiary of Foxconn Technology Group. If you didn’t know, Foxconn manufactures Apple’s iPhones, so they know a thing or two about phone hardware.
That is why OnwardMobility can boldly claim to create a device that provides “nothing short of the most comprehensive, secure mobile device solutions” and has “world-class design and manufacturing”.
Well, it’s not long before we see if OnwardMobility can return BlackBerry to being a household name in the mobile space or will they call it quits like TCL.