BlackBerry-branded 5G phone with physical keyboard is apparently still happening

BlackBerry-branded 5G phone with physical keyboard is apparently still happening

BlackBerry was once a titan of the smartphone industry, but the company started to lose ground once Android devices and the iPhone went mainstream. The last smartphone produced by BlackBerry itself was the Priv in 2015, and after that, BlackBerry simply licensed its name and software to other manufacturers. OnwardMobility is the latest company that acquired the BlackBerry license to produce phones, and now the group is seemingly closer to releasing a BlackBerry-branded 5G phone.

OnwardMobility announced a licensing partnership with BlackBerry last August, with the goal of releasing a BlackBerry-branded 5G phone with a physical keyboard sometime in “the first half of 2021.” Of course, we’re more than halfway through 2021 at this point, and little information has come out about the smartphone — much less a finished product.

Join The program: OnwardMobility is launching a Pre-Commitment Program to expand our engagement with customers interested in purchasing the new and innovative BlackBerry 5G smartphones. In the Know: First to receive product, feature, and availability updates–before the general public. Drive Design: Provide input to directly influence product features and functionality. Be the Early Bird: Pre-order the device and be one of the first to receive your device at launch.

The latest news is that OnwardMobility has launched a ‘Pre-Commitment Program,’ which is essentially an email newsletter for updates on the phone. It promises “product, feature, and availability updates before the general public,” as well as the option to provide feedback and suggestions. The form asks people which mobile networks they would like to use with the phone, as well as how many phones they plan on purchasing — that last question is for corporate deployments (and maybe hardcore BlackBerry fans).

OnwardMobility isn’t offering a revised release date for the new BlackBerry 5G phone, so your guess is as good as ours. At the very least, if you’re interested in buying one, you can now give OnwardMobility your email address.

Featured image: BlackBerry Key2 LE

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Corbin Davenport
Corbin Davenport

Corbin is a tech journalist and software developer based in Raleigh, North Carolina. He's also the host of the Tech Tales podcast, which explores the history of the technology industry. Follow him on Twitter at @corbindavenport.