BlackBerry is inching closer to a big 5G-flavored smartphone comeback

BlackBerry is inching closer to a big 5G-flavored smartphone comeback
You may not remember this now, but before iPhones and Android-based smartphones became a thing, Nokia's biggest rival at the top of the mobile device vendor ranks was a fruit-themed brand that's not Apple.

While HMD Global is keeping the Nokia name alive (barely), TCL unsurprisingly left BlackBerry for dead last year after trying (and largely failing) to pair the mainstream appeal of the Android ecosystem with traditional physical keyboard designs for an entirely new generation of mobile productivity enthusiasts.

Although it didn't take long for a new brand licensee to step in and announce yet another attempt at bringing the BlackBerry magic back into the limelight, it's been several months now with absolutely no news on the revival front. The radio silence stops today, but unfortunately, OnwardMobility still doesn't have a lot of specifics to share on its ambitious plans to resurrect the smartphone brand that was abandoned by its own founders roughly half a decade ago.

Established in 2019, the Texas-based company is essentially keeping things as vague as last summer, reiterating its intention to release a "global flagship device" with a signature QWERTY keyboard, top-of-the-line camera, and 5G connectivity in tow... at some point in 2021.

This mysterious handset will actually be manufactured by FIH Mobile, a subsidiary of Foxconn that's also in charge of the production of HMD's aforementioned Nokia-branded smartphones. Foxconn, mind you, is the world's largest contract electronics manufacturer, regularly collaborating with the likes of Apple, Amazon, Google, Sony, and Xiaomi (to name just a few) on the making of various types of consumer hardware devices.

In other words, OnwardMobility's lack of experience in the smartphone market may not spell the failure of its bold undertaking to not only put the BlackBerry name back on the global map but also manage to assemble at least some of its handsets in the US down the line.

In the short term, the aim is to answer a growing need for productivity-focused mobile devices in both North America and Europe this year, as well as pursue an expansion to select Asian markets as soon as possible. All that being said, we don't expect to see the first-ever 5G BlackBerry smartphone commercially released in the next couple of months or so, as OnwardMobility is apparently still in the "process of speaking to customers and mobile carriers on a global scale" for the development of a "distribution plan."

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