Once upon a time (not that long ago), a "little" company called Research in Motion
(RIM) was on the brink of world domination in the always competitive mobile industry, outselling everyone from Apple to HTC, Samsung, Motorola, and LG with its productivity and security-centric BlackBerry smartphones.
But just like Nokia, the brand that was number one in the world when BlackBerry sat in second place, RIM's sudden and abrupt decline caught everyone (apart from Apple and Samsung) by surprise, ultimately forcing the Canadian outfit to license out the rights to the once hugely successful name.
Another "little" company called TCL tried (and failed) to revive and modernize the classic QWERTY keyboard for an entirely new generation of mobile phone users, giving up the aforementioned rights to the BlackBerry brand last year
That made way for another little company
(this time for real) to try its luck at pairing iconic smartphone designs with newfangled technologies like... 5G speeds
. That might not be new for Samsung or even Apple anymore, but it certainly is for BlackBerry and OnwardMobility.
OnwardMobility, which is a (truly) little-known US-based company in the "mobile security space" (according to its official website), originally promised to deliver a "new 5G BlackBerry Android smartphone with physical keyboard in the first half of 2021 in North America and Europe."
While that obviously hasn't happened (and the year's first half is over), you can at least join a "Pre-Commitment Program" now
to receive "product, feature, and availability updates" before the "general public."
Basically, OnwardMobility seems to want to gauge interest in its rookie BlackBerry-reviving effort, which suggests the product may not be very close to an official announcement yet, let alone a commercial release.
By joining this waitlist, you'll get the chance to be among the world's first people to pre-order and eventually receive the unnamed 5G-enabled BlackBerry handset, but also "provide input to directly influence product features and functionality."
Of course, if the phone's design, features, and functionality can still be "driven" and directly influenced by prospective buyers, that means very few things about this bad boy have so far been locked and etched in stone.
In turn, that makes us skeptical the hardware keyboard-sporting 5G smartphone will be available in stores in time for the holidays. On the bright side, at least the project is not completely dead and buried... yet.