While other smartphone manufacturers continue to produce different slabs of glass for everyone to use, BlackBerry has an on-again-off-again kind of relationship with the market. After seeing the release of updated hardware a few years ago with a partnership with TCL and Nokia, BlackBerry’s back with a new partnership in-tow.
This time around, BlackBerry has partnered with OnwardMobility and FIH Mobile Limited to bring us a new 5G-enabled smartphone in 2021. Instead of worrying about another slab of glass to deal with, the companies are attempting to make the keyboard fans happy with a physical QWERTY keyboard on your smartphone.
In the announcement, it was confirmed that the device will launch sometime next year, and will sport the hardware keyboard that captured the hearts of many. However, no other information regarding the device has been shared as of yet, so we don’t know if this will be a flagship device or just another mid-ranger.
“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,” said John Chen, Executive Chairman and CEO, BlackBerry.
With the Pixel 4a and OnePlus Nord on the market, the budget/mid-range market could end up a bit more crowded. But it’s highly unlikely that BlackBerry and these other two companies would try to take on the likes of Samsung or other flagship phone makers.
As someone who’s first “smartphone” was the BlackBerry Pearl, I want nothing but great things to happen for the company. I just don’t know if this new partnership is ready to try and capture a niche market that has practically dwindled, save for those who still miss their “Crackberry’s”.