Texas-based startup OnwardMobility today announced that it plans to release a new Android-based BlackBerry smartphone with a physical QWERTY keyboard and 5G support in the first half of 2021 in North America and Europe.
The device will really only be a BlackBerry in spirit, as part of a brand licensing agreement with the Canadian company. Once a dominant player in the smartphone industry, BlackBerry exited the business in 2016 following years of declining sales, falling victim to the rise in popularity of the iPhone and Android smartphones.
While details are slim, OnwardMobility claims that its BlackBerry will sport a “world-class design” with a focus on security and productivity for “enterprise professionals.”
Chinese company TCL reached a similar agreement with BlackBerry to manufacture BlackBerry-branded devices in 2016. That partnership is set to expire at the end of August, paving the way for OnwardMobility to step in.
BlackBerry briefly experimented with an Android-based smartphone of its own in 2015, the Priv, which combined a 5.4-inch display with a physical QWERTY keyboard.