Nikkei Shimbun recently interviewed Peter Franklin, CEO of OnwardMobility, a company that currently operates BlackBerry phones. He said that they will launch a BlackBerry 5G smartphone this year. It will sport a classic BlackBerry keyboard.
The well-known smartphone brand BlackBerry failed to keep up with the trend of smartphones and was acquired in 2013. After that, it reached a cooperation agreement with TCL and BlackBerry Mobile in 2016 and launched several new phones. At the beginning of 2020, the cooperation between the two companies ended, and another company, OnwardMobility, took over from TCL to design and manufacture BlackBerry branded smartphones.
The company is currently cooperating with Foxconn to jointly develop a new 5G machine with a physical keyboard. Previously, the company said it would release this product in North America and Europe. But the company’s CEO Frank said that Asia is also a very important market, and smartphones will also be released in Asia.
He has not disclosed the launch date of the smartphone, but OnwardMobility hopes to release it as soon as possible, because this is a very iconic device worldwide, and the Asian market is very important to the company. Franklin also said, ‘We are promoting to customers and sellers around the world, introducing product sales plans.’
The BlackBerry brand was established in Canada. Around 2010, with its iconic physical keyboard and unique system experience, smartphones became popular worldwide. After cooperating with TCL, the brand launched a smart phone KEY2 LE equipped with a keyboard. This phone came with a 4.5-inch screen, and also had three Android King Kong buttons and a physical QWER keyboard. The space bar includes fingerprint recognition. The phone featured a Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor, 4GB of memory and 64GB of storage. When it is released in 2018, the price was as high as US$499.99.