Earlier this year BlackBerry announced that TCL Communication will no longer be selling BlackBerry-branded smartphones starting from August 31, 2020. Now OnwardMobility, a Texas-based startup, has signed an agreement with BlackBerry and FIH Mobile Limited, a subsidiary of Foxconn to sell new smartphones.
The first one will be a 5G BlackBerry Android smartphone with a physical keyboard, in the first half of 2021 in North America and Europe. The launch will be followed by a couple of more launches throughout the next year. Under the terms of the agreement, BlackBerry grants OnwardMobility the right to develop, engineer, and bring to market a BlackBerry 5G mobile device.
OnwardMobility will conduct product planning and market development for BlackBerry smartphones in North America and FIH Mobile will design and manufacture the BlackBerry devices under strict guidelines to ensure component, device and supply chain integrity.
BlackBerry has been out of the smartphone business for a while now. The company did not launch any smartphone in 2019 expect for the new KEY2 Red Edition during MWC 2019. The company still provides enterprise services to businesses and it owns QNX, which is a popular OS for automotive applications.
“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.
“As an exclusive supplier to OnwardMobility, we’re committed to delivering new BlackBerry 5G devices to market, utilizing our deep expertise in design, manufacturing, component supply and logistics management,” said Dr. Wen-Yi Kuo, Executive Director, FIH Mobile.