Blackberry will be making a comeback, yet again. A Texas-based startup, OnwardMobility, together with Foxconn’s Android phone making arm is developing a new 5G smartphone equipped with a keyboard for North America, Asia, and Europe. It is expected to hit the markets this year – 2021! Also Read: Clubhouse – A sanctuary for liberal and progressive voices in China
Ever heard of OnwardMobility? OnwardMobility was incorporated in Austin, Texas as Onward88 in late 2018 by Peter Franklin. Franklin is not new to the technology world and has worked previously with Microsoft and Zynga. Also Read: True wireless charger: Xiaomi introduces ‘Mi Air Charge Technology’ that can charge your smartphone over the air
OnwardMobility had announced agreements with Blackberry, and a subsidiary of Foxconn Technology Group, FIH Mobile Limited in August 2020. The company aims to deliver a 5G BlackBerry Android smartphone with a physical keyboard, in the first half of 2021. Also Read: Robinhood: Everything you need to know about the trading app amid GameStop, AMC and Blackberry storm
Rise and fall of Blackberry: Originally manufactured by Canadian company RIM (Research in Motion), Blackberry rose to the top of smartphone charts and was known for its physical keyboard, secure messaging system and trademarked operating system. The phone was extremely popular with top company executives and celebrities alike. Also Read: Google will use your Android phones for early earthquake detection
However, the launch of the iPhone by Apple and other Android phones, Blackberry witnessed a huge drop in demand, and the company eventually stopped selling phones in 2016.
Good smartphones don’t die: This isn’t the first attempt made to revive the Blackberry brand. TCL, a Chinese electronics company, launched several Blackberry models but decided to exit the business last year. Now, OnwardMobility with its partnership with FIH Mobile will unveil a new device featuring the signature keyboard, top-of-the-line camera and 5G connectivity.
Can pandemic help Blackberry? Blackberry wasn’t able to keep pace with the changing mobile landscape. But, in the post-pandemic world, Blackberry is betting on its productivity-focused smartphones, as more and more people are working from home due to COVID-19. Also Read: Amazon Web Services, SGX and Aquis Exchange undertook pilot to show trading shares in cloud can be fast and reliable
- OnwardMobility is betting on security features and hopes to offer protection against data leaks and other cyber threats.
- OnwardMobility plans to work with other cybersecurity companies and hopes to tap into corporate demands.
Tough road ahead: Global smartphone landscape, which is segmented based on prices, is dominated by a handful of players who now have established sales channels.
- In 2020, Samsung shipped 20.6% of smartphones out of a total of 1.29 billion devices.
- Apple came second with 15.9%, as per the International Data Corp.
- OnwardMobility will also have to look for Chinese players like Xiaomi who are known for releasing cheap smartphones with high-end performances.