Last year, Chinese licensee TCL announced that it would no longer sell BlackBerry phones. The 4-year license agreement has expired. Obviously, this has raised a lot of questions about the future of the Blackberry brand. It soon became clear that the licensing rights had passed to the American company OnwardMobility.
OnwardMobility issued a press release stating, “In the first half of 2021, we will launch a BlackBerry Android smartphone with a physical keyboard and 5G support in North America and Europe.” For the development and production of BlackBerry smartphones, the company has entered into an exclusive partnership with Android smartphone manufacturer FIH Mobile Limited, a subsidiary of Foxconn.
Last month, the Nikkei Asia business newspaper published an extensive interview with Peter Franklin, CEO of OnwardMobility (and a former Microsoft employee). The publication revealed that the new BlackBerry smartphone will not only have 5G support and a physical keyboard, OnwardMobility also intends to add a top-notch camera to the smartphone. This is remarkable because the camera has never been an essential element for BlackBerry business smartphones.
The BlackBerry Key 3 smartphone, shown in the renders, is equipped with a triple camera, like the flagship models of other manufacturers. Unfortunately, there are very few details on the technical characteristics of this new device. The physical keyboard will definitely be appreciated by dedicated BlackBerry users. It will also be the brand’s first 5G phone.
The new BlackBerry phone should be officially announced for the US and European markets within three months.