The BlackBerry 5G renaissance isn’t dead after all

As of Tuesday, devices running BlackBerry OS have essentially turn into retro clipboardbecause they lost basic functionality like the ability to make calls, send text messages, and access cellular data.

Considering that BlackBerry-branded devices have been running Android since 2015, this probably hasn’t affected many of our readers, but the renewed interest raised an interesting question: what happened to this BlackBerry 5G that we were promised in 2020?

As new BlackBerry licensees OnwardMobility have said the keyboard device will arrive in the first half of 2021, and as the clock moves closer and closer to midnight on December 31, the official company website still had a “coming 2021” label on it.

Obviously, that deadline was missed, but the sudden coverage of the missing device woke OnwardMobility from its sleep, and the company has issued an official statement. The new BlackBerry 5G is still coming; it has just been delayed.

“To all of you who have patiently awaited the updates from OnwardMobility, we are humbly aware that we owe you some form of communication as we head into 2022,” the company wrote in a statement. blog post. “And to quote Mark Twain, as many do, ‘Contrary to popular belief, we are not dead’.”

No price to guess the reason for not respecting the deadline: everything is due to the “difficult” conditions of 2021 causing “various delays”. But the company assures readers that it still plans to release an “ultra-secure 5G corporate smartphone” with a keyboard.

Although the word “BlackBerry” does not appear in the post, the name and brand still appear on the homepage, so we don’t expect a sudden rebranding. Anyway, we should know more soon. OnwardMobility promises “regular updates”, the first coming this month.

Difficult battle

That’s a pretty positive blog post, despite the headline acknowledging the elephant in the room: Most people thought another BlackBerry alarm clock was dead in the water. But despite the upbeat tone, it’s hard to see a BlackBerry 5G making significant inroads, whenever it pops up.

There are a number of reasons for this, but the main one is that the smartphone market is so ridiculously competitive that even established names are struggling to break out of the single-digit sales market share. Sony is barely registering, HTC is essentially out of the phone game, and LG has been actively calling on it to step down from a part of the business it could no longer justify.

Onward Mobility is not the first company to license BlackBerry – TCL Communications has released a number of handsets with the KeyOne brand from 2017 to Key2 LE from 2018. The license agreement expired in 2020, and the The fact that TCL did not rush to renew it speaks volumes.

That doesn’t mean BlackBerry couldn’t get back into good hands, of course, but the omens don’t look good, and there’s another data point against its odds. For a while, Samsung produced BlackBerry-style physical keyboard cases for its Galaxy S smartphones. The company hasn’t cared about this lineup since the Galaxy S8, and the most likely reason is a lack of interest.

We would like to be wrong, but we wouldn’t recommend putting money in to make BlackBerry relevant again in 2022, although it doesn’t seem as long as it did last week.

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