BlackBerry has made a comeback since TCL dropped it earlier this year — and we can expect to see new smartphones with physical QWERTY keyboards, along with 5G connectivity sometime in 2021, according to a press release.
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BlackBerry QWERTY keyboards rise from the dead
The once-supreme purveyor of QWERTY smartphones, BlackBerry aims to return to European and North American markets in 2021 — thanks to a new licensing partnership with FIH Mobile Limited and OnwardMobility, reports 9 to 5 Google.
BlackBerry gave teams from both companies the rights to develop, engineer, and produce a novel and 5G-capable BlackBerry mobile device.
Notably, this will be for one device — not a series of a new line of devices, which means this partnership may or may not extend beyond developing one piece of novel smartphone hardware.
BlackBerry keyboards aren't extinct, after all
Since there is a small market for Android devices featuring physical keyboards, this is excellent news for people desperate for a chance to replace their aging BlackBerry devices. But OnwardMobility gave no additional information on the forthcoming project, nor additional details on possible hardware.
"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 CEO and Executive Chairman of BlackBerry John Chen, in the press release.
BlackBerry has had a difficult time in recent years, making this an odd but welcomed move to the company's devoted fanbase. Notably, it's obvious BlackBerry is a notoriously hard brand to "fully" kill off. In the recent past, it's felt like BlackBerry smartphones were finally extinct, but this new rise feels like just the sort of underdog the mobile market has lacked for some time.