Just after saying that the company is not dead, OnwardMobility shuts down permanently. This comes after the company has lost the rights to the BlackBerry name for the “ultra-secure smartphone with a physical keyboard”.
And with is also the death of the supposed upcoming BlackBerry 5G smartphone too.
So, if you have been waiting for this smartphone since the company announced its possible release, sad to say, you won’t be getting your hands on it ever.
- Classic BlackBerry phones will stop working starting January 4
- BlackBerry is making a comeback – physical keyboard & 5G compatibility
- BlackBerry 5G phone launch is almost here, OnwardMobility hints at a pre-commitment program
OnwardMobility is officially dead, so are the hopes of the release of the BlackBerry 5G
At the start of January, the Austin-based company OnwarMobility shared on a blog post that despite its many delays, the BlackBerry 5G smartphone is still happening.
“While we encountered various delays that prevented us from shipping in 2021,” it said on the blog. “We will be providing more regular updates starting this month that will clarify and answer many of your questions about the ultra-secure 5G enterprise smartphone (still with a keyboard!) we’re bringing to market.”
Funny as it sounds now but the blog was titled, “Contrary to popular belief, we are not dead.” Now, it is safe to say that the company is indeed dead.
January came and went by fast without another update. And now we have learned why the BlackBerry 5G is not happening.
According to the founder and sole-owner of Crackberry.com, Kevin Michaluk, OnwardMobilty is shutting down and will not move with its BlackBerry project after its license to use the BlackBerry name and the branding was canceled.
It seems like BlackBerry does not want anymore to be associated with smartphones. In fact, the company has sold the remainder of its mobile patent portfolio for a whopping $600 million earlier this month.
No photos were ever released featuring the OnwardMobility-built 5G BlackBerry, however, it is said that the phone reportedly takes its design cues from the Priv, an Android-powered slider phone that debuted in late 2015.
The Priv was the only Android phone manufactured in-house at the Canadian enterprise company before outsourcing its design and production of its devices to TCL in 2016.
And just a year later, BlackBerry entered into a licensing agreement with TCL. Then the Chinese company began manufacturing Android devices under the BlackBerry mobile name, such as the KEYone and KEY2.
Tensions then started between the companies and the licensing agreement has ended. The Canadian firm then partnered with OnwarMobility and FIH Mobile Limited, Foxconn’s subsidiary.
The deal was signed in 2020 and would see the small Austin-based startup “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,” says the press release.
The smartphone was set to be launched in mid-2021, which obviously came and went.
Now, according to sources, the continued supply chain-related delays, and BlackBerry CEO John Chen’s change of heart about putting its brand name on another smartphone, has led to stop its support for the project.
And since OnwardMobility can no longer use the BlackBerry name, the company has decided not to go ahead with the project at all.
The company has then posted a farewell letter replacing the entirety of its website content. “Please know that this was not a decision that we made lightly or in haste,” it said. “We share your disappointment in this news and assure you this is not the outcome we worked and hoped for.”
It is sad to a promising project not take off. Also, it is unclear whether OnwardMobility will shut down entirely, or turn what it has started into something viable, even without the Blackberry name on it.
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