Iconic smartphone brand, BlackBerry, has revealed a 5G handset with Android smarts and physical keyboard will launch next year, as a new licensee takes over from TCL.
BlackBerry ceased making its own phones in 2016 after etching a licensing deal with Chinese tech manufacturer, TCL. In February, TCL announced it would not have the rights to design and manufacture BlackBerry devices as of August 31, 2020.
According to The Register, Texan startup OnwardMobility has acquired the BlackBerry license, and will launch a device with an in-house ‘clean-sheet keyboard’, that reuse the design left by TCL.
Teasers have emerged online of BlackBerry 5G smartphones “coming 2021”, with the device tipped to be marketed towards enterprise customers (e.g. government and corporate clients).
The news comes after Samsung unveiled its new Enterprise Edition Galaxy Note 20, with a Knox security package.
BlackBerry’s team have informed media that the forthcoming handset will have to abide by its internal security requirements.
OnwardMobility have reportedly inked a manufacturing partnership deal with a Foxconn subsidiary, who have experience in physical QWERTY keyboards.
In Australia, the BlackBerry Key2 is being sold from retailers such as JB Hi-Fi for $799.