Not long ago, Blackberry and TCL ended their partnership, leading the former to walk away from the smartphone market. In late 2020, OnwardMobility acquired the license to sell phones under Blackberry’s name and even announced some ambitious plans for the brand’s reboot. Now, there’s a report on the same confirming a product launch in 2021, complete with the classic Blackberry keyboard.

A recent report from IT Home states OnwardMobility CEO, Peter Franklin, hinting at a new launch in 2021. The smartphone will retain the classic Blackberry physical keyboard and will support 5G connectivity. Adding to the previous revelation, Franklin says along with North America and Europe, Asia will also get to see the Blackberry reboot. There’s no preset date for the reboot’s launch yet.

Blackberry 5G smartphone launching soon

Blackberry’s revival in 2016 under the TCL brand saw some midrange smartphones launch with decent specifications and a productivity-oriented suite. Phones such as the Blackberry Key 2 and Key 2 LE were based on Android and aimed at the enterprise category of smartphone users. However, these Blackberry phones didn’t offer anything new when compared to the conventional smartphones in 2018.

blackberry key2

Photo: Blackberry Key2

One of the redeeming factors was the physical QWERTY keyboard on the Android-based Blackberry phones. However, most consumers are used to software-based keyboards and the last products couldn’t justify the need for physical keyboards, even for the niche category.

Last year, Franklin revealed the new direction his company planned for Blackberry’s reboot. “We really see a need for a 5G BlackBerry, Android smartphone with a physical keyboard and being a flagship device,” said Peter Franklin, CEO of OnwardMobility to PCMag in an interview. Could we see a Blackberry phone with a Snapdragon 888 chip, a high refresh rate display, and some ambitious cameras? Only time can tell.

“To me, the keyboard is one of those things where your brain subconsciously picks up on very minute differences between devices. It’s paramount to me that we have a great experience and a great feel both for the tactility of the keyboard, and how the keys respond and feel,” said Franklin when asked about the keyboard the next Blackberry phone.

Currently, we know that the upcoming Blackberry phones will run on Google’s Android OS and will come pre-installed with the Blackberry security solutions pre-installed.

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