OnwardMobility, a US-based startup founded in 2019 by serial entrepreneur Peter Franklin, who worked for Microsoft and online game company Zynga, has announced its plan to release a new 5G BlackBerry Android smartphone with a physical keyboard.
The startup has already made agreements with BlackBerry, which has agreed to license its brand, and FIH Mobile Limited, a subsidiary of Foxconn Technology Group, which will provide its world-class design and manufacturing expertise.
“This is an incredible opportunity for OnwardMobility to bring next-generation 5G devices to market with the backing of BlackBerry and FIH Mobile,” said Peter Franklin, CEO of OnwardMobility. “Enterprise professionals are eager for secure 5G devices that enable productivity, without sacrificing the user experience.”
Indeed, the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the global need for better information security, and smartphones play an essential role in the personal and work lives of most people. During the pre-iPhone era, BlackBerry devices were the go-to choice of productivity-oriented professionals, but the rise of modern smartphones with touchscreens forced BlackBerry to stop selling them in 2016.
To revive the brand’s former glory, something several other companies have unsuccessfully attempted before, OnwardMobility will have to do a lot more than just slap a physical keyboard on a run-of-the-mill Android smartphone. The startup knows that it faces an uphill battle, which is why it’s betting on the combination of security and productivity.
“We are excited that customers will experience the enterprise and government level security and mobile productivity the new BlackBerry 5G smartphone will offer,” commented John Chen, Executive Chairman and CEO, BlackBerry.
The new BlackBerry device will first launch in North America and Europe. No release date has yet been announced, but all involved parties hope to release it within this year. Currently, OnwardMobility is speaking to customers and mobile carriers on a global scale to develop its distribution plan. Understanding the critical importance of the Asian market, the goal is to enter it as soon as possible.
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