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.
Stripe Enters The Middle East With Its UAE Launch
Stripe will initially only be available to UAE businesses, allowing them to accept online payments, make payouts, mitigate fraud, and attract customers from around the world.
Stripe, a provider of online payment processing for internet business, has finally expanded to the Middle East with its official launch in the United Arab Emirates. The Irish-American company also opened an office in Dubai Internet City, allowing it to be closer to its new customer base.
At first, Stripe will only be available to UAE businesses, allowing them to accept online payments, make payouts, mitigate fraud, and attract customers from around the world.
“The UAE is a thriving hub for technology, supported by strong investor appetite, internet-savvy consumers, and an open, innovative ecosystem of business leaders and entrepreneurs,” said Matt Henderson, EMEA Business Lead at Stripe. “Our launch today also means we can now connect our global user base to the Gulf, enabling them to seamlessly expand their operations in the region.”
Stripe’s entry into the Middle East market comes just weeks after its latest round of funding, which has resulted in the company’s value jumping up to $95 billion and making it one of the most valuable fintech companies in the world.
The UAE is the perfect entry point for the online payment processing provider because the total value of digital payment transactions in the gulf country has doubled in the last two years alone, reaching $18.5 billion in 2020. If the UAE remains on the current growth trajectory, its e-commerce sector is expected to add nearly another $10 billion over the next two years.
Another factor that makes the UAE such an ideal expansion point is the fact that accepting online payments in the country has historically been incredibly challenging. Stripe provides a straightforward setup process and developer-friendly APIs, making it easy for companies of all sizes to improve their online presence.
Last year, Stripe launched in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Malta. The company also expanded into Africa via Nigeria technology startup Paystack. In total, Stripe currently processes hundreds of billions of dollars each year.