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.
LEAP 2024 Will Shine A Light On Female Innovators In Technology
Women comprise nearly a third of the event’s speaker lineup alongside a dedicated program of high-level content, investment, and mentorship.
LEAP 2024, a premier global technology event, will highlight the achievements of women in the technology sector as it returns for its third edition at the Riyadh Exhibition and Convention Centre in Malham district from March 4 to 7.
Hosted by Tahaluf, a strategic collaboration between Informa PLC, the Events Investment Fund (EIF), and the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming, and Drones (SAFCSP), LEAP 2024 will feature a dedicated program titled “Women in Tech”. The program will offer enriching content, investment opportunities, networking sessions, mentorship programs, and a special startup award.
The initiative aims to inspire women to actively participate in the technology industry, aligning with broader diversity efforts. Reflecting the Kingdom’s commitment to equality, the focus on “Women in Tech” coincides with the increasing female participation at LEAP events.
Annabelle Mander, Senior Vice President of Tahaluf, emphasized the event’s commitment to gender inclusivity, stating, “Female representation is across all of LEAP’s features and reflects the event’s mission of driving economic diversification and providing market access to international business. Within Tahaluf itself, half of our team members are women, and women make up half of our SMT, too”.
The “Women in Tech” program will feature distinguished speakers including Nadine Hachach Haram, CEO and Founder of Proximie, and Sahar Albanarna from IMPACTIQUE Bahrain, who explained: “Over 26 million women worldwide with professional experience and degrees are not in the global workplace. This demographic includes a huge pool of untapped talent which technology can help unleash to fuel the co-creation of exponential solutions across multiple sectors. To help women access productive employment, we urge industry leaders to support high-impact female entrepreneurs as a means to boost their economies and accelerate the UN’s sustainable development goals by promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth”.
The event will also provide a platform for female-led startups and entrepreneurs to pitch for funding and support through various initiatives such as the Women’s Investor Forum, Entrepreneur Mentorship Scheme, and the Aviatrix Award at the Rocket Fuel pitch competition, offering a prize fund of US$150,000.