Texas-based startup OnwardMobility has announced its agreement to release a new Android-based BlackBerry smartphone with a physical QWERTY keyboard and 5G support in the first half of 2021. Under the terms of the agreement, BlackBerry has granted OnwardMobility the right to develop, engineer, and bring to market a BlackBerry 5G mobile device.
"BlackBerry is thrilled OnwardMobility will deliver a BlackBerry 5G smartphone device with a physical keyboard leveraging our high standards of trust and security synonymous with our brand," John Chen, Executive Chairman and CEO, BlackBerry, said in a statement on Wednesday.
"We are excited that customers will experience the enterprise and government level security and mobile productivity the new BlackBerry 5G smartphone will offer".
Earlier, Chinese company TCL reached an agreement with BlackBerry to manufacture BlackBerry-branded devices in 2016 and this partnership is set to expire at the end of August, paving the way for OnwardMobility to step in.
"BlackBerry smartphones are known for protecting communications, privacy, and data. This is an incredible opportunity for OnwardMobility to bring next-generation 5G devices,'' said Peter Franklin, CEO of OnwardMobility.
However, no other information regarding the device has been shared as of yet and it is not clear if this will be a flagship device or just another mid-ranger. BlackBerry exited the business in 2016 following years of declining sales due to the rise in popularity of the iPhone and Android smartphones.