In early February 2020, TCL Communication announced that it would discontinue the production of BlackBerry-branded smartphones. Fans of the products of the once-legendary brand thought they had said goodbye to the brand forever. But the latest news gives hope that BlackBerry devices will return to the market.
The Canadian giant signed an agreement with OnwardMobility, which acquired the rights to the brand. OnwardMobility was created in 2018, under the name Onward88, to tackle the BlackBerry brand's return.
The Texas-based startup has received a license to manufacture BlackBerry smartphones together with Foxconn subsidiary Fin Mobile. OnwardMobility has already announced a smartphone running on the Android operating system with a physical QWERTY keyboard. Besides, the new product will support 5G. BlackBerry 5G is slated for release in the first half of 2021.
OnwardMobility claims that its BlackBerry will sport a "world-class design" with a focus on security and productivity for "enterprise professionals."
BlackBerry used to be one of the largest smartphone manufacturers. The products were popular in the USA and around the world. The company's revenues began to decline with the introduction of iPhones and Android smartphones. In 2009, BlackBerry controlled one-fifth of the phone market. In 2012, BlackBerry shares fell sharply and were less than 5%.