BlackBerry has reached a new deal to license its brand for a smartphone. The company OnwardMobility plans to produce a new 5G BlackBerry phone with physical keyboard for the North American and European markets. It’s signed up FIH Mobile as partner to manufacture the device and expects to have its first product ready in the first half of 2021.
The announcement follows news earlier this year that TCL does not plan to produce anymore BlackBerry phones. BlackBerry stopped producing its own phones in 2016 and licensed the brand to TCL in December of that year, in order to focus more on its mobility software.
OnwardMobility said it will target the enterprise market and businesses looking for a secure device to support productivity, also for the growing number of remote workers. The company is led by the entrepreneur Peter Franklin as CEO and has signed up an executive team with a broad range of experience, from former TCL managers like marketing chief Melody Russel to security expert Claude Leroux and previous employees of Sonim, Kyocera, Nokia and Samsung. The company is actively seeking financial backers and already registering interest among customers.
OnwardMobility will conduct product planning and market development for BlackBerry smartphones, and FIH Mobile, a subsidiary of Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision, will design and manufacture the BlackBerry devices “under strict guidelines to ensure component, device and supply chain integrity”, the company said in a statement.