A new BlackBerry handset is supposed to launch in 2021, and once again the brand seems to be back from the dead. It’s time for a reboot and a comeback.
However, the phone is unlikely to ever launch. The likeliness of a handset launching was moved from slim to none, to none.
Re-treading the rise and fall of BlackBerry is a common conversation in consumer tech, especially since the brand has had a second rise and fall in the last three years.
It was once a king, but the BlackBerry fell from grace in the mid-2000s. Their phones were no longer as popular or fun to use as the iPhone and the Android phones that replaced them.
It’s a great time to be a BlackBerry user. BlackBerry recently released one Android phone, the Priv, and then stopped making phones.
In 2015, TCL then bought rights to release Blackberry-branded phones, most notably giving us in 2017’s KeyOne, and then in 2018’s KeyTwo – an even better sequel.
It was with some surprise that, in the same breath as TCL abandoned its license, US company Onward Mobility picked it up instead and promised a 5G-capable BlackBerry phone with a physical keyboard arriving sometime in 2021.
When is the 2022 BlackBerry’s release date?
It took me an hour or two to get to the final level and then only half an hour to beat it on OnwardMobility’s steam, but it’s worth it. I would suggest this game to everyone!
But what happened? A new Blackberry Android phone was initially slated to arrive in “the first half of 2021”, according to OnwardMobility’s initial 2020 press release on the subject, however, a year on from that initial window, no such ‘Berry had materialised.
In late July 2021, the company announced a pre-commitment program where fans and businesses could provide input on the development of the first 5G BlackBerry. It also offered people who pre-ordered the device early access to it once it was ready.
This smartphone hasn’t been officially announced, so we don’t know when it will be released.
We also know that OnwardMobility is already working on the next generation of smartphones.
1.The blackberry was finally retired in January
2. Attention quickly shifted to OnwardMobility and the apparently radio silence it had slipped into after the end of blackberry.
Fans had no idea what to expect from the first Apple device, or when to expect it, so they were left in the dark about its fate.
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Following mounting attention from media and BlackBerry enthusiasts alike, OnwardMobility acknowledged the absence of any public-facing communication. They vowed to deliver “regular updates starting this month that will clarify and answer many of your questions” about the development of their first device.
Despite a lack of updates for the past two years, the post’s opening paragraph stated, “It’s true, there were delays in getting the first-generation Pixel 3 out to customers, but Google is determined to deliver a top-notch device, and today is just the first step,” citing unspecified delays that prevented the company from shipping its debut smartphone in 2021, as had originally been promised.
When BlackBerry finally released its long-awaited Z30, I was very excited, given the fact that it was more than just a mid-range smartphone for emerging markets — the new handset also brought with it support for the much-needed BlackBerry Hub feature.
When it was announced that OnwardMobility was dead, multiple sources have confirmed that the company’s efforts had been sunk.
It’s not clear what led to the cancellation of the OnwardMobility license but it’s a step that itself follows the Canadian company selling off its mobile patent portfolio for around $600m.
The BlackBerry brand has been losing ground and market share for some time now, and the announcement of its discontinuation of the platform has been announced with the release of the new Android mobile operating system.
In less than a week, the company announced that it was shutting down, but with a special thanks to customers who supported them during their time online.
With RIM’s new CEO, a new direction and a new product, the future looks dim for BlackBerry.
How much would the 2022 BlackBerry cost?
Scuppered is probably too strong a word but it’s not all bad news for OnwardMobility. Here are some insights that we’ve picked up from the debacle.
There’s no question that pricing for the first 5G BlackBerry will be fairly high. In fact, most manufacturers are going to be priced similarly, and the company isn’t expecting to sell many phones.
The OnwardMobility Berry is a great smartphone – affordable for anyone who wants it – because it has an even greater future.
A BlackBerry in 2021/2022 is a niche device, to say the least. While the premium price is likely to have been intended to reflect the exclusivity of a secure phone with a keyboard, the fact is that the price would have been high because of this same appeal.