It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything related to BlackBerry. After it stopped making its own smartphones, the company switched to licensing its brand to other smartphones makers like TCL. News on that front has died down as well, especially after TCL decided to end its line of BlackBerry-branded phones. Fans of the iconic brand might still be holding on to a little hope, especially now that another licensee has broken its silence to prove that a 5G-capable BlackBerry phone is still in the works, even if a launch date is still up in the air.
It was almost a year ago when Texas-based OnwardMobility revealed that it licensed the brand to create what would be the first 5G BlackBerry phone. Back then, the target was to launch the phone by the first half of 2021. That target was definitely missed, but the company wants to prove it isn’t down for the count just yet.
That said, it isn’t exactly offering more hope than before. What it has done now is to launch a “Pre-Commitment Program” to invite those truly eager to see such a phone made. It’s pretty much like an insider program, promising early access to information and the phone itself while also providing input to drive the product’s design.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t make any commitment as to a new launch date, and the company is probably being careful about making promises it won’t be able to keep yet again. There isn’t even any teaser on what to expect from the phone, like a traditional BlackBerry QWERTY keyboard. Asking “insiders” for design input at this point in time also raises questions about whether OnwardMobility even has a product already in development, especially one that was supposed to launch months ago.
The fate of the BlackBerry brand is pretty much hanging by a thread at this point. Without any new licensees, the name may very well fade into obscurity in a year or so. There are definitely still fans of the iconic QWERTY phone design, but those, too, might be dwindling in number as time passes without any new BlackBerry phone in the market.