It's been a minute since someone tried to revive the BlackBerry, which is no easy feat since it was muscled out of the mainstream by iPhones and Android smartphones; but that means we're long overdue for another try, and fans of the brand will be thrilled to know that a new BlackBerry is coming this year.
This time around, it's Texas-based start-up OnwardMobility licensing the BlackBerry name and teaming up with Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn; the duo has its sights set on launching the 5G BlackBerry device sometime this year in North America and Europe, with Asia to follow.
The biggest draw of the BlackBerry is its physical keyboard, which has been lauded by worker bee-users who can't get enough of the benefits that honest-to-goodness buttons bring to productivity. Of course, the small contingent of people who still aren't on board with a touchscreen should also be pricking their ears up at the news.
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The 2021 BlackBerry will also be getting the missing upgrades that may have gone some way to its previous revivals not really taking off, which will include a premium, flagship quality camera setup, and 5G capability.
Hopefully it'll scrap the traditional display with its 3:2 aspect ratio (last seen on the BlackBerry Key2) which stubbornly ignores the fact that users might enjoy a smartphone that's designed for working on the go or at home – especially with the changes the pandemic has brought about – but may also want to peruse apps like Instagram or YouTube, which the BlackBerry devices just aren't optimised for.
CEO of OnwardMobility, Peter Franklin, is confident that a revamped BlackBerry can hold its own once again, particularly with the amount of remote working going on, telling Nikkei Asia (opens in new tab) that the "physical keyboard can help boost productivity."
Whatever the plans for the BlackBerry, we're curious to see how it unfolds. I'm a button-lover myself, but I wouldn't give up my multitude of social media apps for the pleasure of getting them back. More tidbits will pop up over the next few months as we head towards launch this year, so expect leaks and rumors to follow.