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A new 5G Android BlackBerry with a physical keyboard is making a comeback in 2021

Here we go again.

blackberry key 2
Image: Joe Rice-Jones / KnowTechie

Crackberry fans rejoice! A new 5G BlackBerry phone with Android and a physical keyboard will arrive in 2021, reports our very own Matthew Hughes for The Register. If you’re looking to someone to thank, direct your attention to the folks at Onward Mobility, they’re the ones resurrecting the BlackBerry license.

So what do we know about this new BlackBerry phone? Honestly, not much, other than the fact it’s going to be released with Android baked in and it’s going to feature a physical QWERTY keyboard, along with a launch date some time in 2021. That’s it.

The company is being pretty tight-lipped about the whole project, telling The Register that the device would feature a “clean-sheet keyboard created in-house, rather than reuse a design previously used by BlackBerry (formerly RIM) or TCL.” A spokesperson added the keyboard will “reflect the brand values from a keyboard typing experience and input experience.” Sure, whatever that means.

And as usual, the company plans to market the device to enterprise customers, similar to how the BlackBerry was marketed in the past. This doesn’t mean consumers won’t be able to buy it, but the company’s focus is getting the phone in the hands of customers where it makes the most sense.

Onward Mobility knows they have their work cut out for them, especially in today’s smartphone market. Sarah Tatsis, BlackBerry VP of Advanced Technology Labs, tells The Register:

“Top of mind for us is not just making the most secure and productive device, but also being an everyday device,” notes Franklin. “That means things like a top-notch camera, and the other specs you’d expect from your day-to-day phone. Simultaneously, we know that we must be competitive, and so is our pricing.”

BlackBerry has had a helluva run, but with the growing base of Android and iPhone users, the company’s devices took the back seat and saw the world just drive past them. And with the company giving up entirely on its devices and handing over the licensing rights to TCL, only to have them pass it over to Onward Mobility, you kind of want to see the company succeed in making a solid phone people can use. Who knows what will come of this.

Either way, we’ll find out more when the phone is announced and released. According to the company, we could see that as soon as “the first half of 2021.”

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