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BlackBerry’s 5G resurrection has been canceled

Crackberry fans just can’t catch a break

blackberry key 2
Image: Joe Rice-Jones / KnowTechie

Way back in 2009, some random Wired contributor set the comments section on fire when they reluctantly declared the iPhone a better phone over the BlackBerry.

Yet, it was a tad prophetic in that the iPhone has outlasted BlackBerry devices. At that time, with the iPhone in its infancy and the BlackBerry a formidable force in the mobile phone market, it seemed like BlackBerry would be right there a decade later with Android and iPhone devices.

Alas, it was not to be. Instead, BlackBerry is once again being hauled off to the chopping block.

In the third quarter of 2020, the company transferred the BlackBerry branding from phone manufacturer TCL, which had released the BlackBerry KEYone in 2017 and the KEY2 in 2018, to Texas startup OnwardMobility.

It announced that it would be releasing a 5G-capable BlackBerry-branded phone with a physical keyboard sometime in 2021. Well, 2021 came and went, and still no BlackBerry phone.

Earlier this month, OnwardMobility announced that it wouldn’t be completing the BlackBerry phone project.

Whatever sliver of hope BlackBerry fans are holding onto for a new phone will be dashed by a statement on the company’s website announcing a complete shut down of operations.

onward mobility statement on why the blackberry 5g revival is dead
Image: KnowTechie (via OnwardMobility)

We really should have seen this coming. BlackBerry has been struggling for over a decade, each new iPhone a nail in the coffin. Last year BlackBerry OS rendered useless any device running it, as it was retired into the sunset.

BlackBerry is now a software company; it was simply a matter of time before the hardware line became a thing of the past, even if in name only.

Tack on a global chip shortage along with BlackBerry offloading its mobile phone patents for a cool $600 million, and whatever hope remained for a new BlackBerry phone now stomped into the dirt.

That’s got to be it for BlackBerry regarding mobile phones, right? There can’t be another tech company out there willing to take a risk on a phone branding with limited market attraction, right?

older blackberry phones with blackberry os
Image: KnowTechie

Well, with those patents in the hands of a private consortium of companies and the BlackBerry name up for grabs, anything is possible.

Knowing true BlackBerry hardcore fans, that possibility mixed with nostalgia for the physical keyboard and belt clips will keep this brand alive. At least in memory.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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