A brand new BlackBerry handset was speculated to launch in 2021, with the model seemingly again from the lifeless… but once more. Nonetheless, no such handset emerged, leaving followers nonetheless questioning when a brand new BlackBerry is coming to market. After a protracted silence, its creators have lastly spoken up.
Re-treading the rise and fall of BlackBerry is a typical dialog in client tech, particularly because the model has had a second rise and fall within the final three years.
As soon as the business-tinged king of the cellphone world within the mid-2000s, the BlackBerry’s bodily keyboard and straight-faced software program didn’t survive the onslaught of the iPhone and the rise of Android. BlackBerry launched one Android cellphone – 2015’s Priv – after which stopped making telephones.
TCL then purchased rights to launch BlackBerry-branded telephones, most notably giving us 2017’s KeyOne after which 2018’s Key2 – an excellent higher sequel. A few different handsets got here of the partnership, however as of 31 August 2020, TCL stopped supporting these telephones with software program updates and the partnership ended.
So it was with some shock that, in the identical breath as TCL’s abandonment of its license, US firm OnwardMobility picked it up as an alternative and has since introduced that it’s going to work to launch a 5G-capable BlackBerry system with a bodily keyboard quickly.
When is the 2022 BlackBerry’s launch date?
A brand new BlackBerry Android cellphone was initially slated to reach in “the primary half of 2021”, based on OnwardMobility’s preliminary 2020 press launch on the topic, nevertheless, virtually a yr on from that preliminary window, a brand new ‘Berry is but to materialise.
In late July 2021, the corporate introduced its “Pre-Dedication Program,” providing followers and companies a method of offering enter on the event means of the primary 5G BlackBerry, in addition to the chance to realize early pre-order entry, as soon as the cellphone is prepared for its debut.
Whereas this system’s sign-up web page did not reveal any extra details about when the cellphone would really be prepared for launch, it did present some perception into OnwardMobility’s progress, with the event of their system already underway on the time, however a ultimate engineering design or specs and options not but locked in.
In mild of legacy BlackBerry gadgets formally dropping software program help on four January 2022, attentions rapidly turned again to OnwardMobility and the seeming radio silence the startup had slipped into after mid-2021, leaving followers utterly at nighttime concerning the progress of its debut BlackBerry and when to anticipate it.
Checking in on 5 January, the corporate’s web site had began to stagnate; nonetheless solely making point out of a 2021 launch, with no new posts or exercise in months, protecting each the location and its social channels; making a “when” more and more appear to be an “if” within the eyes of hopeful BlackBerry followers.
OnwardMobility’s web site on 5 January 2022
Following mounting consideration from media and BlackBerry lovers alike, nevertheless, a brand new weblog put up appeared on OnwardMobility’s weblog only a day later (6 January), entitled “Opposite to in style perception, we’re not lifeless.”
Within the put up, OnwardMobility acknowledged its absent public-facing communication and vowed to ship “extra common updates beginning this month that can make clear and reply lots of your questions,” in regards to the improvement its new BlackBerry.
On the subject of the silence up till this level, the put up’s opening paragraph said, “2021 was actually a difficult yr to launch a brand new cellphone, a lot much less one with the excessive expectations we set and the truth that we need to get it proper,” citing unspecified delays that prevented the corporate from delivery its debut smartphone in 2021, as had initially been promised.
When this new BlackBerry does arrive, nevertheless, it is anticipated to launch in North America, Europe and Asia, though we do not but know which particular markets inside these areas are included.
How a lot will the 2022 BlackBerry price?
We’ve got no indication of value but, however our guess is that it will likely be pretty excessive, round maybe the £800/US$800 mark.
Except OnwardMobility can discover some huge enterprise consumers out the gate, we’re not anticipating their cellphone to promote in big portions. TCL’s BlackBerry telephones had been typically costlier than the specs warranted – in comparison with competing gadgets – and we’re not anticipating that trait to vary this time round.
A BlackBerry in 2021/2022 is a distinct segment system, to say the least, and whereas the premium value will try to replicate the exclusivity of a safe cellphone with a keyboard, the fact is that it’s going to in all probability be costly due to this similar area of interest attraction.
What specs will the 2022 BlackBerry provide?
In accordance with OnwardMobility, their new BlackBerry will provide 5G networking capabilities and a bodily keyboard. These actually are the one two specs that we formally have to this point, other than the truth that the cellphone will run on Android.
OnwardMobility has licensed the BlackBerry title and can also be working with FIH Cellular Restricted – a subsidiary of Foxconn – to fabricate the cellphone.
The one a part of the unique announcement that hinted on the specs of the cellphone said that “there’s an absolute want for a safe, feature-rich 5G-ready cellphone that enhances productiveness.”
That’s nonetheless fairly obscure however means that BlackBerry – the corporate (after ceasing producing its personal telephones, BlackBerry targeted on turning into a viable cyber safety model) – could possibly be concerned on the software program stage, because it was with TCL’s licensed telephones.
Then again, BlackBerry has been promoting off its catalogue of patents over the previous couple of years, with 90 bought to Huawei as of mid-2021, although admittedly that is a drop within the ocean in comparison with the purported whole haul of 38,000 patents it is in possession of. It isn’t clear if promoting off its smartphone software program patents will have an effect on the corporate’s means or intent to supply its personal unique software program going ahead.
“Function-rich” maybe implies that the brand new BlackBerry might be an all-singing, all-dancing high-end system, not like the KeyOne or Key2. 5G telephones don’t must tout the most recent, strongest Snapdragon chipsets but it surely would possibly assist the brand new BlackBerry garner extra endurance with consumers. The KeyOne, specifically, runs fairly gradual right now and was not nicely future-proofed.
New BlackBerry 2022 want listing
With so little concrete info to go on, right here are some things we hope OnwardMobility’s new 5G BlackBerry is bringing to the desk, as a way to do the model justice.
A excessive refresh fee show
The KeyOne and Key2 used the identical precise display screen and it was not a very good one. Colors had been slightly muted and brightness wasn’t nice. A premium BlackBerry must pack a significantly better show, and we’d hope for one with a excessive refresh fee, this deep into 2021. If OnwardMobility needs to draw enterprise professionals, it ought to deal with them to a premium display screen.
A superlative keyboard
It type of goes with out saying that the bodily keyboard must be good however the final nice keyboard on a BlackBerry was 2014’s BlackBerry Basic. The clicky tactile keys haven’t been recreated since. The Key2 acquired closest, however the keys had been too small and too sq..
Sliding type issue
The issue with placing bigger keys in is the expectation of recent smartphone type components. The KeyOne and Key2 had poky screens as a way to match a bodily keyboard under them and nonetheless have a cellphone of manageable dimension. We expect the brand new BlackBerry ought to recreate the shape issue of the BlackBerry Priv, with an everyday touchscreen smartphone show and a sliding type issue that hides a bodily keyboard.
Then once more, if the cellphone aped the compact design of the BlackBerry Daring 9900 and made Android work correctly, we’d be in nostalgia heaven.
The cameras on the TCL BlackBerrys had been all weak. We hope the 5G BlackBerry has cameras that may maintain their very own in opposition to trendy smartphones. If corporations hold bringing the model again, they should cease compromising on the standard of the cameras, one of many principal issues individuals worth on their telephones these days – even businesspeople.
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