Blackberry 5G is both highly anticipated and mysteriously delayed. The revival of the nostalgia-ridden brand by security company OnwardMobility stirs great excitement among smartphone fans, but it’s too late.
OnwardMobility’s website stated that “[the company] has agreed] to deliver the new 5G BlackBerry Android smartphone, with a physical keyboard in the first half of 2021 in North America or Europe.”
We’re not even in 2021, so this clearly did not go according to plan. Now, Blackberry and phone lovers are waiting with their fingers for real news. The company released a new statement stating that the phone was delayed, but is still being made – hopefully, more information will be available soon.
The Blackberry 5G will finally arrive. It should fulfill the needs of Android power users who are fond of the physical keyboards that allow for faster typing. These people haven’t been able to tap away at the keys of anything, including the average BlackBerry key2 launched in 2018, or the more obscure and middling F(x)tec Pro1 launched one year later. It would be difficult to find a keyboard phone today that isn’t outdated.
After the original developer gave all their mobile patents away, this is not the first Blackberry revival. Instead, most people have shifted to smart cars software and security technology. TCL took over the manufacturing of the brand in 2016 but ended the partnership in 2020.
OnwardMobility, a mobile company, purchased the brand instead. They plan to work with Foxconn, maker of many gaming consoles, Nokia, Xiaomi phones, and old BlackBerry models, to create a new BlackBerry. This is what we expect from the new phone in terms of features and specs.
Let’s get to the point
- What’s it? A 5G smartphone with a physical keyboard
- When will it be out? Most likely in 2022
- What is the price? There are no price leaks, but it could go up to $800 / PS600/ AU$1000
BlackBerry 5G 2021 price and release date
OnwardMobility acquired the BlackBerry brand and declared in mid-2020 that it would launch a new smartphone in North America and Europe sometime in the first half of 2021. It could also ship in Asian markets but it is likely to arrive later.
In a February 2021 interview, Peter Franklin, CEO of OnwardMobility, stated that more details would be revealed in the coming months. We thought at the time that this could refer to a May 2021 product announcement.
It was clear that this wasn’t to happen as May flew by with not a word spoken from the fruity company.
OnwardMobility created a waitlist for information about the 5G BlackBerry phone in July 2021. This suggested a release was near, but the terminology also suggested that there may be a long wait. Time has continued to crawl forward with no updates until January 2022 when OnwardMobility confirmed that the phone had experienced delays, but that it was still being developed. This confirms that the phone is still being made.
Unfortunately, we don’t yet have a price estimate. The Key2 was the last BlackBerry flagship to include a keyboard. It cost $649 / PS579 (about AU$850), and most of its Android predecessors fall within the same pricing range. This is a new company, with different goals and target customers. Franklin stated in the interview that it would be a “global flagship device”.
In its press release, the company stated that the phone would be manufactured ‘under strict guidelines in order to ensure component and supply chain integrity. It would also be able to provide ‘government-level security for enterprise professionals.
The new BlackBerry 5G may be more expensive because it uses a different manufacturing process to other phones. It may also have a higher-specced camera than other flagship phones. All things considered, it could be a more expensive BlackBerry than the previous models.
News and details about products
The BlackBerry 5G 2022 phone, which is the new BlackBerry 5G 20,22, is still flying largely under the radar. Although we often see leaks and hear more rumors about larger phones, so far we don’t know much.
It will support 5G and run on the Android OS. However, we are not sure if it’ll use Android 11. OnwardMobility also confirmed that the phone is targeted at consumers and enterprises.
Peter Franklin, CEO of OnwardMobility, stated that more than half the world’s population has smartphones. “The market is huge.” “What has been missing is a highly-secure, productivity-centric smartphone that can meet the needs of government users, enterprise users, and consumers who are security-conscious – that’s what we plan to fill.”
According to OnwardMobility, we also know that the phone will feature a top-of-the-line camera from our interview with Nikkei Asia. We will have to wait to see if the tech lives to the hype.
We don’t know what the phone will be called. It’s supposed to be a 5G BlackBerry so we are calling it BlackBerry 5G at this time. It’s possible that it won’t launch as a BlackBerry now, because a January 2022 announcement about the phone doesn’t mention the BlackBerry name.
BlackBerry 5G: What we want to see
We don’t know much about the specs or design of the phone, as we have already stated. Based on the history of keyboard phones and BlackBerry models, however, we do know what we want to see in order to make it worthwhile.
1. A QWERTY slider keyboard
The Blackberry 5G 2021 will feature a physical keyboard. However, OnwardMobility will also be designing it from scratch using old BlackBerry designs. We don’t think it will be too revolutionary, but it will still appeal to existing BlackBerry users while drawing new ones.
We would prefer a slide-out design similar to the one in the BlackBerry Pr, but only if it slides out lengthwise rather than at the bottom.
While the fixed keyboard model was great for phones that were larger, a narrower, taller BlackBerry would make it too difficult to type comfortably on. A keyboard that is always visible, although appealing to older users, can make the keyboard feel bulky for new customers.
A large, physical QWERTY keyboard that disappears when you want to experience a traditional touchscreen experience might be just what a new BlackBerry requires.
2. Battery life of at least one day
If you only use your phone sporadically, most flagship phones don’t last for long. The BlackBerry must have a long-lasting battery to make it stand out as a phone that executives and busy professionals can use.
Our tests showed that the BlackBerry Key2 lasted between 25 and 35 hours, despite its faults. The BlackBerry 5G will likely have to replicate the Moto GP9 Power which boasts a 6,000mAh battery, two days of battery life, and a price that is affordable.
3. Keyboard shortcuts
The latest smartphones had shortcuts that could be programmed to open apps with just a few keystrokes. That would be great paired with Google Assistant Android 11.
Automated routines can be set up that responds to a particular voice command. This could include turning on your smart home devices or checking your calendar. Imagine if these actions could be triggered by a short, easily remembered shortcut on your BlackBerry keyboard.
We also hope the new BlackBerry 5G will have great specs that allow it to run apps fast, store all your files, and so forth. It’s the keyboard that must be impressive to stand out from the excellent Android phones.