Last month, it was announced by Onward Mobility that we’d see BlackBerry hardware arrive sometime in 2022 following delays that prevented shipments in 2021. It was said that a 5G-enabled enterprise smartphone with a keyboard would arrive to the market bearing the BlackBerry name.
In the most recent development, the dream of a 5G BlackBerry is officially dead. According to CrackBerry.com Founder Kevin Michaluk, Onward Mobility is officially dead. The founder posted the following to CrackBerry.
Dead as of yesterday. Time to move on CrackBerry fam. Confirmed from multiple sources. Reminder that I NEVER signed an NDA with them though I was offered one.
We’ll see if they actually post a formal update to their blog or not, but my guess would be that John Chen/BlackBerry prefers they just go quietly away (he’s clearly done with phones) and at this point its probably best for all of us to forgot about this train wreck. Well, train-wreck is too complimentary as it would imply they built a train that they then wrecked. They never got that far.
The majority of new businesses fail, so don’t think it’s that shocking of a surprise. I’m sure the people involved set out with good intentions and put in some real effort to make things happen (don’t think you would go through the effort and put your names on the line with a plan to fail), but obviously were not able to execute. Just sucks that so many people excited about this were dragged along for so long only to have it end like this.
Again, I never signed an NDA but also can’t burn my sources so gotta keep it a little vague at the moment. Am sure with time we’ll get some more post-mortem details here… they usually come out once people start talking.
According to Michaluk, who never signed an NDA, the plan for Onward Mobility to license the BlackBerry name has fallen through. This news doesn’t surprise much, given the timing of a more recent report of BlackBerry selling $600 million worth of patents related to mobile device hardware, messaging, and networking. That report stated that the purchasing company, Catapult, was specifically formed to hold the BlackBerry patents.
The story with Onward Mobility and BlackBerry began in August 2020 when it announced that a new 5G BlackBerry would be arriving in 2021 following TCL’s departure of its venture with BlackBerry hardware. Then, just last month, Onward Mobility said it would be ready to delivery news and talk to the press and was looking forward to it. Oh how things changed in the matter of weeks.
If you were among those waiting for a new BlackBerry, Michaluk says it is time to move on.