There will be a new BlackBerry phone released at some point in 2021, reports suggest. And if it looks anything like this concept, it might just earn itself a few new fans…
BlackBerry – as in, the company BlackBerry – does not make phones anymore. Instead, it is focused more on the automotive industry. This is why its share price has doubled in recent years, thanks to a new deal with Amazon.
BlackBerry phones are no longer made or designed by the company; instead, BlackBerry licenses out its brand to OEMs or third-party companies. TCL had the BlackBerry license for a while, but it declined to renew its license in 2020.
The New BlackBerry Phone For 2021
The first new BlackBerry phone to come to market will feature 5G, a QWERTY keyboard, as you’d expect, and vastly improved specs. Essentially, it will be a flagship phone, with flagship specs, packaged inside a familiar BlackBerry-style chassis.
Onward Mobility, The company that will put the new BlackBerry phone, out hasn’t discussed details yet, just that it will run 5G, Qualcomm chipsets, and feature a QWERTY keyboard just like BlackBerry’s of yesteryear.
For anyone looking forward to the release of a new BlackBerry phone, this is obviously disappointing. But you can always rely on talented designers to fill in the gaps. And that is just what Neil D from Behance has done with this gorgeous-looking BlackBerry phone concept.
The concept design features a unique integration of BlackBerry’s iconic QWERTY keyboard. Rather than using a physical QWERTY keyboard, the concept BlackBerry phone uses one that is built directly into the display instead.
When the QWERTY isn’t being used, the keyboard disappears so you have a full display. In addition to this, the keyboard can also double as controls for media playback and other functions too, like navigation and call management.
New BlackBerry Phone 2021 Will Feature 5G
Obviously, this is a concept. It is not what Onward Mobility is doing. But as a concept, it is really cool, especially if you’re a fan of BlackBerry’s legacy phones like the Bold and the Q10, a personal favorite of mine.
It is also worth noting that designing and implementing a keyboard like this, one that lives and can disappear under the display, would take a mountain of R&D investment. Probably tens of millions of dollars.
And I don’t see Onward Mobility committing to something like that, not for the first-generation phone anyway. What’s more likely is that we’ll get a traditional BlackBerry phone, complete with a QWERTY keyboard, and things like 5G.
Will this phone sell well? History says no, no one has managed to successfully market BlackBerry phones successfully for almost a decade now, not even BlackBerry itself, so the odds are certainly stacked against this new BlackBerry phone.
As a longstanding fan of BlackBerry, I am eager to see what Onward Mobility comes up with. I’m just not that confident it’ll have any meaningful impact on the market at large, given the rise of brands like OPPO, VIVO, and RealMe and the fact that large, non-QWERTY phones are now the norm.
I’d like to be wrong, but I don’t think I will be…
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.