Onward Mobility loses rights to BlackBerry name hopefully not releasing 5G BlackBerry

Onward Mobility, the modest Austin-based firm tasked with revitalizing the BlackBerry smartphone brand after many years of unsuccessful efforts, said little over a month ago that its delayed 5G BlackBerry was still occurring.

“We will give answers to questions by providing updates about the ultra-secure 5G enterprise smartphone we are bringing to market. While we encountered various delays that prevented us from shipping in 2021. Contrary to common opinion, we are not dead,” reads the blog entry.

While no images of the OnwardMobility built 5G BlackBerry have surfaced, the phone takes design from Priv, released as an Android-powered mobile in 2015. Before outsourcing the design and manufacture of its products to TCL in 2016, the Priv was the sole Android phone developed in-house at the Canadian business corporation. A year later, it signed a license arrangement with TCL, allowing the Chinese company to produce Android smartphones with other phones such as the KEYone and KEY2.

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TCL re-entered the mobile industry with OnwardMobility and FIH Mobile Limited (a subsidiary of Foxconn) after letting its license relationship with BlackBerry lapse due to disputes about continuous software support for its Android phones.

According to a news release, “FIH Mobile will manage product planning and market development for BlackBerry smartphones in North America, and FIH Mobile will design and manufacture BlackBerry devices under tight criteria to assure component, device, and supply chain integrity.” According to the press release. TCL promised to release it, but the date came and went.

According to insiders, continued supply chain-related delays, combined with BlackBerry CEO John Chen changed his decision around putting its brand on another smartphone. Now OnwardMobility can use the name Blackberry.