We were expecting to see BlackBerry 5G in the first half of 2021 – that was the launch window we were told – but apparently, it has been delayed. Hopefully, we’ll see it soon, though.
Blackberry 5G may soon fill the void felt by Android power users who love the idea of a physical keyboard for faster typing. It’s been a very long time since these guys have tapped their fingers on the keys of the niche and rather average Blackberry 2 – launched in 2018 – or the even more obscure and medium f(x)tec Pro 1 – a Launched years later. You’d be hard pressed to find a keyboard phone that isn’t obsolete today.
Thankfully for those pinging nostalgic for the glory days of BlackBerry, we’ll reportedly see a new BlackBerry phone with 5G connectivity sometime in 2021.
It won’t be made by the original BlackBerry developers, who have been selling their mobile patents and have mostly outgrown smartphones in favor of smart car software and security technology. Neither did TCL, which took over the creation of the brand in 2016 but abandoned the partnership in 2020.
Instead, new mobile company OnwardMobility bought the brand, and plans to work with Foxconn — the maker of most gaming consoles, Nokia and Xiaomi phones and some older BlackBerry models — to create a new BlackBerry. Here’s everything we expect to see from this new phone in terms of specs and features.
cut to the chase
- What is this? 5G phone with physical keyboard
- When is it out? Originally planned for the ‘first half of 2021’, but apparently delayed
- How much will it cost? No pricing has been leaked yet, but it could be $800 / £600 / AU$1000 . can be above
BlackBerry 5G 2021 release date and price
When OnwardMobility licensed the BlackBerry brand, it announced in mid-2020 that it would release a new phone in the North American and European markets in the first half of 2021. It may also ship to Asian markets, but is likely to happen at a later date.
More recently, OnwardMobility CEO Peter Franklin said in a February interview with Nikkei Asia that ‘more details will be announced over the next few months.’ At the time, we thought this could mean a product reveal at the earliest in May 2021.
Clearly this was not to happen, however, as May traveled to the past with a word from the Fruity Company. We may hear more details about the phone soon, but due to the lack of chipsets in the tech world, we have been waiting for quite some time.
We don’t have a price estimate yet. The last BlackBerry flagship with keyboard, the Key2, costs $649 / £579 (about AU$850), falling in the same mid-range pricing range as most of its Android predecessors. But it is being built by a new company with different goals and target buyers, and Franklin said in the above interview that it will be a ‘global flagship device’.
Furthermore, in its press release, the company said that the phone will be manufactured “under strict guidelines to ensure component, device and supply chain integrity”. This will help it achieve ‘government level protection’ for ‘enterprise professionals’.
Since it is using a different manufacturing process than most phones, the new Blackberry 5G can be expensive to produce. We have also heard that it could have a high-spec camera that could compete with other flagship phones. Put together, we may see a BlackBerry priced higher than the previous models.
News and Product Description
The new BlackBerry 5G 2021 phone is still mostly flying under the radar. We may see leaked renders or hear more rumors with the bigger phone, but so far we only know what the company has told us.
We know it will have 5G support and will run Android OS, though we don’t know if it will be Android 11 or an earlier release. We also know directly from OnwardMobility that the phone will be targeted towards consumers as well as enterprise markets.
Peter Franklin, CEO of OnwardMobility, told us, “Today more than half of the world’s population has smartphones, so the market is huge.” “What is missing, however, is an ultra-secure and productivity-focused smartphone that can meet the needs of enterprise users, government users and security-conscious consumers – and that is the gap we hope to fill. “
We also know from the interview with Nikkei Asia that the phone will have a ‘top-of-the-line camera’, at least according to OnwardMobility. We’ll have to wait and see if the technology carries over to marketing.
Blackberry 5G: What we want to see
Like we said, we don’t know much about the design or specs of the phone. But based on older BlackBerry models and other keyboard phones from the past, we know what we do Hope To see if it will make it worth buying.
1. A QWERTY Slider Keyboard
We know that the BlackBerry 5G 2021 will have a physical keyboard, but also that OnwardMobility and Foxconn will design it from scratch instead of using the older BlackBerry designs. Still, we don’t expect it to rock the boat too much, so that it appeals to older BlackBerry fans looking to grab new ones.
Personally, we’d like a slide-out design like the BlackBerry Priv, though only if it slides lengthwise instead of down.
The fixed keyboard model worked great when phones were bigger, but now a super-tall, narrow BlackBerry will make the keyboard too tight to type on comfortably. And the ever-present keyboard will make it feel heavy for new buyers, while appealing to old-school users.
A wide, physical QWERTY keyboard that disappears when you crave a traditional touchscreen experience may be exactly what a new BlackBerry needs.
2. At least all day battery life
Most flagship phones struggle to last all day unless you use them sporadically. For a BlackBerry to stand out as a phone for executives or busy professionals in general, it has to have a battery that will last you a whole day, even if you’re typing on it all day.
The BlackBerry Key2, despite a few flaws, regularly lasted 25 to 35 hours in our tests. To hit that level of performance today, the BlackBerry 5G will need to emulate the Moto G9 Power, which has a 6,000mAh battery and two days of battery life at a budget price.
3. Keyboard Shortcuts
Before the BlackBerry brand went on hiatus, the latest phones had programmable shortcuts where you could open an app with a few quick keystrokes. We’d really like to see that return, paired with Google Assistant on Android 11.
You can set up automatic routines for specific voice commands, like turning on your smart home devices or checking your schedule. Now imagine if you could trigger those actions by clicking a specific, remembered shortcut on your BlackBerry keyboard.
We’d also expect that the new BlackBerry 5G has great specs to make sure it can run apps quickly, store all your files and so on. But it’s the keyboard that needs to captivate people to make it stand out against the great Android phones already available.
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