The Waterloo, Ont. tech company has partnered with Texas-based OnwardMobility and FIH Mobile (a subsidiary of Foxconn Technology Group) to release the 5G-enabled Android smartphone in North America and Europe. BlackBerry’s 2016 licensing partnership with TCL ended this month.
The three companies will work together on design and product planning, BlackBerry said in an email.
In an interview, Sarah Tatsis, vice-president of advanced technology development labs at BlackBerry, specified one feature the handset will include; a physical keyboard. “OnwardMobility [will] make sure that our keyboard experience meets expectations of customers,” she said.
Carmi Levy, director at Info-Tech Research Group, says there is always a demand, if limited, for phones with keyboards. “While BlackBerry long ago lost its crown as the leading smartphone maker, some end-users still pine for the days when they could thumb-type on real keys instead of on glass,” he said. “This is a small niche that grows smaller almost by the day, and it’s clear there is no longer mainstream demand for devices featuring physical keyboards.”
Carmi Levy, director at Info-Tech Research Group, shares his perspective in this article: