It’s baaaack….Blackberry, the company that once dominated the smartphone game, is planning a comeback device next year.

OnwardMobility announced this week that it is working with Blackberry and a manufacturing subsidiary of FoxConn to deliver a new Blackberry device to the market in 2021.

Can old tech be new again?

Blackberry once held a owned over 50% of the US and 20% of the global smartphone market, sold over 50 million devices a year, according to to HBS research. Though we haven’t seen much of it over the decade, it has been licensing its brand and technology to third parties. In fact, it released devices in 2017 with limited success.

But with 5G network expansion, the need for more data-secure devices, like the ones Blackberry makes, could be an opportunity for the Canadian company to resurrect itself.

Safety and other selling points

As more IoT devices connect to 5G networks, security issues rise as a top concern for government and enterprise businesses, as they increase “sharing of critical business data over vulnerable networks and platforms via enterprise mobile devices,” according to Onward Mobility’s CEO, Peter Franklin.

In fact, the Brookings Institute has identified that 5G networks are more vulnerable to cyberattacks than their predecessors. This creates a new demand for security-focused devices like the Blackberry.

In the release, Austin-based OnwardMobility promoted the need for secure devices with 5G capabilities to provide a secure and productive environment. Blackberry dominated the market once by positioning itself as an enterprise solution because of its safety.

“BlackBerry smartphones are known for protecting communications, privacy, and data”

 Peter Franklin, CEO of OnwardMobility

Both companies are catalyzing on this long-standing reputation as a solutions provider for business and government entities looking for enhanced cybersecurity controls. With the increasing number of employees working remotely with critical data and applications, coupled with the constant threat of cyberattacks, there is an absolute need for a secure, feature-rich 5G-ready phone that enhances productivity, according to the release. 

Known features of the new Blackberry device:

  • 5G connectivity
  • QWERTY keyboard, which may be preferable to a glass touchscreen for some users
  • Android OS
  • First half of 2021 debut
  • For sale in North America and Europe
  • Geared to businesses and government, though also available to consumers

Blackberry has tried to reclaim its position in the market with many failing attempts, as I covered actively on the Fox Business Network in the device-maker’s prime. Can it gain the love and addiction it once had when it was called the “Crackberry?” Likely not, but the next chapter with 5G gives it a chance to resurrect from extinction.

Covering the rise and fall of Blackberry on The Fox Business Network