IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

BlackBerry revival is officially dead as OnwardMobility shuts down

The Texas-based startup is mysteriously shutting down and taking its ultra-secure 5G BlackBerry with it

OnwardMobility, the company that promised to launch a 5G-enabled BlackBerry by 2021, has closed down, ending yet another attempt to resurrect the once-famed brand. 

The Texas-based firm was working on an Android-based BlackBerry device, complete with classic physical keyboard, for release in the US and Europe.

BlackBerry phones haven't been made by the company itself since 2016 due to poor sales. Instead, the company offers the brand name under a license, and all handsets released since have so far come from the Chinese firm TCL communications.

OnwardMobility picked up the license in 2020 but was unable to bring a product to market. 

"It is with great sadness that we announce that OnwardMobility will be shutting down, and we will no longer be proceeding with the development of an ultra-secure smartphone with a physical keyboard," the company's statement reads.

Onward picked up the BlackBerry torch in August 2020, and at the time promised to release a "secure, 5G-enabled device" in 2021. However, the year came and went and the only BlackBerry news was an announcement on 4 January that older devices running the 7.1 OS and earlier would no longer be supported with updates

In the days following that announcement, there was a barrage of social media posts and messages directed at OnwardMobility, with BlackBerry fans apparently upset that the firm had missed its self-set deadline without explanation.

Related Resource

Moving forward in a work from anywhere world

A gorilla guide

Whitepaper cover with title text and grey gorilla cartoon top rightFree Download

On 7 January the firm addressed the issue with a statement claiming it was "not dead". It said that 2021 had been a "truly challenging year to launch a new phone", especially with the "high expectations" it had set for itself. The statement also appeared to suggest that a device had been built, but was held back by shipping difficulties. 

Just over a month later, however, the company have posted a new statement to its website announcing that it is shutting down and, as a result, will no longer be releasing a 5G-enabled BlackBerry with a keyboard. The reasons why are still unclear, with OnwardMobility unreachable for comment at the time of writing. 

"Please know that this was not a decision that we made lightly or in haste. We share your disappointment in this news and assure you this is not the outcome we worked and hoped for," its statement continued. 

Featured Resources

Accelerating AI modernisation with data infrastructure

Generate business value from your AI initiatives

Free Download

Recommendations for managing AI risks

Integrate your external AI tool findings into your broader security programs

Free Download

Modernise your legacy databases in the cloud

An introduction to cloud databases

Free Download

Powering through to innovation

IT agility drive digital transformation

Free Download

Recommended

Best business smartphones 2022: The top handsets from Apple, Samsung, Google and more
Mobile

Best business smartphones 2022: The top handsets from Apple, Samsung, Google and more

23 Jun 2022

Most Popular

FCC commissioner urges Apple and Google to remove TikTok from app stores
data protection

FCC commissioner urges Apple and Google to remove TikTok from app stores

29 Jun 2022
Former Uber security chief to face fraud charges over hack coverup
data breaches

Former Uber security chief to face fraud charges over hack coverup

29 Jun 2022
Internet providers look to ease cost of living crisis with cheaper broadband
broadband

Internet providers look to ease cost of living crisis with cheaper broadband

29 Jun 2022