OnwardMobility's 5G BlackBerry phone has reportedly been shelved

Blackberry Keynote logo
Blackberry Keynote logo (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • OnwardMobility's BlackBerry 5G phone may never see the light of day.
  • The U.S. startup's license to use the BlackBerry brand name has apparently been canceled.
  • The news is yet to be officially confirmed by OnwardMobility.

In what can only be described as bad news for BlackBerry loyalists, CrackBerry founder Kevin Michaluk has claimed that OnwardMobility has pulled the plug on its BlackBerry 5G phone project. Michaluk wrote in a post on CrackBerry forums:

The majority of new businesses fail, so don't think it's that shocking of a surprise. I'm sure the people involved set out with good intentions and put in some real effort to make things happen (don't think you would go through the effort and put your names on the line with a plan to fail), but obviously were not able to execute.

While the post doesn't include details on what actually went wrong, a report from Android Police suggests OnwardMobility's license to use the BlackBerry name on its products has been canceled. Sources familiar with the matter also told the publication that BlackBerry wants to "further distance itself from its days as a smartphone vendor."

The news comes less than two weeks after BlackBerry agreed to sell its legacy mobile patents to Catapult IP Innovations Inc. for $600 million.

OnwardMobility had announced plans to launch a BlackBerry 5G smartphone in August 2020. The device was originally planned to debut in 2021 at a "competitive price point" to challenge the best Android phones. OnwardMobility even rolled out a "pre-commitment program" last year to expand engagement with potential customers.

It is worth noting that OnwardMobility published a blog post last month claiming the BlackBerry 5G phone was not dead and that it would soon begin providing "more regular updates" on the device.

It remains to be seen if OnwardMobility will post an update regarding the development to its blog. As of now, the Austin-based startup hasn't confirmed the news. However, Michaluk believes BlackBerry would prefer to "go quietly away."

Babu Mohan
News Writer