A BlackBerry-branded phone with a physical keyboard is coming in 2021

DTek60 (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • BlackBerry-branded phones are returning, the company announced today.
  • BlackBerry will team up with OnwardMobility and FIH to build new BlackBerry phones for the North American and European markets.
  • The first BlackBerry phone from this partnership is coming in the first half of 2021.

BlackBerry is set to make a return in 2021 with a new 5G smartphone. Towards this goal, the company will be partnering up with Foxconn subsidiary FIH Mobile and OnwardMobility to reach enterprise users in the U.S. and Europe.

BlackBerry will be playing to its strengths here, so the new phone will come with a physical keyboard. There'll also be 5G on board, and the company will be pushing this as a phone for business professionals.

Peter Franklin, CEO of OnwardMobility, said:

Enterprise professionals are eager for secure 5G devices that enable productivity, without sacrificing the user experience. BlackBerry smartphones are known for protecting communications, privacy, and data. This is an incredible opportunity for OnwardMobility to bring next-generation 5G devices to market with the backing of BlackBerry and FIH Mobile.

John Chen, Executive Chairman and CEO, BlackBerry, said:

BlackBerry is thrilled OnwardMobility will deliver a BlackBerry 5G smartphone device with physical keyboard leveraging our high standards of trust and security synonymous with our brand. We are excited that customers will experience the enterprise and government level security and mobile productivity the new BlackBerry 5G smartphone will offer.

It's not like BlackBerry itself will be making phones like in the old days — that ship has sailed. Instead, it'll be a situation that's more like Nokia and HMD Global. The press release notes that all three companies will work to "ensure world-class design and manufacturing of these devices." Specifically, OnwardMobility will handle the product planning and strategy, while FIH Mobile will take care of all the hardware stuff and BlackBerry contributes its brand and some advice here and there.

With an early 2021 release, it won't take us too long to find out what they can put together.

I miss Android phones with physical keyboards (and you should too)

Michael Allison