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BlackBerry 5G smartphone is still happening - and there may be more than one

BlackBerry Key2 LE
The BlackBerry Key2 LE is the last phone from the brand (Image credit: Future)

A new BlackBerry smartphone is still in development with a post on the brand's parent company's website suggesting we'll be hearing more about from it soon about the release of its first 5G smartphone.

The BlackBerry brand is now owned by little known security company OnwardMobility, and it's expected it will release a new BlackBerry handset by the end of this year.

In fact, in 2020 the company said we could expect a new BlackBerry Android phone with 5G connectivity by the end of the first half of 2021. That hasn't happened, but this latest post suggests the phone is still in development and it may be nearing release.

On OnwardMobility's website, you can now join a waitlist for updates about the upcoming smartphone as well as ensure you're among the first to pre-order the new device.

OnwardMobility calls this its "Pre-Commitment Program" and it's said to exist so it can "expand engagement with customers interested in purchasing the new and innovative BlackBerry 5G smartphones."

The plural there - smartphones - suggests OnwardMobility could be working on more than one Blackberry phone.


Analysis: what does a 2021 BlackBerry look like?

BlackBerry Key2 LE

The BlackBerry Key2 LE from 2018 (Image credit: Future)

At one stage, BlackBerry was one of the most popular phone brands on the planet. Now, we haven't seen a new smartphone with the BlackBerry branding since the Key2 LE that was introduced near the end of 2018.

Since then, TCL has stopped producing smartphones under the branding and in August 2020 OnwardMobility took on that mantel. We've yet to learn what it will do for BlackBerry phones.

It's unclear how a new BlackBerry smartphone will be able to compete with the best smartphones of 2021. For example, we'd expect phones like the iPhone 12, Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and Oppo Find X3 Pro to have higher specs than this upcoming smartphone.

That's based on the way BlackBerry phones have changed in recent years, with a focus on more niche elements such as a physical keyboard, rather than offering the absolute best specs.

OnwardMobility has confirmed it will be including a QWERTY physical keyboard on this smartphone though, and for some that may be enough for this phone to stand out from the rest of the crowd.

James Peckham

James is Phones Editor for TechRadar and covers all the big announcements from the best manufacturers making mobile phones, tablets and wearables. Based in London, James is often testing out the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, VR headsets and - when he can be motivated to go outside - fitness bands. Be sure to follow him on Twitter for all the latest from the mobile world.