Anyone hoping beyond hope that, despite recent developments, there still might be a new 5G BlackBerry smartphone with keyboard on its way might as well reconcile themselves to a keyboardless life. OnwardMobility has shut down, abandoning its optimistic plans to develop the successor to the iconic device.
The announcement on its now single page website says it all:
To all of our valued followers, supporters and partners:
We want to thank you all for the tremendous amount of support that you have given us since we first launched OnwardMobility. However, 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.
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.
We are incredibly grateful to the team of seasoned professionals who worked tirelessly on this project and to each and every one of our loyal fans and partners who have supported us throughout this journey. It has been a pleasure to work with all of you and hear your comments and feedback.
Thank you for all your support and we wish you all the best!
The OnwardMobility Team
The shutdown came shortly after BlackBerry announced it was selling its legacy patents for $600 million to a Delaware-based company formed expressly for the acquisition. BlackBerry turned off the infrastructure support for its own BBOS and BB10 BlackBerry devices in January 2022.
OnwardMobility acquired the rights to the BlackBerry name after TCL, which had licensed the technology in 2016 after BlackBerry decided to exit the phone business, let its license in expire in 2020, opting to instead create its own branded devices. The Android-based BlackBerry devices it created will be supported until August 31, 2022.
OnwardMobility had initially promised to ship its device by June 2021. That didn’t happen, and the company remained silent until a blog post at the beginning of January announced that it was forging on with the new device. A month later, reports emerged that it had lost the license to the hardware, and today’s announcement drove the final nail into the coffin.
Neither OnwardMobility nor BlackBerry has responded to requests for comments.