Just a month after OnwardMobility reassured prospective customers it was still working on a revived Blackberry, new reports indicate the project is vaporware.
OnwardMobility acquired the rights to make Blackberry phones in August 2020, after TCL lost the license. Since then, the company has teased a 5G-equipped Blackberry phone, complete with a physical keyboard, the likes of which made the brand famous.
Unfortunately, months passed with no visible progress being made, prompting the company to reassure prospective buyers that it was still making progress.
To all of you who have patiently waited so long for updates from OnwardMobility, we are humbly aware that we owe you some form of communication as we enter 2022. And to misquote Mark Twain, as so many do, “Contrary to popular belief, we are not dead.”
Interestingly, at the end of January, Blackberry sold off roughly $600 million in patents related to its legacy phone business. It’s unclear what role this may have played in the demise of the OnwardMobility project, but it seems likely the two events are related. It’s possible Blackberry pulled OnwardMobility’s license so they could offload the patents, or they may have decided to sell the patents once it became apparent OnwardMobility couldn’t deliver.
This wouldn’t the first time the company has ended a contract with a third-party maker of Blackberry-branded phones. Perhaps the company just decided the whole endeavor was more trouble than it was worth, and took multiple steps to permanently end its involvement in the phone industry.