As many readers know, I am a BlackBerry phone loyalist. I’ve had my KEYone since 2017, I think, and it works very well for a four-year-old phone.
But at the end of 2021, my phone carrier – Verizon – is dumping its CDMA network to switch to a GSM platform, and expand their 5G network all over the country. And the moment that happens, the KEYone – and, essentially, all current BlackBerry phones still in use – will be bricked.
That would, essentially, force me to acquire a iPhone or a Samsung or some lesser-quality communications device. No. I like having a physical, tactile keyboard on my phone. That is how I roll.
Now there is a physical keyboard phone out there, the Unihertz Titan, but I haven’t heard many good reviews n it. And any news regarding BlackBerry’s phones is either about how the company has now pivoted to IoT technology (powering security for everything from cars to smart devices), or the news is about 21st-century “stonk” traders buying BlackBerry stock and trying to squeeze it for high returns.
So here’s the thing. Last year, a Texas-based company called OnwardMobility announced that they had acquired the license to produce a brand new, 5G, physical keyboard cell phone with the kind of security that made BlackBerry an industry pioneer. And it would debut in 2021.
That announcement was made in August 2020. Well, 2021’s halfway over. And the OnwardMobility site has not updated its splash page or provided any updated information since the day I last blogged about this issue.
I’m waiting for a white puff of smoke to float from the towers of wherever OnwardMobility’s headquarters are. Anything, any sort of news. A leaked phone being tested in the wild. Specs for ordering a new case. Something. Anything. The last blog post or news feature on OnwardMobility’s website talks about new hiring worldwide, and that was written in January 2021. The last Twitter missive discussed NBA player Jamal Crawford still using his BlackBerry, with OnwardMobility’s cryptic message that new Berries would debut soon.
And that article was written in March 2021. Three months ago.
So, OnwardMobility … let me speak to you directly.
If you are going to put out a brand new BlackBerry 5G phone with a physical keyboard, I want one. I want to be one of your beta testers. I want to use this phone now. I don’t want to have to downgrade to an iPhone or some other Android device.
But I’m afraid that your phone won’t be ready in time for my cell phone carrier to disconnect the connection to my phone. I don’t want to deal with a bricked phone. If you’re truly making this new 5G phone, I want it. If you can’t make it in time … or if, God forbid, this whole OnwardMobility thing was a pie in the sky that fell custard-side down on the ground, then I need to know that as well.
All I’m saying is … I’ve been let down by failed promises in the past. You know, things like, “This won’t hurt a bit,” or “If you do this, I’ll be your best friend,” or “Of course I love you. Why would you think otherwise?”
I don’t want my cell phone to let me down, either.
Just give me something, OnwardMobility. Some sort of hope. Some sort of indication that you really ARE making this new phone.
Because I can’t make phone calls on imaginary phones. Because those calls only connect to imaginary people.
I like the papal reference.
I’m holding out for the Pomegranate Phone: https://youtu.be/yVvrQhQfb40
TOO FUNNY… LOVE IT
Hi Chuck – as an avid KeyTwo user, I bet there’s some VoLTE capable K2’s that would plug the gap… I’m not in the USA but work with US carriers and know how much they like to screw up the firmware. Let me see if I can find you a suitable model!
I’m afraid the young CEO bit off more than he can chew and has no fortitude or care for loyal fans to even post the current status of the project. I’m in the same boat as you, owning every past Blackberry device, but this *&!!**! CEO could care less about us.
I tend to agree (partly) with Mr. Chanler here. I imagine two possible scenarios: either a) OnwardMobility is hard at work producing a new flagship Blackberry that, once available, will be such an accomplishment and wonderful phone that ‘naysayers’ will be silenced, and Blackberry fans everywhere will praise it; or b) OnwardMobility truly did ‘bite off more than they can chew’, and they are desperately scrambling about to produce a phone. I am (foolishly?) optimistic that a) will be true, but am more afraid that b) is the reality. I mean, not one progress report or encouraging press release, and no word even from Chen! Seriously?
You might as well downgrade to an iphone or android device. The silence from onwardmobility says all you need to know. Like you I would have loved another Blackberry, unlike you I have decided to move on.
Fwiw, your Keyone won’t be bricked soon. Neither will the Key2, Key2 LE, or Motion. They are all current phones with cellular radios equivalent to what you’d find in a modern 4G iPhone.
The phones that will no longer work over the coming year are purely 3G devices like the BlackBerry Classic and Passport as carriers phase out 3G and Edge to make room for more 4/5G towers.
Even then, those phones will still work at home over wifi, they just won’t be able to make calls or text anymore. I have my Passport set-up as a Kindle replacement, and it is a fantastic alternative at a quarter the size and weight. Way cooler looking, too!
The sound of crickets coming out of Onward Mobility has all of us Blackberry fans on edge. My Key 2 is scrambled, and I’m either going to have to jump into another device, or dust off one of my previous Blackberry devices, swap out the SIM, and hope the Key 3 is released soon.
Onward owes the market an update on things.
Hope Onward Mobility is working on a new blackberry with a release date soon. Otherwise I don’t know what to do. Love my key2 and it’s working great but really want a new phone!
Still using my 9930. Got word from T-Mobile that my phone won’t work by January 1, 2022, BUT last week the data stopped working. Thought we still had 6 months together.
Hopefully it’s a temporary thing until the promised January date.. but who knows at this point. Trying to get my hands on a Key2 or even Key2LE in good condition, is a toss up at this point too.
Onward Mobility, we’re holding on and hoping you’re coming through.
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