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.