Onward Mobility, the company that promised to deliver a 5G BlackBerry Smartphone in 2021 then fell off the face of the planet, today posted to their website an update and declared themselves NOT DEAD:
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."
We've read all your Facebook and LinkedIn comments, articles, Tweets, email messages and more, and not only do we understand your frustration, but we genuinely share it. Everyone has eagerly awaited additional information following our last announcement, but 2021 was truly a challenging year to launch a new phone, much less one with the high expectations we set and the fact that we want to get it right!
While we encountered various delays that prevented us from shipping in 2021, we will be providing more regular updates starting this month that will clarify and answer many of your questions about the ultra-secure 5G enterprise smartphone (still with a keyboard!) we're bringing to market.
All of us at OnwardMobility are incredibly grateful for the community of loyal users for this opportunity. To the media: we'll be ready to deliver news and speak with you soon and we look forward to it.
We sincerely apologize for our silence and truly appreciate your patience. In the meantime, we wish everyone a healthy start to the New Year!
All the best, The OnwardMobility Team*
A few quick thoughts came to my mind after reading this update from OM (which I'll write directly to them since they said they're reading all the articles):
OHH MY EFFEN GOD.. why the hell did you wait until TODAY to post this news? On a week when media around the world is reporting that it's the End of an Era as BlackBerry OS and BlackBerry 10 phones go End of Life, having this message up a week sooner would have really helped work in your favor as maybe, just maybe, the mainstream media would have positioned the story right. As it is, the news this week mainly came across that ALL BlackBerry Phones are dead (newer Android phones included). It's going to seem extra weird (and maybe even a little desperate) to launch this as a BlackBerry device now.
Which makes me wonder if this ultra-secure 5G enterprise smartphone will even carry the BlackBerry name if/when it comes to market? I can't help but notice that the update post didn't actually mention the word BlackBerry in it. So maybe that's a clue that either a) it won't come to market as a BlackBerry anymore, or b) you're not allowed (by BlackBerry) to mention it.
Either way, you guys should have made SOME SORT of an update before 2021 closed out. No update of any kind basically made the CrackBerry community -- myself included -- write you off. Back in August 2020 when we talked to Peter Franklin on the CrackBerry Podcast we left excited and optimistic that a new BB was truly in the works. That waned over 2021. Sure, there was a post encouraging people to sign up for updates. But then no updates ever came. And then we couldn't help but notice a lot of the folks on LinkedIn who had OnwardMobility job titles... went elsewhere. Add it all up and by every account it felt like OnwardMobility decided to ghost everyone.
So with that all said, to the BlackBerry community I say PLACE YOUR BETS in the comments as to whether or not 2022 will bring a new smartphone to market.
Reactions aside, yesterday John Chen via an interview at CES, did respond in a FOX Business interview that while BlackBerry doesn't intend to launch any new phones anytime soon than they did have a partner working on a 5G BlackBerry. So that, maybe more than anything OnwardMobility has said in their update, could point to the odds being more favorable than ZERO that we will see a BlackBerry in 2022.
As for me, you can probably tell at this point I'm over it so will remain moderately skeptical / slightly optimistic at best that we'll see this phone in 2022. If and when we do I'll definitely give it a go (understanding it is being positioned for an enterprise market) and hopefully it'll have some of that BlackBerry DNA in it that makes it something to get excited about.
Rant out of the way, hopefully OnwardMobillity will still include CrackBerry in its media outreach when they have something to say. We may be going BEYOND BLACKBERRY as CrackBerry upgrades this year to 2.0, but if there's a new BlackBerry phone we're obviously going to cover the hell out of it.