Before the advent of the iPhone, brands such as Nokia and BlackBerry offered some of the best handsets in the market. The Finnish brand was actually promoting its advanced imaging performance in partnership with ZEISS. As for the Canadian outfit, it continued to market smartphones with tactile physical keyboards. Earlier this year, TCL ended its deal with the company formerly known as Research in Motion (RIM), but it seems an Austin, Texas-based tech startup plans to introduce new hardware under the BlackBerry label.

Although Chinese multinational electronics group failed to restore BlackBerry's former status, it was able to show how the versatility of Android could benefit smartphones with tactile button controls. The first few models released still ran on BlackBerry OS, while the latter ones moved on to BlackBerry 10, which was based on QNX.

Then finally, the catalogue embraced Google Android, but it was too late to salvage its share of the mobile phone market. Now, its new partner is a company called OnwardMobility which was founded in 2019 and has less than 50 employees to date. However, TechCrunch reports that it might have originally intended to partner with brands such as BlackBerry.

Equally notable is that some of the staff are purportedly formerly connected with TCL. Another interesting aspect of this development is the inclusion of another group called Sonim Technologies. Although the latter is likewise based in Austin, Texas, it is evidently a subsidiary of Shenzen, China-based group

Meanwhile, John Chen, BlackBerry CEO appeared to be thrilled by the new alliance. He stated: "BlackBerry is thrilled OnwardMobility will deliver a BlackBerry 5G smartphone device with physical keyboard leveraging our high standards of trust and security synonymous with our brand. We are excited that customers will experience the enterprise and government level security and mobile productivity the new BlackBerry 5G smartphone will offer."

BlackBerry is once again returning in 2021
The Blackberry's physical keyboard could be on its way back. GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / KEVORK DJANSEZIAN

As it stands right now, Apple and its products are facing a crowded market full of Android OEMs, which are also competing against one another. BlackBerry will likely encounter a difficult start as it tries to win back consumers who were former users of its devices. Nevertheless, analysts agree that as long it manages to offer something innovative and unique it might have a chance in 2021.