OnwardMobility is dead, and so are its plans to release a 5G BlackBerry phone

The startup reportedly lost its license to use the BlackBerry name.

Mike Segar / reuters

There's won't be a big revival for BlackBerry phones anytime soon. OnwardMobility, the Austin-based startup that announced its plans to release a 5G BlackBerry device with a physical keyboard back in 2020, is shutting down. The company posted a notice of its closure on its website, making it clear that it won't be proceeding with the development of the smartphone. This comes a month after it responded to people asking about the status of the project with a blog post entitled "contrary to popular belief, we are not dead."

While OnwardMobility didn't expound on the reason behind its closure, Android Police reported a few days ago that its license to use the BlackBerry name had been canceled. Apparently, BlackBerry wants to distance itself from its past as a smartphone manufacturer after it sold off its remaining mobile patents for $600 million in the beginning of February. OnwardMobility reportedly decided not to push through with the development of a new smartphone without the BlackBerry name, especially since it won't be easy entering the market with an ongoing global component shortage.

OnwardMobility was never able to release images of the phone it was developing, but it was reportedly going to take design cues from the BlackBerry Priv. As Android Police notes, the Priv was BlackBerry's first Android phone and the only one it designed in-house before it outsourced the production of its mobile devices to TCL. If BlackBerry, in its current form, truly does want to distance itself from its past, then we might never see a new BlackBerry-branded phone again.