OnwardMobility launches pre-commitment program for BlackBerry 5G smartphone

OnwardMobility show signs of life but once again reveal nothing about the smartphone

OnwardMobility has launched a Pre-Commitment Program to “expand their engagement with customers interested in purchasing the new BlackBerry 5G smartphones.”

Way back in August 2020, OnwardMobility (OM) promised a 5G BlackBerry smartphone during the “first half of 2021,” but it’s been extremely quiet since its initial announcement.

Since the original announcement, the company has hired staff, naming Rainier Communications as AOR, expanding its global sales team and hiring Eric Fillmore as VP & General Manager of T-Mobile.

However, it has had zero to say about the development of an actual product. Of further concern is the fact that Neither OM nor its manufacturing partner, FIH, have any recent entries in the FCC’s wireless device database, although they may be holding their applications as confidential.

Pre-commitment program

In the latest development, OM has opened up registration to receive product, feature, and availability updates. Additionally, OM say that those who sign up will also have the chance to offer input on product features and functionality as well as be among the first to purchase the device at launch.

  • In the Know: First to receive product, feature, and availability updates–before the general public
  • Drive Design: Provide input to directly influence product features and functionality
  • Be the Early Bird: Pre-order the device and be one of the first to receive your device at launch

While this program shows signs of life, it once again reveals nothing about the device itself, or even the time-scale. Interestingly, the form asks which carrier you would like to use the smartphone with and lists the following:

  • AT&T
  • T-Mobile
  • US Cellular
  • Verizon
  • Bell
  • Telus
  • Rogers
  • EE
  • O2
  • Orange
  • Telefonica
  • Telekom
  • Vodafone
  • Other

However, I’m not going to jump to conclusions here. Others may reach the the conclusion that these may be the carriers that OM are working with, or that these are the carriers they are talking to, but it would be a reach to take any real meaning from this list. There is an “other” option in the list which would infer the main list has no significant meaning.

It would be fair to say that OM are carrying on BlackBerry’s trend of being absolutely lousy at communication. Even the title of pre-commitment program is ridiculous, as nobody has any idea what they are actually pre-committing to.

The reality is that there is absolutely no new information here. It should be remembered that at the time of the original announcement, almost a year ago, OM offered a form to sign up for email notifications, which would bring updates. Nothing at all came from that!

The most concerning aspect of this program is “Drive Design: Provide input to directly influence product features and functionality “.

If OM are talking about directly influencing the features and functionality of the smartphone, then the smartphone is a long, long way from being released.

Back in August, we asked if OM would learn from past BlackBerry smartphone failures, and sadly, it appears they haven’t.

Back then, I said:

We’re told to expect the new BlackBerry smartphone in the middle of 2021 and if OM stick to BlackBerry’s old routine, that could mean any time around the end of 2021, and beyond.

In the tech industry that is an incredibly long time. There will be new flagships from Google, Samsung, Apple, OnePlus, Huawei and many others. Technology will have moved on as fast as it normally does. There will be upgraded screens, cameras, processors, memory chips, mobile technology, connectivity options – and on and on and on.

Rapid John – August 2020

OM are going to have a battle on their hands to sell any BlackBerry-branded smartphone, whenever it is released. The way they have operated over the past 11 months is just going to make that task even more difficult.

There is still no news here and still no real signs of life. However, if you’re interested, you can sign up for the pre-commitment program here.

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