BlackBerry licensee looks beyond nostalgia - Mobile World Live

BlackBerry licensee looks beyond nostalgia

26 AUG 2020

OnwardMobility CEO Peter Franklin (pictured) outlined plans to target an increasingly security-conscious public and capitalise on its North American roots as it looks to position its forthcoming BlackBerry devices alongside major flagships.

In an interview with Mobile World Live, Franklin said there was a “perfect storm” for the creation of a handset built with a heavy security focus, helped by trends including the current increase in home working.

Although stating the target market for the device was quite wide, he noted there would be a push on its potential in the enterprise and public sector. The company has even appointed an EVP of government sales, Colin McWay, to address the market.

As geopolitical tensions between its home market of the US and China continue and related trade issues impact mobile sector companies, Franklin highlighted the source of its components was clearly “a hot topic for a lot of our customers and we’re taking that very seriously”.

Its new devices, he said, would be manufactured entirely outside of mainland China: “Our vision is to be the most North American made phone out there.”

Alongside announcing it was taking over the licence for BlackBerry devices, OnwardMobility unveiled a partnership with FIH Mobile, a subsidiary of Taiwan-based Foxconn for manufacture of the handset.

Franklin said it was vital the device provided more than just a retro experience, though pointed towards significant demand for the brand’s well-known physical keyboard.

He noted it needed to “combine the best of the past, and nostalgia therein, with the innovation of the present and nailing that is crucial for us”.

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Chris Donkin

Chris joined the Mobile World Live team in November 2016 having previously worked at a number of UK media outlets including Trinity Mirror, The Press Association and UK telecoms publication Mobile News. After spending 10 years in journalism, he moved...

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