The start-up attempting to revive BlackBerry as a handset brand revealed it was pressing-on with plans to release a 5G device, despite pushing back its original 2021 target and not providing any public updates on the project for almost a year.

In a statement on its website, BlackBerry licensee OnwardMobility noted delays with the device due to broader headwinds.

It explained “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”.

OnwardMobility had gone very quiet on the project after an initial burst of publicity. It promised more regular updates going forward.

The start-up is developing a 5G BlackBerry designed as a secure enterprise device with a physical keyboard.

OnwardMobility took over the licence to produce BlackBerry mobile devices from TCL Communication in 2020.

TCL Communication had released several handsets sporting the brand during its four year contract, but failed to come close to replicating the success enjoyed by the brand in the early 2010s.

OnwardMobility’s update on the forthcoming 5G device was published days after the original BlackBerry manufacturer, now trading under the same name as the device brand, decommissioned the back-end support used by its phone operating systems and legacy device software.

In a note to any remaining users of its old handsets, BlackBerry stated devices using its BlackBerry 10 system or older operating systems would stop working reliably.