A few years after OnwardMobility announced plans to bring a BlackBerry-branded smartphone with a physical keyboard and 5G support to market, it looks like that plan is dead… along with OnwardMobility itself.

The news doesn’t come as a huge surprise. CrackBerry and Android Police both reported earlier this month that OnwardMobility had lost the license to use the BlackBerry name on the phone and had therefore decided not to move forward. But now the company has confirmed those reports with an announcement on its website.

BlackBerry KeyOne (2017)

BlackBerry was an early leader in the smartphone space thanks to several innovations including the company’s smartphones with keyboards and key services like BlackBerry Messenger. But the company lost significant market share to iPhone and Android devices and eventually stopped developing its own operating system altogether and instead shifted to Android.

But BlackBerry only shipped a single Android-powered phone of its own before beginning to license its name and software to third-party companies including TCL, which produced a few more BlackBerry-branded devices before largely giving up on the idea of phones with keyboards.

This year BlackBerry pulled the plug on legacy services for older phones running BlackBerry OS software and this summer BlackBerry’s Android apps will no longer be supported either.

All of which is to say that the company has largely exited the smartphone space altogether, so it’s not surprising that the company decided to pull the plug on what appears to have been one of its last licensing deals. But it is a bit sad nonetheless.

Since OnwardMobility has a habit of posting messages on its home page and then replacing them, here’s the company’s farewell note, for posterity’s sake:

To all of our valued followers, supporters and partners:

We want to thank you all for the tremendous amount of support that you have given us since we first launched OnwardMobility. However, it is with great sadness that we announce that OnwardMobility will be shutting down, and we will no longer be proceeding with the development of an ultra-secure smartphone with a physical keyboard.

Please know that this was not a decision that we made lightly or in haste. We share your disappointment in this news and assure you this is not the outcome we worked and hoped for.

We are incredibly grateful to the team of seasoned professionals who worked tirelessly on this project and to each and every one of our loyal fans and partners who have supported us throughout this journey. It has been a pleasure to work with all of you and hear your comments and feedback.

Thank you for all your support and we wish you all the best!

The OnwardMobility Team

via CrackBerry

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