BlackBerry to Release New Phone Next Year

Category: Technology/Innovations


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. top-of-the-line / ˈtɒp əv ðəˈlaɪn / (adj) – of the best kind or quality

    Most government offices use top-of-the-line security systems.

  2. ubiquitous / yuˈbɪk wɪ təs / (adj) – seen everywhere

    Internet-enabled devices are ubiquitous nowadays.

  3. on the go / ɒn ðə goʊ / (idiom) – done while doing something else, such as traveling

    I always bring a wireless phone charger when traveling so I can charge my phone on the go.

  4. downfall / ˈdaʊnˌfɔl / (n) – a loss of power, wealth, status, etc.

    Excessive gambling led to the businessman’s downfall.

  5. try (one’s) hand at (something) / traɪ hænd æt / (idiom) – to do something for the first time

    I was bored, so I decided to try my hand at painting.


Read the text below.

Smartphone brand BlackBerry announced it will be releasing a new smartphone in 2021.

The smartphone will be produced by Texas-based mobile security company OnwardMobility and electronic manufacturing service provider FIH Mobile. It will be marketed to North American and European consumers.

The new device will run on Android and have 5G connectivity. It will also be equipped with a redesigned physical keyboard. In addition, the new phone will have the top-of-the-line security features that old BlackBerry models were famous for, according to BlackBerry CEO John Chen.

Before Android phones and iPhones, BlackBerry devices were some of the most popular smartphones. BlackBerry phones were ubiquitous among corporate clients because these devices allow people to work on the go while providing a high level of security. The brand peaked in popularity in 2012, when its active users reached more than 80 million.

However, the introduction of touchscreen phones and BlackBerry’s decision to stick with its own operating system led to its downfall. The company had tried to market touchscreen devices and slide-out keyboard models, but they never sold well. In 2015, BlackBerry tried its hand at creating an Android phone, but the device also flopped.  The company stopped creating phones one year later.

After it stopped producing phones in 2016, BlackBerry has entered partnerships with a number of phone manufacturers in an attempt to continue its participation in the growing smartphone markets. In 2017, the brand name was licensed to electronics company TCL Communication, which produced devices like the BlackBerry KeyOne. However, the partnership did not improve the brand’s sales. This year, BlackBerry entered a licensing partnership with OnwardMobility.

OnwardMobility CEO Peter Franklin is hopeful that the new BlackBerry phone will be in demand among users, such as government employees and business owners, who need highly secure devices.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Would you be interested in trying the new BlackBerry phone? Why or why not?
• Do you think phone brands that were popular before (e.g. BlackBerry, Nokia) can still catch up with popular brands today? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• What formerly popular brand would you like to make a comeback (e.g. Motorola, Toys R Us)? Why?
• If this brand would release a new product, what improvements would you like to see (e.g. better security, improved design)? Explain.