Update: Now confirmed by OnwardMobility, which has announced that it’s shutting up shop. Sunrise, sunset.

The original post continues below:

What a rollercoaster. Just 36 days ago, OnwardMobility was saying that despite missing its self-imposed deadline, the 5G BlackBerry it was designing was still happening. Now it’s missed another deadline — this time to provide regular updates starting last month — and it apparently won’t get a chance to hit any more.

That’s according to Kevin Michaluk, founder of the freshly revived (unfortunate timing, there) CrackBerry site who posted on the forums that the “train wreck” is done. “Well, train wreck is too complimentary as it would imply they built a train that they then wrecked. They never got that far,” he noted.

The project is, nonetheless, “dead”, according to Michaluk’s “multiple sources”. “We’ll see if they actually post a formal update to their blog or not, but my guess would be that John Chen/BlackBerry prefers they just go quietly away (he’s clearly done with phones),” he added.

AndroidPolice backed this up, with its own sources stating that OnwardMobility has had its licence to make BlackBerry branded products cancelled. 

That’s not to say, of course, that the company couldn’t make a kind of “I Can’t Believe It’s Not BlackBerry” product of its own (the most recent post notably didn’t use the word “BlackBerry” once). But if keyboard-packed phones are hard to sell in 2022 on their own terms, trying to shift one without the brand that everyone associates with keyboards must be like playing an already impossible game on hard mode.

Could anybody else pick up the BlackBerry licence? It’s possible, but it’s not clear why they would if a big player like TCL Communications didn’t manage to make it work between 2017 and 2018 (its licence expired in 2020, but tellingly there were no releases for the final two years of its ownership). 

And if Michaluk’s comments about John Chen are correct, then it sounds like BlackBerry isn’t interested in even letting others make new handsets any more. There’s ominous mood music to match: the company just sold off a whole load of legacy mobile patents for ~NZ$905 million

So it looks like it’s time to say Goodbye BlackBerry once again. Unfortunately for fans of keyboard phones, it’s something that gets easier with every year that passes from the company’s hayday.