RIM Introduces BlackBerry 'Pearl'

Research In Motion on Thursday introduced its latest BlackBerry phone called "Pearl," which takes a more stylish approach to handset design in attempt to appeal to both business users and consumers alike. Not much bigger than Motorola's iconic RAZR, the Pearl is BlackBerry's smallest phone to date.

In order to cut down on size, the handset's keyboard has been shrunk in half by assigning two letters to each button. The Pearl is also much slimmer than its predecessors, taking a key from Motorola's playbook and resulting in a phone that is only 0.57 inches thick and weighs just 3.1 ounces.

Despite the changes, the Pearl features BlackBerry's standard complement of business-oriented services. It links up with 10 personal and corporate e-mail accounts, as well as AIM, ICQ, Yahoo and MSN instant messaging networks. The Pearl also features voice dialing and a built-in mapping application.

On the hardware side of things, the new phone includes a 1.3-megapixel camera, quad-band GSM support including GRPS and EDGE, 64MB built-in memory with MicroSD slow, along with a bright 240x260 color display.

BlackBerry's Enterprise Server software additionally integrates with Microsoft Exchange, IBM Lotus Domino, and Novell GroupWise.

United States carrier T-Mobile will have exclusive rights to the BlackBerry Pearl starting September 12, offering the handset at a price of $250 with 1-year contract and $200 with 2-year contract. Verizon currently has an exclusive on the Motorola Q, which competes with the new BlackBerry in both form and function.

"The BlackBerry Pearl is an engineering marvel wrapped in a smooth and stylish exterior. Whether you are talking, typing, reading, listening, or taking pictures, it feels and performs great. More and more mobile phone users are warming to the prospect of wireless email for both their personal and professional lives, and we believe this amazing little BlackBerry phone is just what many consumers have been waiting for," remarked Research In Motion CEO Mike Lazaridis.

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